NOTE: Apply one of the above strategies first in designing your study to determine if that gives you a manageable research problem to investigate.
Your Thesis: Too Broad, Too Narrow, or Just Right? Tutorial | Sophia Learning
You will know if the problem is manageable by reviewing the literature on this more specific problem and assessing whether prior research on the narrower topic is sufficient to move forward in your study [i. Be careful, however, because combining multiple strategies risks creating the opposite problem--your problem becomes too narrowly defined and you can't locate enough research or data to support your study.Thesis Questions 1. Narrowing a Thesis One thing how the best academic essays have in common is a very specific thesis. The most effective academic arguments are based on theses that encompass only what can be effectively addressed in an essay. One of the common mistakes that student writers make is to choose a thesis that is too you for the assignment. Essays that are based on a topic that is too broad usually include too much information and, as a result, don't go yours enough detail when too that information. Because of the overly-broad thesis, there's too much to cover in a short essay e. However, writers who choose a thesis that is too narrow sometimes find that they know have enough material to work with. This occurs less frequently, especially among beginning writers. When it seems that your thesis may be too narrow, are research can help you to broaden it.
You might feel as though you are limiting yourself, or forced to pick one thing when there are so many to talk about.
But you must be decisive and choose!
Even if there are many options and you have tons of great ideas, make yourself pick one. A good topic addresses a specific question or problem.
Tips Selecting a topic can be the most difficult part of doing research. He or she will save you some time and give you some tips on narrowing the scope of your topic. Your topic is too specific. Think about some general approaches that may help you further develop your topic: use a historical angle by focusing on a particular time period; a geographical angle, focusing on a particular part of the world; or a sociological angle, focusing on a particular group of people. Thesis Questions 1. There are many ways to narrow a thesis.
You should see only four or five books on the shelf that address your specific research question maybe fewer! If your know you be summed up in a topic or too, like smoking, school cheatingeducation, overweight teens, corporal punishmentKorean War, or hip-hop, it is how broad.
Are reading background information, note how yours topic is expressed in these materials.
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When you find citations in an article database, see how the topic is expressed by experts in the field. Tips Selecting a topic can be the most difficult part of doing research.
Defining and refining your topic is an ongoing process. What is a specific type of this topic?
When did this topic happen? When was a notable time related to this topic?
Broaden or Narrow Topic - College Readiness - LibGuides at Rockhurst University
Occasion for Writing Another similar tactic that writers use to narrow their theses is to think critically about their occasion for writing. By taking into account the rhetorical situation in which they write, and the specific requirements of the writing assignment or prompt, they can determine how their thesis could be changed to better suit their needs.You might feel as though you are limiting yourself, or forced to pick one thing when there are so many to talk about. But you must be decisive and choose! Even if there are many options and you have tons of great ideas, make yourself pick one. And go with that. Trust yourself! These are some of the broad topics that students have asked me about in the comments sections, wondering if they would make a strong essay. I will follow their general topic with some possible ways to focus it down to something more specific and concrete. Suppose your assigned subject is "electronic communication. Your essay should not exceed four double-spaced pages in length. Would the following thesis be a good one for this assignment? Talking to strangers — and even friends — online is becoming more and more common, but we're losing more than we're gaining. Does that sound like an argument you could make effectively in four pages? Consider this part of the thesis: "talking to strangers — and even friends — online. All of these forms fall within the range of this thesis and, therefore, all of them must be addressed in those four pages. Here's another sample thesis, written for the same assignment: Online video chatting with strangers is a fascinating way to have new experiences. This thesis is more specific than the preceding example, but is it too narrow? It is focused on an area within the assigned subject, but a writer who defended this claim might have a hard time filling four pages with worthwhile information. Here's another example of a thesis that was written in response to the assignment above: Paid online dating sites are changing the way couples meet, and this has in turn changed our understanding of what it means to "date. Its claim — that online dating has changed our understanding of dating — is one that a writer could defend adequately in four pages. Tactics for Narrowing a Thesis The tactics for narrowing theses are the ways in which experienced writers ensure that their writing projects are focused and effective. Ask Questions The most practical way to focus a thesis statement is to ask questions about it. Asking who, what, when, where, and why about your thesis and your subject will enable you to identify a thesis that is too broad, and can help you to understand what you want to write about. Consider the following working thesis statement: America needs to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and there are many ways to do so. This is a broad thesis. The writer will likely want to narrow it before beginning the research or drafting steps of the writing process. To do so, he or she can ask some questions about it: What are you arguing, and who are you trying to convince? Why are you writing about this topic? You find information that is too general and, as a consequence, it is difficult to develop a clear framework for examining the research problem. A lack of sufficient parameters that clearly define the research problem makes it difficult to identify and apply the proper methods needed to analyze it. You find information that covers a wide variety of concepts or ideas that can't be integrated into one paper and, as a consequence, you easily trail off into unnecessary tangents. Lloyd-Walker, Beverly and Derek Walker. Beverly Pasian, editor. Burlington, VT: Gower Publishing, , pp. Strategies for Narrowing the Research Topic A common challenge when beginning to write a research paper is determining how to narrow down your topic. A topic is too broad to be manageable when you find that you have too many different, and oftentimes conflicting or only remotely related, ideas about how to investigate the research problem.
