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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

English 201 Library Research

Narrowing Your Topic - Questions to Ask

Ways to Focus Most Social Science Issues

Many English 201 students research topics that fall under the social sciences. There are some common ways social scientists focus their research.

Specific group affected by X issue?

Most researchers study a specific group of people and how they relate to whatever issue, rather than everyone. In our body image example above, you could focus on body image and a particular age group of girls, versus all girls. Or you could focus on body image and a specific ethnic group, or those who engage in a specific sport.

Specific method of solving X?

Rather than trying to analyze all the ways an issue can be solved, narrow to one or two and analyze them in more detail. If you tried to cover all the ways to solve the problem of body image, that would be book-length!

Specific cause of X?

Similarly, don't try to cover all the causes of your issue. Narrow to one or two. For body image, you might argue that the mass media causes body image issues in women, but focus on a particular type of mass media or a particular genre of film or television.