What this section covers

On this page, we'll cover the first two parts of your assignment: 

  • Developing a concise research topic
  • Identifying three key concepts related to your research

The three key concepts will be words or phrases; your research topic will be a complete sentence that explains the connections between those words or phrases. 


Research topic: Do school lunch programs have a positive effect on students' grades? 

Concepts: school lunch programs, effects, student grades

TIP: You may find you need to modify your topic as you search. This is a normal part of the search process!

Coming Up With Ideas: Ask Questions

The key to a good topic is finding something that you think is important or interesting.

In this class, students often choose a topic based on their own experiences working in schools, or their experiences working with a specific age group. 

Here are a few questions to help you brainstorm:

  • Is there a particular group of students you'd like to know more about? For example:

    • ELL students
    • Girls
    • Students in STEM
    • Students with learning disabilities
    • Students in a specific grade
    • Students in a broad group (ex. high school students, students in rural areas)

    You might also want to research students who exist in multiple categories (ex. Black girls in STEM), or compare/contrast two groups of students (ex. ELL students in rural areas and ELL students in urban areas).

  • What do you want to know about this group of students? For example:

    • Is there a particular problem or challenge facing that group of students?
    • Are there teaching or classroom management techniques that are especially effective for this group of students?
    • Is there a particular outcome you want to learn more about? For example, this could be student grades, dropout rates, mental health, etc.

If you know what kind of students you're interested in researching, but aren't sure about challenges or teaching techniques that might be relevant to that particular group of students, feel free to ask your professor or me!