ANTH 108 Food, Drink and Culture

Develop Your Topic

How do I choose a topic?

First, read your assignment to understand the requirements and/or limitations of your topic choices.

Then choose a topic that interests you:
  • have you recently come across a video, news report, interview or photograph that made you angry, excited, upset, hopeful or stirred your curiosity? 
  • do you have a strong opinion about a current social or political issue, an injustice, a new cultural or technological phenomenon?
  • do you or a family member or a friend have a problem or a unique experience that you would like to dig deeper to understand?
  • what perplexes, fascinates, worries or gives you hope about the future?
  • what events or trends or characters from history are most unfamiliar to you?
  • is there a topic from your textbook or class lecture that you want to further explore?

Is your topic....
  • Debatable? (are there likely other points of views that exist?)

  • Plausible? (there is likely valid evidence to support it)

  • Consequential? (the outcome or conversation about this topic is worthwhile or significant)

Where Can I Browse for Some Topics?


Narrowing Your Topic

Which narrow, specific angle of your topic will you decide to research?

FIRST, use some the questions below to help you brainstorm the many aspects of your topic.
You may not know all the answers - that's ok!  You can research some answers later. 

THEN, choose ONE ASPECT to focus on for your research on

  • What do you already know about the topic? Do you want to deepen your understanding of a particular aspect?
  • What do you NOT know about the topic?
    • I wonder how___________?
    • I wonder why __________ ?
    • I wonder if _____________ ?
  • WHO is involved?  Who are the stakeholders?
    • age group, occupation, ethnicity, gender, special interest group, geographical group?
  • WHAT are the key issues facing the various stakeholders?
    • are the issues ethical, psychological, political, medical, economic, environmental, historical, cultural, technological?
  • WHEN is this happening?  Is it an emerging issue or dying trend?
  • WHERE is this happening? Globally?  A specific region?
  • WHY is this happening?  What are the causes?
  • HOW should the issue be addressed?

click on image to enlarge)

mind map brainstorming

 Fig. 2. Washington State E-Learning Council. "Mind Map." IRIS 4-2. ( Published by Clark College Libraries. Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0.