Skip to main content
Banner Image

CSSS409 Race and the City: Research Topics

Finding your research topic

When choosing a topic, consider the following:

  1. What are the requirements of the topic (subject area, etc.)?
  2. Is there a viable research question or problem to address?
  3. Is the topic interesting either to you or your reader?
  4. Is there enough information/sources that you will have access to?

Advice from Research Studio students:

  • Choose a topic you care about. Really, it’s much easier if you’re interested. Creating a topic can be as simple as finding a problem, or question you want answered in a field of interest-- for example: if you like baking, find solutions for food allergies in your recipes, then expand.
  • Be thorough.... but not vague!
  • Brainstorm and mindmap your areas of interest. Then settle on an interesting and researchable topic. If nothing interests you, choose the topic that will allow you to write the paper with ease. Difficult topics make unorganized, essentially bad papers. And maybe try to make it interesting for your reader at least.
  • When there is a given topic, try to find the twist in it that you like and relates to your interest without going off the topic.
  • Read a lot. Know what’s out there and then look deeper into what it is you find, whatever it is that interests you.

Refining your topic

Some things to consider - all may not apply

  • Time period:
    •  Industrial revolution
    • The Bronz Age
    • A specific decade: 1950s
  • Geography
    • Region
    • City
    • Country
  • Age group/generation of people
    •  Generation X
    • Baby boomers
    • Teens
    • Tweens
    • Elderly/senior
  • Politics of region
    • Democracy
    • Communism
    • Monarchy

Topic too broad

Topic: Photography

Why this is a problem:

  • There's no research question to pull out of this topic
  • You will be overwhelmed with the amount of information you find
  • Too much information to be covered in one paper

Topic too narrow

Topic: Use of photography in Vietnam's Bac Kan province in the 1950s 

Why this topic is a problem:

  • You will not find enough information
  • You will likely not have the the time to find the specialized information that is needed
  • You will become frustrated quickly!