Once you have selected a topic, write down what you already know or don't know about the topic. Using the information you wrote down, develop questions you'd like to answer.
What do or don't I know about the Endangered Species Act (ESA)?
I know it's a law that protects animals, and their habitats, that are in danger of extinction. I believe the law only protects habitats that are within the U.S. boundaries. I know at one point bald eagles and grizzly bears were on the list, but I thought they had been removed. I know there has been a lot of controversy recently about adding polar bears to the list. I don't know what it takes for an animal to be removed from the list and I don't know what the penalties are for violating this act.
These questions will help to transform your topic into a research question.
What is your topic?
What issues/concepts related to your topic do you need to understand better to develop a research question for your proposal?
What scholarly literature have you found related to these issues and concepts?
What gaps do you see in the scholarly literature related to your topic?
How can your research proposal address a gap in the scholarly literature?
Write a research question that, when answered, will help you to address that gap in the scholarly literature.
See the example below and use the blank worksheet to narrow the scope of your literature review: