After this lesson, the student should be able to pick a research topic, narrow the focus to a manageable subject, and do background reading on the subject to learn about different points to be addressed in the paper.
This is one of the hardest parts of a research topic. This technique will help you narrow choices down on many different things in life, not just papers.
By this lesson, a student should have been exposed to the following:
Research Paper - Purdue University's Owl Writing Lab, defines a research paper as "the culmination and final product of an involved process of research, critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and composition." It is usually the "big" paper of a class and can involve a tangent of the information studied in that class or an independent topic. Usually primary and secondary sources are used to support the topic.
Background reading - General knowledge reading about a broad subject in an effort to narrow the focus to a specific topic to be researched in-depth.
The ideal research paper would be one that you already had an interest in and would like to learn more about. Start broadly and use brainstorming to narrow your focus. Not sure what interests you? Do some freewriting to help you think. Set a time limit of five minutes, use the jump start "What interests me?" or "What do I want to learn more about?" to help you get started. Do as many freewrites as you need until you find a topic that you'd enjoy.
If you already have a broad topic or your teacher has assigned one, move on to the background reading section.
Once you have done your free-writing and background reading on a broad topic, use this method to narrow your top 3-5 topics into manageable research papers.