Skip to main content
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.

Research Fundamentals: 1a. Narrow Your Topic

Proceed through each tab in this guide and learn how to become more efficient and skilled at library research.

How to Narrow Your Topic

Once you've chosen a broad topic area that interests you, you'll need to narrow the topic down to make it manageable for a research paper. Narrowing your topic down will help you as you work toward turning your topic into a research question and eventually a thesis statement! 


Common ways of narrowing a topic include: 

--Applying a particular theory 

--Focusing on a particular viewpoint (legal, medical, ethical, psychological, economic, political, etc.)

--Focusing on a particular time period 

--Focusing on a certain population (gender, age, occupation, ethnicity, education, etc.) 

--Focusing on a particular geographic location

--Focusing on a cause, consequence, or solution relevant to the topic

In other words, think about who, what, where, why, and how as it relates to your topic!

Watch this brief video to learn how to narrow a topic. 

U of G Library.  (2018, August 30).  Four steps to narrow your topic [Video].  YouTube.

Check out this tool that helps you create focused topics, by the University of Nevada: Topic Narrowing Tool