Library Skip to main content

ENG101 - Dr. Elizabeth Sachs: Select and Focus Your Topic

What is a clear and concise definition of one of the following?

  • The One Percent                                       Traditional Family Values                                     DACA                            
  • Freddy Gray                                               Dystopia                                                              Charlottesville
  • Black Lives Matter                                     Snapchat                                                             Citizens United
  • Fake News                                                 Breitbart                                                              Minimum Wage
  • Hurricane Sandy                                        Colin Kaepernick                                                   Living Wage
  • Socialism                                                    Literacy (rates)                                                    Steve Bannon
  • Gun Control                                                Conceal-carry
  • Middle class 
  • Meaning and impact of  Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders in 2016 
  • Another term, to be approved by me, of your choice!                                         

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.


Define a Word

How can I find a topic?

Choose a topic that really interests you and your research will be more enjoyable. 

Having trouble thinking of a topic to research?  Here are some ideas to help:

 *Scan your textbooks for broad topic ideas.

 *Read current magazines and newspapers to see what catches your eye.  Paper copies are located in Room G209 of the Library, and  electronic  versions are available full text in many of our online databases.

 *Browse print and electronic encyclopedias.

 *Talk to a librarian, your professor, or a friend about ideas.

*Search our "hot topic" databases below:

Hot Topic Databases

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, the U.S.,  New York State, or Niagara County.


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


Niagara County Community College. Henrietta G. Lewis Library. 3111 Saunders Settlement Rd., Sanborn, NY 14132 | 716-614-6786