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This is the primary research guide for Gerontology students and faculty

Focusing your Topic

One of your best resources for working on a paper is the Research Guide: Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper. There is a tremendous amount of information which can guide your topic development. Three areas that may be helpful are linked below. Key concepts are included on this page.

The 5Ws and an H

What interests you about this topic? Consider using the  “5W’s and an H” to focus your search.

  • Who – Is your focus on the family, the caregivers, the individual, the nutritionist?
  • What – Is your focus on the type of food? The availably of nutrition? A specific population or ethnic group?
  • Where – Are you thinking about nutrition at home? An elder care center? A hospital? A geographic location?
  • When – Are you interested in historic research or something more current?
  • Why – What causes differences in … (e.g., eating patterns, services, etc.)
  • How – Would your question be: how much do they eat? How often? How easy or difficult it is to serve this clientele?

An example of combining the above is:

  • Are there differences in eating patterns between Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimer’s patients in a hospital and how are they addressed?