Selecting a topic can sometimes be overwhelming and may even induce a little bit of panic if you're on a time crunch. But, we can fix that. Oftentimes you'll have broad parameters to work within so take advantage of that. Ask yourself these questions:
What you will most likely have first is a subject, not a topic. You will need to do background research on your subject to identify ways you can get more specific and turn your subject into a topic.
A research question is a question that you hope to find an answer to during your research. Topics are typically general in concept, such as "The impact of invasive lionfish on coral reef fish population in the Atlantic", but it's important to ask yourself what you want to know about them. This question should be clear, focused, and not be something that can logically be answered with a yes or no. Following is an example of a research question in need of improvement and how to make it better:
The answer is yes, which means we need to improve this topic. An easy way is to start thinking about who, what, when, where, why, and how as it relates to your topic. You can also think about to what extent something is related to help it become a more open-ended question. In our example, we need to be more specific.
Once you have a research question, you should write it down somewhere! While your research question is likely to change throughout the research process, it's a good idea to have it handy as you start working.