Old Pueblo Academy

Narrowing down Academic Essay Topic

Perhaps you are tempted, right at this moment, to cover every aspect of a general topic in a single essay. Your good intentions could lead to frustration for you and any readers you might expose your work to in the future. Take a few moments to read these tips on how to narrow down the topic of your essay and save yourself some unnecessary grief.

  1. Pick a time-frame
  2. An essay that covers a phenomena from the beginning of recorded history to the present will be difficult to competently put together. Instead, aim to compare and contrast it through a few specific points in time or describe it in detail at a specific point.

  3. Pick a perspective
  4. Anything that has been written on has been written on more than once. You could try to summarize every person’s views in an essay but the lack of direction would leave the reader unsatisfied. Decide whose perspective you wish to present as a starting point and if it suits your purposes to add supporting or dissenting opinions. Remember that your intention is to NARROW the topic so you will have to exercise some caution in the selection of additional viewpoints.

  5. Pick a location
  6. The world contains many different cultures, climates and experiences.This means that any concept addressed at a global scale contains a multitude of miniature themes that could each be addressed in more detail individually. When you limit the places addressed in your topic this will allow you to thoroughly investigate it in specific regions rather than superficially addressing it everywhere.

  7. Pick a reason
  8. As you begin your research you may encounter instances where whatever it is you are investigating has had several different causes. These can sometimes all be addressed adequately in a single essay, however, if your topic still appears too broad, focus on one cause and devote your essay to explaining aspects of it in detail. This creates a more cohesive final product.

If your essay topic is still not sufficiently narrowed down, remember that these methods need not be used in isolation. By all means discuss your topic in terms of a particular place, time and reason. There are also well written essays available that you can refer to if ever you need to get a sense of how to construct the perfect topic. Pick wisely and use the resources at your disposal for academic writing success!