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ENG 101 - Gender Differences

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 write about.  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?

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.  Unlike Google, our databases don't do well with searches using whole sentences. Use only the essential words for searching. Combine your terms with "and." If you are looking for a phrase, put the phrase in quotation marks, so the computer will search for those words together. For example, if you are writing about the differences in mathematical ability between women and men, you might search:

men and women and "mathematical ability"

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.

Subject Headings

Here are some LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) that may help you find resources on gender and gender differences.

  • Women--Identity
  • Men--Identity
  • Women--Psychology
  • Men--Psychology
  • Sex role
  • Sex role in the work environment
  • Sex differences (Psychology)
  • Gender identity
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Interpersonal communication--Sex differences
  • Language and languages--Sex diffferences
  • Communication--Sex differences
  • Man-woman relationships
  • Gender nonconformity
  • Transgender people
  • Sexism