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Writing a Paper - Topic: Health Sciences: Narrowing your Topic

Here is some basic info on how to choose a topic, and resources to use to help you get started with writing a paper in the health sciences.

Narrowing your topic

Narrowing a Topic

Narrowing a topic requires you to be more specific about your research interest.  If you are unsure about how to narrow your topic, ask the reporters’ questions “Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” and “Why.”

For example:
You want to write a paper about the AIDS epidemic.  The topic “AIDS” is too broad to address in your paper.  Ask the reporters’ questions to narrow your topic.

  • Who? Who is the specific person/group to which you would like to limit your research?
    • United States government
  • What? What specific aspect of the broad topic idea is interesting to you?
    • Effects on children with HIV positive parents
  • Where? To which specific geographic area or region would you like to limit your research?
    • Africa
  • When? On what time period would you like your research focused?
    • The present
  • Why? Why do you think this is an important/interesting topic?
    • Organizations funded by the US providing "abstinence only" sex education


Based on your answers to the reporters’ questions, formulate a focused research topic.
Due to its "abstinence only" sex education policy in Africa, the United States has an obligation to African children whose parents have contracted AIDS since this policy's enforcement. 

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