Where to Look for Ideas
Developing Your Topic
Narrowing Your Topic
Once you have a broad idea for a topic, it is important to narrow it down so that you can conduct a more focused and efficient search. To narrow your topic down, ask yourself the same questions a journalist would when gathering facts for a story.
Important Questions to Ask:
- Who: What groups do you want to focus on? Think of sub-groups and categories that can help you narrow your search. Are you interested in women, a specific racial or ethnic group, or particular age group?
- What: Is their a specific aspect of the the topic you would like to explore? Do you want to understand cultural, political, economic, or social effects of the phenomenon you are interested in?
- When: Is there a specific time period that interests you? Are you interested in the distant past, a contemporary issue, or a specific era?
- Where: Try to limit your topic to a specific geographic location. Will you be focusing on events in a whole nation, part of a country, or city or will you focus on an entire region?
- Why or How: What about this topic is important? Why is it relevant?
Gather Background Information
- They can help you narrow your topic by identifying unique concepts, events, or individuals.
- It provides important background on larger social and historical contexts.
- Some sources can point you towards original Research.