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Narrowing a Topic: STRATEGIES 1

If your topic is too big for your paper, it makes things more difficult than they need to be. This guide has lots of strategies you can use right away to narrow down a topic. #narrowing a topic


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     Let's say you are interested in writing about domestic violence.  This is an enormous topic which will need to be narrowed down to a manageable size.  Ask questions like this to zero in on a particular aspect and then run some keyword database searches:


  • Who reports domestic violence?  Who are the perpetrators?  Who are the victims?
  • What causes domestic violence?  What single factor contributes the most to domestic violence?  What should a teacher do if she thinks a child is a victim? 
  • When was domestic violence first recognized as a social problem?  When is domestic violence least likely to happen?  When do victims feel able to live normal lives again?
  • Where can victims go for help?  Where are reports of domestic violence the lowest?  Where does the funding for domestic violence programs come from?
  • How can domestic violence be stopped?  How does a specific type of therapy help the victims?  How does a particular treatment help the perpetrator?


Here are more questions to try:

  • Does gender/age/ethnicity play a role in relation to my topic?
  • Is there a specific incident/discovery/turning point for my topic?
  • What specific time period is most interesting in relation to my topic?
  • Is there a single cause/effect I can focus on?
  • Is there a particular argument/viewpoint in relation to my topic?

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