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NARROWING A TOPIC BY ASKING QUESTIONS
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?