Finding too much or not enough information on your topic?
Finding too much information?
- First, consider what you know.
- Reading an encyclopedia article can give you ideas on areas to explore inside your topic.
- Next, consider describing the who, what, when and where of your topic.
- “Who” do you want to write about (e.g. President Bush, women, children, Asian-Americans)?
- “What” aspect of the topic interests you (e.g. legal, historical)?
- “When” in history are you interested (e.g. 18th century, 1981-1985)?
- “Where”, or what geographical region are you curious about (e.g. Minnesota, Midwest, United States, Middle East)?
Or AskUs! (http://www.d.umn.edu/lib/askus) for help narrowing your topic.
Example: “health care in America” can be narrowed to “the impact of elder health care in the New Orleans area for the three months following Hurricane Katrina.”
Not finding enough information?
Topics can be too narrow, requiring you to broaden your scope.
- One easy way to do this is by broadening the components of your topic.
- Think about the over arching aspects of your topic, such as the issues or key players.
- Can you generalize the issue, or find related issues or industries?
- Another way to find more information is to develop additional keywords related to your topic.
- What are some synonyms to the terms you were already using?
- Are there any databases or indexes you haven’t searched in yet?
- Keep in mind, some topics are so new (especially current events), you may not be able to find many books, so you might want to look at newspapers or periodicals.
AskUs! (http://www.d.umn.edu/lib/askus) if you need help broadening your topic.
Example: “the impact of pollution on Upper Tischer Creek” can be broadened to “pollution
in Minnesota waters”.