The goal is to select a well-defined topic that is closely linked to some larger issue and can illuminate it.
You can begin your project with either a large issue or a narrowly defined topic, depending on your interests and the ideas you have generated.
The question is, how exactly do you refine your topic?
You begin by understanding what makes a research paper topic manageable.
A topic is manageable if you can: Ideally, your topic can do both, engaging theoretical and substantive issues.
In elementary education, for example, parents, teachers, scholars, and public officials all debate the effectiveness of charter schools, the impact of vouchers, and the value of different reading programs.
Rather, the solution is to select a well-defined topic that is closely linked to some larger issue and then explore that link.
Your research paper will succeed if you nail a well-defined topic.
It will rise to excellence if you probe that topic deeply and show how it illuminates wider issues.
The best theses deal with important issues, framed in manageable ways.