Navi: Research Guide Refining a Topic

Refining a Topic

E-mail Print PDF

Narrowing a Topic: Too Much Information!

If your topic seems too broad, consider questions like:

  • What do you already know about the subject?
  • Is there a specific time period you want to cover?
  • Is there a geographic region or country on which you would like to focus?
  • Is there a particular aspect of this topic that interests you? For example, public policy implications, historical influence, sociological aspects, psychological angles, specific groups or individuals involved in the topic.

Example:
Original Topic: Government funding of the arts (too broad!)

Focused Time Period: 1930s
Focused Location: USA
Focused event/aspect: New Deal, painting

Refined topic: Federal funding of painters through New Deal programs and the Works Progress Administration.

Broadening a Topic: Not Enough Information!

If your topic is so specific that you can't find sources that specifically address it, consider questions like:
  • Could you add elements to your topic for examination?
  • Could you think more broadly about this topic? Give thought to the wider implications of your research.
  • Who are the key players in this topic?
  • What other issues are involved in this topic?

Example:
Original topic: What is the effect of deforestation on Colombia's long-term ability to feed its citizens? (too specific!)

Alternative place: South America
Widened focus: agriculture, sustainable development.
Key person or group: United Nations and its subgroups
Alternative event/aspect: birth control

Revised topic: How can the United Nations encourage South American countries to employ sustainable development practices?

PERPUSTAKAAN TUN ABDUL RAZAK UiTM KAMPUS PUNCAK PERDANA
SEKSYEN U10, 40150 SHAH ALAM
SELANGOR DARUL EHSAN
Tel : 03-79622072 Fax : 03-79622071

Laman Web : http://puncakperdana.uitm.edu.my/library
PTARPP Facebook : http://facebook.com/ptarpuncakperdana
Emel : sakmah630@salam.uitm.edu.my