Skip to Main Content

Education Research Step-by-Step

An online guide designed to help teacher education students do research in the Spring Hill College libraries.

Is your topic too broad?

If you are finding too much information, your research topic may be too

B R O A D. Consider narrowing it to a more specific topic:

Time 18th Century, Civil War, 1960's
Location Europe, U.S., Mobile Alabama, urban, southern
Population age, race, gender, nationality, ethnic group, occupation
Event or Aspect impact of redistricting, school finance, school choice
Person or Group public schools-elementary level, private schools, parochial schools

Broad Topic:
history of public schools

Narrower Topic: What was the impact of redistricting on public schools in Alabama?

Is your topic too narrow?

If you are finding too little information, your topic may be too NARROW, specialized, or current. Use these strategies to broaden your topic.


Generalize your topic.  If your topic is the health effects of fracking on the Ft. Lupton community, broaden your topic to all Colorado communities or the United States.


If your topic is very current, there may not be books or journal articles available yet. Choose an alternative topic that is not so recent.
Database Choice Use other databases in your subject area or consider databases in a related subject area which might cover the topic from a different perspective.
Synonyms Use a thesaurus to find synonyms for your topic. When reading background information, note the terminology that is used.
Related Explore related issues.
Expand / Remove Expand or remove: location, time period, aspect, event, population, person/group.

Example of a Narrow Topic:  Does cartoon viewing cause aggression in children under age five?

Broader:  What are the negative effects of TV on children and adolescents?