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Explore and refine your topic: Focus your topic

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.

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.

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