Trouble focusing a research topic? Try this!
Concept maps provide a way to visualize the relationships between topics.
Here’s a concept map for “vaccinations:”
Once you have the map you can start see possible narrowed topics in the bubbles on the outside of the map. In this case some possible research questions might be:
- What are the effects of vaccination on public health?
- In what ways has Andrew Wakefield’s paper affected vaccination rates in the U.S.?
- What impact has the introduction of the polio vaccine had in other regions of the world?
- What are the costs associated with vaccination?
There are several concept map applications you can try. The above map was made with the free version of Spider Scribe. I also recommend the free version of Simple Mind. There is a desktop version and apps for Android and iPad. Of course the old-fashioned pen and paper method always works too!
Do you have a favorite topic refining tool?