Focusing Your Topic

While you are gaining background information, consider how you might focus your topic. Restate your topic more concisely based on information you have gathered. Stating your topic as a question is often helpful. For example, our sample topic so far is pretty general: I want to write about endangered species. After generating some questions about the topic and doing some background reading in encyclopedias, these discoveries were made:

  • There are laws about endangered species.
  • These include (in the U.S.) The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (which was preceded by those of 1966 and 1969)
  • There are both national and international efforts to protect endangered species.
  • There may be more than one list of endangered species (if both national and international are considered)...

So, after considering that I am only going to write a short three to five page paper, I may decide to limit my topic to just the United States. A more focused research question might be: