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Disability Studies: Get Started

Find a Topic

Where to Find Ideas

  • Class discussions or readings
  • Presentations at relevant conferences
  • Articles in discipline related journals and trade publications
  • Relevant current events

Articles from Current Events Publications

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Gather Background Information

Why Should I Start with Background Information?

  • Gain familiarity with the topic
  • Identify more specific aspects of the topic on which to focus
  • Provide context and identify differing perspectives
  • Identify experts related to the topic

Narrow a Topic

Narrowing a topic requires you to be more specific about your research interest and can help you to develop a thesis.

Questions to Narrow Your Topic

  • Who? Who is the specific person/group to which you would like to limit your research?
  • What? What specific aspect of the broad topic idea is interesting to you?
  • Where? To which specific geographic area or region would you like to limit your research?
  • When? On what time period would you like your research focused?
  • Why? Why do you think this is an important/interesting topic?

What is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis is typically a one sentence statement in the first paragraph, or beginning, of your project that states your purpose. Thesis statements should be arguable, specific, detailed, and meaningful.

Create a Research Question

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:

How to Develop a Good Research Topic

Video created by staff at Kansas State University Libraries

Picking Your Topic

Created by NCSU Library

How to Use Gale Virtual Reference Library

Helpful Handout :: Narrowing Your Topic

This handout illustrates how a research question develops from a broad topic to a focused question.