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ENG 208 Culture Shock Essay (Jordan)

This guide is designed to help you complete Ms. Jordan's ENG 208 Culture Shock research paper.

4. Narrow Your Topic

Narrow SignOnce you've done some initial background reading and analysis, it's time to narrow down your topic to what you want to write about - what is your thesis going to be and what supporting points do you want to cover in your body paragraphs? Remember your assignment requirements and consider what you've read thus far.

Depending on which topic you've chosen, ask yourself:

Which hero or minor character am I going to focus on?

How do they match or not match the definition of Confucius/Machiavelli?

As you start to narrow this down into a thesis, you'll want to continue to look for more sources. As you read, 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 write about, think about what particular words might be found in a good article about that topic. Think of related keywords; here's some examples:

Leader Virtue Fate














When searching the databases try using the name of your work and a keyword to find to relevant articles. When searching for articles about The Prince you will most likely need to use the author Machiavelli's name also because other works use the word "prince" in their titles. 

Example: Machiavelli and The Prince and Fate

It may not be necessary to use the word "the" when searching for the The Prince or The Analects.  

You may also want to search for the title of your work such as Beowolf and then use the Search Within tool to narrow your results to sources that contain your keywords.

Note: Please note that for older works, spelling was not formalized, and you will often see variations. This is important for searching - you may need to search multiple spellings. examples - Beowolf vs. Beowulf, or Virgil vs. Vergil.

When searching remember that 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. Remember to ask a librarian if you need assistance coming up with keywords or looking for sources.