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Focussing on your topic
It is important to determine what the focus of your paper will be in order to find targeted information. Turning an assignment or research topic into questions that you will answer in your paper helps to:
- determine a perspective for your assignment;
- guide your reading and therefore research more effectively;
- organise your material more efficiently; and,
- plan an overall argument in response to the topic.
Focus your topic
This handout helps you to understand the focus of the assignment and develop the topic using questions.
Watch the video Concept mapping of key ideas (3:13) in which the topic of climate change is brainstormed by asking questions and key concepts and related topic words are sketched in a concept map.
Exercise: The 4 Ws and 1 H questions
After reading some background information, you need to focus your research topic. One way to do this is to turn it into a question.
The 4 Ws; What?, Where?, Who?, Why? and H, How? questions are a great way to start.
Select databases & search engines
The type of information source you use depends on the stage of your literature research. Learn how to select the most appropriate search tools.