This is the "1) Choose a topic" page of the "Research Basics" guide.
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Research Basics  

Last Updated: Oct 1, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

1) Choose a topic Print Page

Step 1) Choosing a topic

  • Tip 1) Choose a topic you are interested in.  
  • Tip 2) Ask your professor for suggestions.  
  • Tip 3) Ask a librarian or a friend for suggestions.  

Too broad or too narrow?

First you'll need to find a topic for your research. Topics that are too broad or too narrow make it difficult to find information.

Diagram showing broad and narrow topics

Too broad

An example of a topic that is too broad might be "careers."  If you're doing research on "careers," then it might be more efficient to narrow your topic down to one or two specific careers, or one or two aspects about a career or about careers.

Too narrow

A topic related to careers that could be too narrow might be something like "retail management for college grads."  Retail management is a specific career aspect which is much more focused than "careers."  But "retail management for college grads" might be too specific and there might not be enough information.  Expanding your search to include "retail management" for all groups of people would make it less narrow.  You should be able to find enough information, but not too much information.


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