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ENG102 - Writing II- Jason Pratt: Select and Focus Your Topic

This Guide will help walk you through your research paper assignment requiring critical analysis of one of the works of literature you have read this semester.

Broadening Your Topic

To broaden a topic that you are not finding enough information about, consider these options:


Expand the time period that you are examining.

Open up the geographic location.  For example, do not limit your research to New York State, but include other states as well.

Extend your research to a larger population group.  For example, not just children, but adults as well.

Compare and contrast your topic with another topic.


Choosing Your Topic

Some possible things to consider when you are choosing a paper topic related to your reading might be -

What was the world like at the time the work was published? Social, political or cultural activity may have contributed to the author's creation of characters.

What kinds of emotions or personality traits do you think of when describing characters in your work?

What other works of literature has your author written, and how do his works compare with one another?

Are you familiar with other works, perhaps more current ones, which tell the same basic story, but differ greatly because of the world we live in now? How do these similar stories compare with one another?

Try using the Reference books, found on the second floor of the library near the Referene Desk, and specialized databases, which are subject indexes to book and journal articles, to help you choose your topic.

Narrowing Your Topic

To narrow down a topic that is too broad or unwieldy, consider these questions:


What is the time period of your research?  For example, the last two years, the 18th century, or a comparison of the 1960s and the 1990s.


What is the geographic location of your research?  For example, the Western Hemisphere, New York State, or Niagara County.


On what aspect of your topic wil you focus?  For example, the social, psychological, legal, medical, or economic aspects.


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