Chat with a Librarian
Skip to Main Content
ask a librarian email questions

Eng 202 - Fences and Death of a Salesman (Williams)

A guide to researching the Fences and Death of a Salesman paper assignment in Ms. Williams' English 202 class.

3. Narrow Your Topic

Narrow SignOnce you've done your brainstorming and 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 these two plays do I want to focus on?

Identify three points in common that you want to focus on.

What interests me about the topic?

Find similarities based on what interests you about the plays (your favorite scenes or quotes).

What do I want to write about?

These questions will help you turn your topic into a thesis statement.

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.

Keywords

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:

American Dream

Father/Son Individual vs. Society

achievement

success

goals

fulfillment 

parenting

family

paternal

opportunity

limitations

barriers

stereotypes

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.