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NABU 330

Narrowing Your Topic

What Is Presearch?

Presearch is the first step in the research process. You may revisit some of the steps a few times along the way to completing your assignment. So, getting to know a bit about a topic before you start your research is a wise move.

Watch the video below to learn more about how to pick your topic and begin your research.

Your Evolving Topic

In the early stages of your assignment, it's OK to have a general topic idea as long as you’re flexible and curious.

Don't be discouraged! Just because you find too much or too little information when you start searching, doesn't mean you have to switch to a completely new topic. Let your discoveries guide you to a topic that can work for you, not against you.

  1. Choose a topic
  2. Do initial research
  3. Adapt your topic to your research

As you search, pay attention to different words and concepts you see that are related to your topic - these will come in handy when you move to the next stage of your research.

Topic Size Counts!

Too Broad or Too Narrow?

Choosing a topic is much harder than many students realize. Most students - new and old - choose a topic that is too large (broad) for the scope of the assignment. 

If you’re topic is too broad, you will be overwhelmed with sources.  If your topic is too narrow, you might not find anything.

Doing some background research can help you:

  • identify if there is limited information on a topic
  • narrow large subjects into manageable topics
drug addiction Too broad
effect of safe injection on AIDS rates in North Vancouver  Too narrow
beneficial effects of safe injection in Vancouver  Looks promising

What makes a good topic?

What do you think is the most important factor when you're choosing a topic for an assignment?

What makes a good topic?
It seems really interesting.: 15 votes (18.75%)
It's something from my own life.: 4 votes (5%)
People have strong, opposing opinions about it.: 44 votes (55%)
It's currently in the news.: 3 votes (3.75%)
Resources on the topic are easy to find.: 14 votes (17.5%)
Total Votes: 80