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Research Process

Get help with any part of the research process.

Choosing a topic that isn't too broad or too narrow is a little like Goldilocks and the Three Bears - you want to get it just right.

Is Your Topic Too Narrow or Too Broad?

If you are not finding enough information, your topic may be too narrow.

Consider broadening it by:
  • Exploring related issues
  • Comparing or contrasting the topic with another topic
  • Expanding the:
    • time period covered
    • population considered
    • geographic area discussed
  • Choosing an alternative topic that is not so recent -- it may not be covered in books and journal articles yet
  • Choosing an alternative topic that is not so popular -- it may be covered in popular magazines and tabloids only

Narrow Topic: Does cartoon viewing cause violent behaviors in children under the age of five?

Broader Topic:  What are the negative effects of television viewing on children and adolescents?


If you are finding too much information, your topic may be too broad.

Consider narrowing it by:
  • Time period -- 1960's, bronze age, etc.
  • Geographic location -- Denver, New York, Australia, etc.
  • Population -- age, race, gender, nationality or other group
  • Smaller piece of the topic:
    • Genre -- jazz (music)
    • Event -- Battle of the Bulge (WWII)
    • Aspect -- government regulations (pollution)
    • Discipline or Subject -- music (in early childhood education)

Broad Topic: Global warming

Narrower Topic: How will climate change impact sea levels and the coastal United States?