Guide to Library Research
Mary Livermore Library
Unit 2: Refining a Topic

Introduction

You need to be flexible with your topic—at least at first. Some topics may be too narrow; that is, you may not be able to find enough quality resources to write a 10-page paper or give a 30-minute presentation. Some topics, on the other hand, may be too broad to cover thoroughly, even in a lengthy paper or presentation. In this unit, you will learn how to generate a list of keywords, how to use these keywords to test the viability of your topic, how to narrow or broaden your topic, and how to use reference resources to find background information.