It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
ENG 110 / ENG 112: College English - Fall 2019: Developing a Topic
If your research topic is too broad, you will find too much information and will need to narrow the scope. Take a few minutes to think about your topic . . .
Is there a specific aspect of your topic that interests you?
Can you limit your research to a specific time period?
Consider focusing your research on one geographic area.
Can you focus your topic on a specific group of people or things?
Example: A broad topic might be eating disorders, but you could narrow it by focusing on a specific eating disorder in a specific class of people.
Broadening Your Topic
If you are having difficulty finding enough information, there could be many reasons. Start by thinking about the following:
Your topic may be too narrow, and you may need to broaden it.
Your topic may be too current for scholarly books and articles to have been published.
Have you searched in all the library databases for information? Consider talking to a librarian to see if there is a specific database that you should be looking at.
You may not be using the right search terms. A librarian can assist you in identifying the best keywords and phrases to use.
Example: Trying to write a paper about drug abuse among college hockey players in Boston may be too narrow. You could consider broadening your topic to look at drug abuse among college athletes.
Selecting a Topic
In selecting a topic, it is always a good idea to pick a topic you are interested in. If you need ideas, try checking out some of the following resources. And if you already have your topic these are excellent resources to use as you begin your research.
Provides more than 20.000 pro/con viewpoints, topic overviews, primary source documents, court case overviews, over 19,000 reference articles, infographics, statistics, images, videos, interactive maps, profiles of federal agencies and special interest groups, and full-text articles from newspapers and other publications.
A weekly publication that covers today's most important issues and controversial subjects. Each issue is an in-depth, single topic report with extensive bibliographies. It is a great place to start your research or to browse through for topic ideas. The library also has it in print in the reference collection (REF H36.C672)
In Room for Debate, The Times invites knowledgeable outside contributors to discuss news events and other timely issues.
Opposing Viewpoints Series (Print)
Opposing viewpoints is a series of books on current issues that seeks to provide opposing viewpoints on contentious issues in a balanced pro/con debate format. These books are all located in the reference collection so users can easily browse through them (Ref H37.O5)
This site promotes "critical thinking, education and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, primarily pro-con format."
Taking Sides Series (Print)
These are a collection of books located in the Reference Collection (REF H36. T133). Each volume covers a current controversial issue in a debate-style context. Browse through the titles looking for topics that interest you.
Today's Social Issues by Timothy W. Kneeland
Call Number: Ref JK2316.K64 2016
Publication Date: 2016-07-01
Picking Your Topic is Research
Check out this video from North Carolina State University on picking your topic!
Web Resources to Help in Choosing a Topic
Provides information for selecting the topic of your research paper.