Refine Your Topic

Your thesis statement contains major themes of the topic you are investigating. When you define your research statement, the goal is to clearly state it and avoid choosing a subject that is too broad or too narrow.

Aging, poverty and social justice are all examples of broad research topics. There are entire books written on these subjects. To obtain more targeted information, think about an aspect of one of these topics that interests you. Here are several options for refining the topic of aging:

an age group or generation centenarians, Baby Boomers
a location Japan, inner city
an additional topic caregiving, depression, elder abuse, retirement
a population minorities, veterans or custodial grandparents


Let’s say that you are interested in aging issues within a population group. A group you could explore is custodial grandparents. Perhaps this question intrigues you the most:
What are some common issues that custodial grandparents face when aging?

Depending on the context of your research, you may want to refine your question even further. For example, try focusing on a subset of the population:
What are some common issues that single custodial grandmothers face when aging?

You can further narrow your research question by adding an additional topic:
How does the issue of child care affect the quality of life for single custodial grandmothers?

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