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These "step" pages have been adapted from that of Johnson & Wales University Library (Denver Campus) as well as from the Research & Learning Services Department of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Stafford Library has received permission to use and adapt these pages.
Refining a Topic
Is Your Topic Too Narrow?
If you are not finding enough information, your topic may be too narrow. Consider broadening it by:
Exploring related issues
Comparing or contrasting the topic with another topic
time period covered
geographic area discussed
Choosing an alternative topic that is not so recent -- it may not be covered in books and journal articles yet
Choosing an alternative topic that is not so popular -- it may be covered in popular magazines and tabloids only
Is Your Topic Too Broad?
If you are finding too much information, your topic may be too broad. Consider narrowing it by:
Time period -- 1960's, bronze age, etc.
Geographic location -- Denver, New York, Australia, etc.
Population -- age, race, gender, nationality or other group
Smaller piece of the topic:
Genre -- jazz (music)
Event -- Battle of the Bulge (WWII)
Aspect -- government regulations (pollution)
Discipline or Subject -- music (in early childhood education)
Narrow Topic: Does cartoon viewing cause violent behaviors in children under the age of five?
Broader Topic: What are the negative effects of television viewing on children and adolescents?
Broad Topic: Global warming
Narrower Topic: How will climate change impact sea levels and the coastal United States?