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Define, Refine and Develop Your Topic: Define

This guide will help you identify and focus your research topic.
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Last Updated: Jul 9, 2021 3:33 PM

Identify Your Topic

The first step in the research process is deciding on a topic to research. Choosing and defining a topic to research is often an ongoing process and can be one of the most difficult aspects of your research project. Here are some suggestions for defining, refining, developing and a topic. However, if you are having difficulty in identifying a topic, consult with your course instructor or library liaison.

What is Research Problem?

A research problem is the issue or situation of concern that is the focus of the research project.  A research problem is a definite or clear expression [statement] about an area of concern, a condition to be improved upon, a difficulty to be eliminated, or a troubling question that exists in scholarly literature, in theory, or within existing practice that points to a need for meaningful understanding and deliberate investigation. A research problem does not state how to do something, offer a vague or broad proposition, or present a value question.

-Bryman, A. (2007): The research question in social research: What is its role?
International Journal of Social Research Methodology. 10. 5-20.

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