writing paper

Part 3: Compiling Research and Narrowing your Research Focus Area


The research process can begin by finding broad topics that are interesting to you. Broad research allows you to practice skills by finding research purposes, claims, and perspectives, as well as processing or synthesizing information.

These skills will help you evaluate your research to find a smaller or more manageable research focus within a broad topic. After you have narrowed your broad research to an interesting subtopic, you can concentrate your efforts moving forward in the research process.

You have already begun your research into broad topics by exploring articles in the five topic areas identified in Project 1. Here you will begin to narrow your focus by choosing the three broad topics that are most interesting to you and collecting the research you have done so far on these topics together.

Think about which of these three topics is most interesting to you, or affects your life the most, and choose one. After selecting your topic focus, think about a specific issue within the topic that refines it in a way that makes your research focus smaller or more manageable. You will conclude this process by thinking of why this subtopic might be important to different audiences.

Skills & Strategies

This assignment will help you

  • compile current research and begin a process log
  • narrow your research focus area
  • define your research focus by selecting a subtopic you will continue to investigate in subsequent projects


Step 1: You will begin to narrow your focus by selecting the three general topic areas that are most interesting to you out of the five we have been discussing. Then, you will provide citations and summaries for two articles that you have read so far for each topic area. For each of the three broad topic areas, you will have one scholarly and one popular source correctly cited and summarized.

Step 2: After compiling your research log, you will write a 300-word response on the research you have conducted. The response will consider which one of the three remaining topic areas is the most interesting to you, what specific issue within this topic you want to research further, and why. After you have selected your subtopic research area, conclude your response by discussing why and for whom your subtopic is important, including groups or organizations. Include questions you still have about your subtopic that may advance your research forward.

Step 3: Finally, you will find and include three new sources you would like to read about the subtopic you have chosen, two public writing sources and one scholarly source. Cite each article accurately, but you do not need to summarize these articles now.

The total word count of this assignment should be 1000-1200 words.

Helpful Hint

The three articles you select for Step 3 will ideally be the three articles you annotate in the next assignment. Please consider helping your future self by taking a bit of extra time to make sure that they are articles that will work for your next assignment.

This way, you save yourself time in finding new articles and you have the opportunity for your instructor to review your materials for the next assignment.