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ENG 102 - Literary Analysis and Storytelling (Compton)

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 focus on.  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?

What do I want to write about?

As you start to narrow this down into a topic/thesis, you'll want to continue to look for more sources. As you research, 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 research, think about what particular words might be found in a good article about that topic.  For instance, if you are writing about the use of music for foreshadowing in Game of Thrones think of related keywords:

  • Game of Thrones
  • music
  • musical score
  • leitmotif 
  • music AND foreshadowing

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.

Keep in mind, you may not be able to find sources that are talking specifically about your media. If you can't find sources about your specific topic, think instead about finding sources that are more general about storytelling. For example, you might find sources about general costume design or general lighting, then relate it back to your media.