This guide will help you with Ms. Grigg's Beowulf research paper in English 205.
3. Narrow Your Topic
Once you've done some initial exploration, it's time to narrow your focus to some concrete aspects of the story you want to focus in on. Remember your assignment requirements and consider what you've read thus far. Take your brainstorming / analyzing questions from the previous page and choose / outline those examples or aspects of the story that you think will be most helpful to support your ideas. Begin to brainstorm a working thesis that states the viewpoint your going to argue/support in you're paper.
As you start to work on your thesis and supporting examples, you'll want to brainstorm keywords that might help you find outside/secondary sources about the play that you can use to support your thesis when writing your paper. As you read these sources, you might tweak or adjust your topic/thesis - this is a natural part of the research process. See below for some help on brainstorming 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. See the next page on Finding sources for some examples.
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.