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Amanda Cain
Haselwood Library

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This LibGuide offers information on finding resources for business research topics.

There are some tips on this page to help you get started and then you can use tabs in the left sidebar to navigate through the pages.


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Developing a Topic

Start with an idea! The following questions may help get you started:

  • Do you have a strong opinion on a current social or political controversy?
  • Did you read or see a news story that has stimulated your interest or left you wanting to know more?
  • Do you have a personal issue, problem, or interest that you would like to know more about?
  • Is there an aspect of a class that you are interested in learning more about?

Selecting a Topic: 

Picking a topic is not always easy. It must be focused enough to be interesting, yet broad enough to find adequate information. Developing a good research question can sometimes be the most difficult part of the research process.

  • Understand your assignment parameters, requirements, and due dates.
  • Choose something that you are personally interested in.
  • Keep in mind your topic may change as you start researching.
  • Select a few topics you want to explore further and then do some investigative background research to see if you want to continue down that path. If not, try out a different topic until you find one you like.

Background Research: 

If you are unfamiliar with your potential topic, you may need to research background information before you can develop a strong research question. Background information can help you identify key names, dates, events, issues, concepts, and terms associated with the topic. 

Some good sources to find background information:

Narrowing Your Topic: 

Sometimes a topic that seems like the right size can seem way too big after you’ve learned a little more about it. When this happens, you need to narrow the focus of your topic. 

Some of the ways you can limit your topic are:

  • Who - population or group
  • What - discipline or focus
  • Where - geographic location
  • When - time period or era
  • Why - why is the topic important?
Here's an example of narrowing a topic by population and focus:
Broad Topic: effects of using social media
Narrow Topic: the negative effects of social media on the body image of teenagers

(adapted from U of Michigan - Finding and Exploring Your Topic) 

Broadening Your Topic:

Sometimes you will find that your topic is too narrow - there is not enough published on your topic. When this happens, you can try to broaden your topic. There are a couple of strategies you can try when broadening your topic. 

One strategy is to choose less specific terms for your search:

  • Standardized Tests instead of SATs
  • Performance-Enhancing Drugs instead of Anabolic Steroids

Another strategy is to broaden your topic by changing or removing limits from the topic:

  • Who - population or group 
  • What - discipline or focus
  • Where - geographic location
  • When - time period or era 
Here's an example of making a narrow topic broader:
Narrow Topic: Does watching cartoons cause violent behaviors in children under the age of five?
Broader Topic: What are the negative effects of television viewing on children and adolescents?

(adapted from U of Michigan - Finding and Exploring Your Topic)