UTS Library

42908 Engineering Project Preparation: Narrowing a Topic

In this guide:

Narrowing a topic and developing a research question

You may already have chosen an interesting topic, but still don't know what your research question is. Gathering information will help you explore new possibilities and narrow your topic.

• Gather background information:
- Use books and reference sources to get a general overview, e.g. AccessScience, Encyclopedia of technology & innovation management
- Find some review articles from a database, e.g. Web of Science, Scopus.

Make a concept table:
    Sample topicgreen energy trigeneration improvements

Main terms

green energy



sustainable energy
solar energy
alternative energy
renewable energy

combined cooling, heating and power generation (CCHP)

Related terms

energy management

prime mover
energetic and exergetic methods
CCHP microgrids

 • Ask yourself:
- What subtopics relate to the broader topic?
- What questions do these sources raise?
- What do you find interesting about the topic?

Concept Mapping: A diagram or graphical tool that visually represents relationships between concepts and ideas. 
- Place your main topic or term in a central position
- Create lines out to related terms, including what connects them to the lines.

Watch video on How to Create a Concept Map using Paper, Microsoft Word or Google Drive