Many topics that are suggested for research are quite broad and complex.  It is important to explore the topic by considering possible subtopics and connections between ideas.  This step will help you to select a specific focus and help you to develop questions for research.

For example, take a look at the following topic web and notice the many subtopics related to the broad topic of Global Warming:

If you would like to use a graphic organizer like the mindmap above to explore your topic, try one of the following online mind-mapping tools!

Google Draw


You can also click on the following organizer templates to create a ready-made mindmap:

Topic Web

Use the Topic Web to:

  • identify layers of topics and sub-topics
  • make connections between ideas
  • narrow your topic and research focus

Revisit the Topic Web as you delve more deeply into resources and discover more layers to your topic.


See a Topic Web Example.

Topic Planning Sheet

Topic & Sub-Topic Planner

Use the Topic & Sub-Topic Planner to:

  • show how your sub-topics support the ideas you have developed about your topic
  • make sure that you have at least three pieces of supporting evidence for each of your sub-topics
  • help prepare an outline for your final project


Topic Organization Sheet

Sub-Topic Organizer

Use the Sub-Topic Organizer to:

  • summarize your key points about each of your sub-topics
  • help you to assess whether you have enough evidence to make compelling arguments about each of your sub-topics, or whether you need to look for more

Revisit this organizer at different stages of your research, to help you assess your own progress.