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Searching in the Humanities: Search Strategies

Once you have identified a topic, think about what terms and phrases are essential to understanding the topic, they will help in your search.

Try visualizing your ideas, using note card, whiteboards, concept maps, etc.

What connections or themes do you see?

Narrow a Topic

Narrowing a topic requires you to be more specific about your research interest and can help you to develop a thesis.

Questions to Narrow Your Topic:  First start out with a general topic.
Take the topic and break it down into categories by asking the following:

  • Who?
    • Who is the specific person/group to which you would like to limit your research?
  • What?
    • What specific aspect of the broad topic idea is interesting to you?
  • Where?
    • To which specific geographic area or region would you like to limit your research?
  • When?
    • On what specific time period would you like your research focused?
  • Why?
    • Why do you think this is an important/interesting topic? Why is it significant?