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ENGL 207 - English Composition I - Allen-Gleed

Topic Selection

The first place to look for a topic is within the assignment itself. Your topic needs to be sufficiently narrow or broad to be able to research and write about. Appropriate topic selection can set you up for success if done well. 

Choosing takes research!

In order to get a good start at choosing a topic, you need to do some background research. Simply saying "I'll write about the supply chain issues" is a good start, but isn't going to get you anywhere useful. By doing background research, you can find additional terms, concepts, and ideas to turn a general idea into something that is easier to research, such as the impact the pandemic has had on the workforce and the way that impacts the global supply chain.  

Credo Reference

Credo Reference

Articles from encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sources from all subject areas. Includes images, audio pronunciation files, maps, and data tables.

Gale Ebooks

Gale Ebooks

Collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries and handbooks covering a variety of subject areas.

Oxford Reference Online

Oxford Reference Online

Articles from encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sources from all subject areas. Includes quotations, maps, and illustrations.

Broad / Narrow / Just Right

Your topic is too broad if...

  • you are having difficulty discussing something in depth or writing something original.
  • the only similarity between your resources is that they are both on the same piece of literature. 
  • there are a lot of subtopics within the concept.

Example that is too broad: Charter Schools.  


Your topic is too narrow if...

  • you get no (or only a few) results in the databases. 
  • you get a lot results in the databases, but they're not what you're looking for.
  • you can't seem to find anything to support your ideas.

Example that is too narrow: Charter school attendance by the children of Pennsylvania state senators. 

Your topic is just right if...

  • you readily find articles that match with your ideas.
  • you can see the connection between the work, the article, and your interest.
  • you feel like you'll be able to write enough without stretching it or editing it down too much.

Example that is just right: The differences between how republican and democratic state senators vote on charter school laws.