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THE LIBRARY IS OPEN ONLINE! While our physical spaces remain closed, the CCNY Libraries team is working remotely to make library resources and services available online.

Remote Resources and Services for Fall 2020

HOLIDAY CLOSURE: CCNY Libraries virtual services will be closed November 26-November 29.

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FIQWS Language & Literacy

Defining your Research Topic

The first step in the research process is to select a topic. The topic you choose should be neither too broad nor too narrow in scope. Rather, it should be specific with some well-defined boundaries. To help you define a research topic, consult online reference sources, such as scholarly encyclopedias, to learn more about your topic and to find recommended related articles and books on the topic. If, when you search for sources on your topic, you get too many results, you may want to narrow your topic further. If you get too few, you may need to broaden its scope.

Other elements you may want to consider to help you define your topic include:

  • Geographic Location: Where does the topic take place?
  • Time Period: When did your topic become important or of issue?
  • Population Type: Who are the people involved or affected?
  • Point of view: What is the lens through with you are considering your topic (e.g., economic, social, cultural, biological)?

Need Help Choosing a Topic?