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Research Foundations

Refine your Topic

Choosing a topic for your paper is like joining a conversation that is already happening

  •  Make sure your topic meets the assignment requirements. If you are unsure, do NOT wait to ask your instructor for feedback. Ask right away!
  •  Choose a topic that others have written about to ensure you are able to find enough resources
  •  Carefully consider the scope of your topic

Creating a better topic

Still stuck? Try the Idea Generator!

Topic Strategies

Tips for narrowing topics:

  • Limit to a specific group or person, geographic location, or time period
  • Limit to a specific aspect of the topic. What would you like to know more about? Or, what problem needs to be resolved?


Tips for broadening topics:

  • If you have limited to a group and location, remove one of these limits (e.g. just focus on the group and not the location.);
  • Go "up" a level. If you are focused on a city and can't find information, look at the state or country level instead.
  • Add an additional aspect or perspective, such as social and economic factors.

Example Narrowing a Topic

Questions to ask to narrow a topic