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ENG 12 (Prof. Maxine Krenzel, Spring 2024)

Some Ways to Narrow Your Topic and Search Results

Ways to narrow a topic:

  • Run a search on your current topic in a database.  Skim the abstracts of articles that look interesting.  (Look beyond the first page of results!)  

    • You will likely find more focused concepts that could make a good research paper or similar themes that occur in literature that could make a good topic.  Try adding keywords for the new topic to your search terms.

  • You can also assign limiters, such as a population, a time frame, a discipline, a geographical area.

    • Add limiters to your search terms.

Narrowing Your Search Results in a Database:

  • You can also use filters in the database (on the left side) to narrow your search results.  Many EBSCO databases give you the option to filter by “peer-reviewed articles”.  You can also filter by year of publication date, if you’re interested in more recent articles.  

  • If you’re getting too many results, you can also change the “Search This Field” box (to the right of your search boxes).  If one of your keywords is a major concept, you can try searching for it in the abstract field.  (This is written as “AB Abstract” in the Ebsco databases.)  The abstract is a summary of the article, so important terms are generally found there.