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ENGL 1900: Library Research Tutorial

Library research tutorial for students in English 1900: Advanced Strategies of Rhetoric & Research at SLU.

Module 2: Developing a Topic

In this module, you'll learn how to broaden or narrow a research topic in order to fit the scope of an assignment. To get the most out of it, review all text, videos, and images and complete the "Developing Your Topic" activity at the end.

This module will take approximately 25 minutes to complete. 

Choose a Manageable Topic

Choose a topic that interests you, fits the theme of your course, and that isn't too broad or too narrow. Keep the length of your assigned research paper in mind as you select your topic.

Too Broad Too Narrow

Topics that are too broad have hundreds of books and articles written about them.

Example: Drug abuse

Topics that are too narrow have nothing or only one or two articles written about them.

Example: The effect of drug abuse on the athletic performance of 18-year-old hockey players in Argentina

Keep in mind that your topic isn't set in stone. As you read background information and search for sources, you can use what you learn to better define and focus your topic.

Watch this short video to learn how to narrow or broaden your topic:

Source: “Picking Your Topic IS Research!” by North Carolina State University Libraries, licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US License.