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Eng 113 & Span 113 (Martin-Rodriguez): Topic Scope

Finding the Right Scope for Your Topic

Narrow Your Topic or Research Question

It's very common to select a topic or formulate a question that starts out too broad

Question 1:  How is family represented in The House on Mango Street? (broad)

When the scope of your topic is too big, it's hard to write a paper with any depth. 

Most scholarly research examines fairly narrow topics and looks at relationships between concepts.  For example, family is a pretty broad topic, but looking at how sibling relationships are depicted makes this topic more manageable.

Question 1 (revised): What is the significance of the sibling relationships depicted in The House on Mango Street? (narrowed)

Activity Spreadsheet

Try a search in a database that looks interesting and record what you were able to find on the spreadsheet.

What to include:

  • your research question or topic
  • possible keywords that you might use to search
  • what database you used (e.g., JSTOR, Melvyl, Academic Search Complete, Chicano Database, etc)
  • what did you find?

(We'll go through these step by step.)

Spreadsheet Link