COE 208 | Baseball: Social and Cultural History: Refine

Resources for Professor Boyer's COE 208SS course. Fall 2018.

Refine

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.  It may be difficult to find enough information to write your paper.  In this case, you will need to broaden your topic or thesis.

Narrow

Narrow Your Topic
Time

Latest five years

Location

Town, city, state, nation

Population

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

Focus on an event within your topic: Native Americans.  Or consider a particular aspect: historical, sociological, psychological.

Person or Group

Related to your topic:   Native Americans or African Americans, adolescents, middle-aged

Broaden

Broaden Your Topic
Generalize

Generalize your topic, or explore related topics or issues.  If your topic is exploring the segregation of African Americans in the 1950's in baseball specifically in New York,, consider expanding that slightly to explore the segregation by race in the 1950's in baseball.

Currency

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, history, social science, or the humanities).
Synonyms

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.

Related

Explore related issues.

Expand    Remove

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

Examples

Too Broad:    Baseball in the Jim Crow era.  Narrower:  What were the major impacts of the Negro League on Major League Baseball?

Too Narrow: In the 1950's in New York how were Native Americans integrated into Major League Baseball?  

Broader:  What societal influences helped integrate Native Americans into Major League Baseball during the 1940's through the 1960's?