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ASL 102: De'VIA Art Project

3. Narrow Your Topic

Narrow SignOnce you've done some initial background reading, it's time to narrow down your topic to what you really want to focus on.  Remember your assignment requirements and consider what you've read thus far.

Ask yourself:

What aspect of the topic do I want to focus on?

What interests me about the topic?

What do I want to write about?

As you start to narrow this down into a topic/thesis, you'll want to continue to look for more sources. As you research, you might tweak or adjust your topic/thesis.  In order to help you find more related sources about your topic, you'll want to identify keywords to help you search.


As you think about what concepts you want to research, think about what particular words might be found in a good article about that topic.  For instance, if you are writing about the art of Chuck Baird, think of related keywords:

  • Chuck Baird 
  • Chuck Baird AND art
  • Deaf culture OR Deaf experience AND art
  • Deaf culture AND affirmation art
  • Deaf culture AND resistance art

You can also combine "Chuck Baird" with some of your search terms to find articles connecting the two ideas. Unlike Google, our databases work best when using connector terms, such as AND or OR.

*Tip: When using connector terms (also called Boolean Operators), remember AND means you are searching both terms together. Searching Deaf culture AND affirmation art will get you results related to both Deaf culture and affirmation art.

OR gives you more results. OR tells the database that you want information about Deaf culture OR Deaf experience, since those are both names for a similar term.

Keywords work best by trial-and-error. Never do only one search. Some keywords will work better than others, and some keywords may lead you to different articles than you found in your first search.  Search the databases with the keywords you selected to find relevant articles. And remember to ask a librarian if you need assistance coming up with keywords or looking for sources