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A Research IDEA - Indianapolis

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Topic Development

Topic development is the process of going from a broad topic to a specific research question or questions. 

A large topic will include many different facets. You can not cover every facet of a topic within your research paper. 

Read a background article

Read an article about your broad topic. Reading a little about your topic first will help you choose the best angle for your research.

A few good library resources for background articles are:

Focus your Research

Create a Concept Map

One way to explore the different possibilities for focusing on your topic is to create a topic map. A topic map may also be called a mind map or a concept map. 

To create a topic map

  1. Write down your main topic 
  2. Draw branches to connect subtopics that are facets of the larger main topic. 
  3. Further refine the subtopics by creating another set of branches to add keywords, specific parties, or concepts that are related to the sub-topic. 

Digital marketing Concept map


Write Research Questions

Choose your Research Focus

The concept map provides you a visual representation of the broad topic. 

Look over your map and decide what parts or aspects of the topic interest you most. 

Phrase research focus as a question. 

What privacy standards are needed when conducting primary market research?

What is the current market for this product or service?

Are there ethical means of customer data collection?

Further Refine your topic with a Person, Place, Thing, or Time 


A person may be an individual, a group of people (such as a specific demographic), a corporation, or an institution. 

What is the best way to reach mothers about this product?

When you add a place to your search you are adding a country or other geographic region to your question. 

Is there room in the United States market for this new product?

Adding a Thing or additional concept further refines your question. 

Are there ethical means of big data collection in social media?

A time will limit your question to either a historical time frame or a current one. 

What are the most current methods of data protection?