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Research Toolkit: Narrowing a Topic

Narrowing a Topic

Narrowing a Topic

When your topic is too broad, it can be difficult to research and even more difficult to write about! Therefore, be sure you have a focused topic. Here are some tips to help you narrow your topic so that it's manageable and focused.

The 5 W's and 1 H

Take your larger topic, and consider the 5 W's (Who, What, Where, When, Why) and 1 H (How). There are no right or wrong answers for this exercise! So just consider what interests you and what fulfills your assignment. For example: obesity as a topic is too broad, but if we use the 5W's and 1 H, we can narrow the topic down:

  • Who is being affected by obesity?
  • What is the problem?
  • Where will you focus your research? 
  • When will you focus your research (time period)?
  • Why is the problem happening? 
  • How can the problem be addressed?