EC 596/597: Graduate Student Research Resources: Finding a Topic
If you have a broad topic, but are not sure how to narrow the focus, you can use databases to further limit your research focus.
As an example, if you are broadly interested in a large topic like "macroeconomics in emerging markets," conduct a search in EconLit. Pay attention to the "subjects" listing. This will display all the sub-topics being examined within your search results and provides a sense of what topics scholars are examining.
1) Begin with a search
2) Select the "Subject" bar.
3) Examine the topics being studied within your search results.
Theses, Dissertations, Working Papers
Finding a suitable research topic is frequently the most difficult part of the project, and it can be challenging to narrow your focus to an area of scholarship that is both unexplored yet can be examined with available resources. Length and scope of a project must also be considered when selecting a topic. Below are examples of theses, dissertations, and working papers previously created at PSU.
Reference works provide broad summaries of important topics. They often identify areas of new scholarship that you may wish to explore.