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Graphic Design

Gateway into graphic design resources at USD



The following web sites and library database may help you to identify terms and phrases related to your topic.

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 conduct a project about signage in public buildings.  The topic “public signage” 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?
    • College students on large campuses
  • What? What specific aspect of the broad topic idea is interesting to you?
    • Effects on students when viewing modern, colorful and attractive signs that have popular culture themes
  • Where? To which specific geographic area or region would you like to limit your research?
    • United States
  • When? On what time period would you like your research focused?
    • The present
  • Why? Why do you think this is an important/interesting topic?
    • Students need to quickly be directed to what they are looking for. 

Based on your answers to the reporters’ questions, formulate a focused research topic:

Do U.S. college students prefer directional signage on campus that is modern, rather than classical or traditional?   In what ways do they respond to colorful, attractive signage with popular cultural references?

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