Let's consider the broad thesis from the preceding example: America needs to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and there are many ways to do so.
How can careful consideration of the occasion for writing help this thesis?
Once you think of a broad topic that interests you, try to brainstorm all of the words or concepts you can that might be related to that topic and write them down! For example, if your topic is "polar bears," you might think of the following words and topics in association: ice, cubs, pollution, hunting, diet, climate change, and environmental icon. Develop a research question. Once you have come up with a broad topic and done some background research, you may want to develop a research question, or a question you're going to answer in your paper by doing more, in-depth research. Designing a study around the relationships between specific variables can help constrict the scope of analysis [e. Time -- the shorter the time period of the study, the more narrow the focus [e. Type -- focus your topic in terms of a specific type or class of people, places, or phenomena [e. Combination -- use two or more of the above strategies to focus your topic very narrowly. Use different databases. Also, use excellent searching techniques to ensure you are getting the most out of every database. Remember if you need help finding databases or techniques, contact a librarian. Change the Words. Use a thesaurus to find other terms to represent your topic. Why is this topic important? How does this topic happen? For example, if your broad topic is the depiction of time travel in popular culture, you could ask yourself who a notable person related to this topic is. I have written a lot about how to find topics that are not broad, and instead are engaging, meaningful and memorable. My best advice for students who worry that their topic is too broad would be to keep reading my blog posts! They all carry the same message—find a topic that is specific , zero in on real-life moments anecdotes , brainstorm topics that are mundane everyday as opposed to impressive, pick one quality or characteristic to write about as opposed to trying to cram in all the great things about yourself. You can make a list of somewhat-related, random nouns and see if you can ask questions to relate the two topics. This results in a narrow subject! Here is a demonstration: Art.
Suppose the assignment, in addition to the broad topic, included a specific instruction that writers must try to persuade readers to agree with something. Does the current working thesis address this requirement? Yes, but not very well.
English essay writersIn addition to being an overly-broad argument, it is also one that is probably unnecessary; it is not one that needs to be made to fellow students, most of whom understand that greenhouse gas emissions are bad. There may, however, be something useful with respect to the assignment within that broad claim. For example, if you argued that coal-based electricity production is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions, but that most coal-producing states have ecologically-sound energy production alternatives, you could write a persuasive argument about this topic for your audience. Thesis Questions Another tactic used to refine thesis statements involves examining the thesis question or questions that your thesis statement answers. Identifying what kind of question it is i. One strategy is to turn questions of fact and preference into questions of definition, interpretation, or policy. Doing so often leads to a more specific answer, and a more specific thesis. For example, the broad thesis used in the example above — that America must cut its emissions of greenhouse gases and there are many ways to do it — is an answer to questions of fact: Does America need to cut its emissions? How can this be done? Many ways. Research is a dynamic process. Don't be afraid to discover new things and modify or refine your topic. The topic development process will help you to develop your thesis, which is essentially your proposed answer to your research question. You will then be ready to use the sources you've found, and find more sources in order to support that thesis, or to answer your research question. It's important to have a topic that is the right scope for your assignment. When you start developing your topic, the two main problems you may run into are having a topic that is too narrow or too broad. Your topic is probably too narrow when: you find very little--or nothing--written about it you realize you can fully cover your topic in much fewer than the required number of words or pages Your topic is probably too broad when: you find too many sources or too much information--more than you could reasonably look through you realize you won't have enough space in your paper to cover everything about your topic that you want to cover you feel like your topic is pulling you in lots of different directions--it's hard to combine all of the information you are finding out about it To narrow a topic that is too broad, try to pick one sub-topic of the topic to focus on. Designing a study around the relationships between specific variables can help constrict the scope of analysis [e. Time -- the shorter the time period of the study, the more narrow the focus [e. Type -- focus your topic in terms of a specific type or class of people, places, or phenomena [e. Combination -- use two or more of the above strategies to focus your topic very narrowly. I will follow their general topic with some possible ways to focus it down to something more specific and concrete. Include all this in your essay! See, you will still have plenty to write about even if you pick a specific topic! Updated July 27, It is typical for students to set off on a research topic only to find out that the one they've chosen is too broad. If you are lucky, you will find out before you conduct too much research, because much of the early research you carry out might be useless once you finally narrow your topic. It is a good idea to run your initial research idea by a teacher or librarian to get an expert opinion.
The only form of how it allows for is an argument that America should cut you emissions. As you do more in-depth research, yours looking for too essays, books, and other sources to include in your know, you can and probably will modify or refine your topic based on are you find.
Research is a dynamic process.
Don't be afraid to discover new things and modify or refine your topic.