Skip to Main Content

Getting Started: Information Research Tips

Introductory help in learning how to identify, locate, evaluate, and use information effectively and ethically for research assignments.

Narrowing a Topic

If your topic is too broad or vague you will find too much information and will need to narrow the focus.

Example: I'm thinking of doing a paper on "fashion." This topic could develop in many different ways.

Hint: Ask Yourself Questions About Your Topic:

  • What do you know about it? What don't you know?
  • What aspects of your topic interest you: historical, sociological, psychological, etc.?
  • What time period do you want to cover?
  • On what geographic region do you want to focus?
  • What kind of information do you need?
    • A brief summary or a lengthy explanation?
    • Periodical articles, books, essays, encyclopedia articles?
    • Statistics?

Sample Topic Narrowing Chart:


General Topic fashion
Time Span 1920s
Place US; urban; big cities (not rural)
Person or Group youth; college age
Event or Aspects sexual attitudes; behavior; sociological