COE 237: Gender & Development: Refine

Professor Kshama Harpankar, Spring 2018.


Be prepared to be flexible with your research question or thesis.

If you find too much information, your topic/thesis may be too broad.  You will need to narrow or focus it.

If you are finding very little information, your topic/thesis may be too specific, narrow, specialized or current.  With a topic that's too narrow, it may be difficult to find enough information to write your paper.  


Narrow Your Topic


Modern time period vs. historical perspective





Town, city, state, nation, country




 Age, race, gender, nationality, ethnic group, occupation 
Event or Aspect


Focus on an event within your topic: sexual discrimination prevention.  Or consider a particular aspect: historical, sociological, psychological


Person or Group


Related to your topic:  military, adolescents, poor, whites, Latinos, African Americans


Broaden Your Topic


Generalize your topic, or explore related topics or issues.  If your topic is the gender pay inequality in professional occupations in Lebanon county, PA, consider expanding that to explore gender pay inequality in management.






If your topic has just occurred, there won't be books or journal articles available just yet.  Choose an alternative topic that is not so recent.



Database Choice 


Use other databases in your subject area, or consider checking databases in a related subject area (which might cover the topic from a different perspective, for example, education, psychology, criminal justice).


Use a thesaurus to find synonyms for your topic. When reading background information, note how your topic is expressed in these materials. When you find citations in an article database, note the terms being used by experts in the field.





Explore related issues--what are some solutions to gender pay inequality?


Expand    Remove


Expand or remove: location, time period, aspect, event, population, person/group.


Too Broad:   Gender pay inequality   Narrower:   Gender pay inequality in management positions


Too Narrow: Gender pay inequality in professional occupations in Lebanon county, PA. Broader:  Gender pay inequality in management positions.