Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

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?