1. What do you want to know about this topic?
Example: "I want to research the effects of high educational costs"
2. What population or context do you want to study?
Example: "I want to focus on college students"
3. What interventions, variables, or relationships do you want to explore?
Example: "I want to know what the impact of using Open Educational Resources"
4. What is the research scope?
Example: "I will interview college students participating in classes using OERs and ask them about the impact of these free resources on their college experience."
One technique to help you define your scope is to take each component from your topic and list them from the least focused to the most focused. This will give you the ability to scale up and scale down.