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Information literacy ~Astronomy - Chemistry - Mathematics - Physics: Defining your topic

How to define your topic

After the orientation phase you will have a clearer picture of the scope of your topic, for example:

  • what are the boundaries of your topic?
  • who are the stakeholders?
  • to what industry is the topic related?

Define your subject as clearly as possible. Decide which aspects of the topic you will – and will not – explore, so that the topic is not too broad. This will prevent you from going astray when you start looking for information. It is useful to formulate secondary questions for your topic. You can use these in the chapter ‘Defining search terms’.

How to define your topic: example

This example shows how you can define your topic more accurate.

The initial subject is: make a  decision support system for simulating maintenance on offshore assets

You can make this more specific by using these questions:

 Related to what industry? Shipping? Oil?  Management games?  etc.

Who are stakeholders related to this research? Software developers? Business engineers? Customers? etc.

As a result, you can define your subject as:

Make a  performance game to simulate a decision support system for maintenance on offshore wind turbines

What is your own role?

In most cases, it will not be possible to find literature that gives a precise answer to your research question. You will have to use the literature you find to make connections and arrive at the answers yourself, backing them up with arguments.