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Choosing a Topic

This guide will help you select a topic and broaden or narrow your topic.

Narrowing Your Topic

Many times when you do a search for your topic, you will yield too many or too few results.

If you get too many hits and can go in a lot of different directions with your topic, you may need to narrow your focus. You can narrow your topic by adding additional restrictions.

Some of the ways in which a topic can be narrowed are by limiting it to a:

  • specific time period or era (e.g., 20th century; the Harlem Renaissance)
  • specific population or group (e.g., elderly; Asian-American women)
  • geographic region (e.g., Southwest; Latin America)
  • specific discipline or focus such as legal, economic, historical …
Need more help? Here is a Narrowing a Topic Worksheet.


Broadening Your Topic

If you get too few results from a search and can’t find much information about your topic, you may need to broaden your focus. You can broaden your topic by choosing a less specific or an alternative time period, population, geographic area, or discipline.  Or you can eliminate that limit altogether. You can also broaden a topic by choosing a more general term – e.g., performance enhancing drugs rather than anabolic steroids.