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ENG 102 Poetry Research

This guide is designed to help you complete an English 102 research paper about a poem.

3. Narrow Your Topic

Once you've done some initial exploration of the poem, it's time to narrow your focus to some concrete aspects you want to focus in on.  Choose the aspects of the poem that you think will be most helpful to support your ideas. Begin to brainstorm a Narrow Signworking 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 secondary sources. You may decide to adjust your topic or thesis as you search for sources. 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. Consider the following when searching databases and e-books:

  • Enter the name of the poem with the word "and" and the concept you are looking for  Example: "The Raven and Death"
  • Keywords work best by trial-and-error
  • Never do only one search
  • Some keywords will work better than others.​ Consider synonyms or words that may bring up articles that include your topic:

    Revenge --- Vengeance

    Death --- Mortality --- Murder

    Gender --- Feminism --- Sex

  • Remember to also use "Search Within Results" option to search further into your results.

  • Use "Ctrl F" to search for specific words within a particular article.
  • And remember to ask a librarian if you need assistance coming up with keywords or looking for sources.