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How to Narrow or Broaden Your Research Topic  

Last Updated: Apr 28, 2014 URL: http://libguides.holycross.edu/topics Print Guide RSS Updates
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HOW TO NARROW YOUR RESEARCH TOPIC

If your research topic is too broad, you will find too much information and will need to narrow the focus.

Ask Yourself Questions About Your Topic….

  • What do you already know about your topic? 
  • What do you want to know about your topic? 
  • What aspects of your topic interest you: historical, sociological, psychological, etc.? 
  • What time period do you want to cover? 
  • On what geographic area do you want to focus?
 

Example of Narrowing a Research Topic

Here’s an example, starting with a (very!) broad topic:  Baseball
Time Span: 1940’s
Place:
United States
Person or group: Women in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
Want to know more about…
how the media portrayed women in the League

 

HOW TO BROADEN YOUR RESEARCH TOPIC

If your topic is too specific or new, it will be difficult finding enough information to write your paper. In that case, you will need to broaden your idea.

Ask Yourself Questions About Your Topic….

  • What do broader subject does your topic fit into? 
  • What other issues are associated with your topic?
  • What do you already know about your topic?
  • What do you want to know about your topic?


 

Example of Broadening Your Topic

Here’s an example:  Are genetically altered soybeans safe for consumers?
This topic is very specific and there may not be enough research addressing this issue. 
Broader Subject: Bioengineered or genetically altered foods
Other issues associated with the topic: labeling foods; regulations

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