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ENG 101: Writing I, Dr. Ian Stapley: Select and Focus Your Topic

This is a guide to help you find resources for your library assignments in this class.

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 on the 4th floor of the Library, and full-text electronic versions are available 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 in the box below.

Hot Topic Databases

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, do not limit your research to children but include adults as well.
  • Compare and contrast your topic with another 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, are you researching 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, are you researching the Western Hemisphere, New York State, or Niagara County?
  • On what aspect of your topic will you focus? For example, are you researching the social, psychological, legal, medical, or economic aspects of an issue?

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