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ENG 101: English Comp (Miller): Narrowing Your Topic

Narrowing Your Topic


You'll need to narrow down your topic to find helpful information. Look at the questions below to help focus your research.

Ask Yourself:

Then Look Deeper:


Does your problem or controversy take place in the


United States? In a specific state or region? Does it


happen in another country?


Remember, getting too specific might make it


difficult to research.

What Time Frame?

When did your issue happen? In the last five years?


Last week? Is it still happening?


If you write about a new issue that’s too recent, you


might not find information about it.



Is this an opinion paper? What is your position? What evidence do you have?



What are you trying to prove? Who is your audience? Are you providing them with information or are you trying to persuade them?


Who are you writing about? Is there a specific gender, age group, religion, sexual orientation, and/or ethnicity that is impacted by your topic? Is there a specific group that you want to focus on?

Anything else? What detail is missing?  


Creating a Research Question


Fill in the sentence below to help you with your research; don’t forget to use the chart to help you.  The issue or research question of this sentence is your guideline to the information or evidence you need to find to prove your conclusion or results.

I am researching _____________________________________________________ (topic) because I want to find out ______________________________________________________________________ (issue/research question) in order to ________________________________________________________________ (results /conclusion)

Research Question Examples

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