Choosing a Narrow Topic for Essay Writing

Choosing an essay topic is not as easy as some may think it is. The number one mistake students make when they are trying to decide on an essay topic is that they pick a topic that is too broad and general. There is a method to this madness, or at least some students think so. See, when you pick a general topic, the assumption is that you will not run out of material to cover in your essay. Technically this is true, however, an essay is not meant to be information overload.

The Problems with Choosing a General Essay Topic

Here are a few problems students run into when they pick a general essay topic:

  • The essay will not make sense. An essay is supposed to flow a certain way and if the topic is not narrow, the essay will be cluttered and all over the place.

  • It will take too much time to research. With a general topic, students tend to want to cover everything they can about the topic, even if it has little relevancy.

  • You are not reaching the reader. An essay is supposed to be informational, persuasive, or argumentative. Narrow topics will hinder the reader in hearing the point you are trying to get across.

How to Narrow Down the Topics

Once you know what kind of essay you have to write, narrowing down a topic is simple. First, pick a general topic, preferably something you enjoy learning or writing about. Next, ask yourself some questions regarding which part of the topic you want to discuss. From there, you simply keep asking questions and narrowing down the scope of the topic until you have your question/thesis/topic.

Once you have your essay topic ready you can begin the research process. You may find that you have to adjust your topic based on how much or how little information is available for the essay. Keep in mind that you need to keep the body of the essay focused on key points of your topic. Remember, only key points.

Students want to give as much information as they possibly can on their topic for many reasons. One reason is to simply meet the page or word requirement. Another reason could be to show off knowledge. Others do it simply because they feel they have to. While it is important to present a good number of valid facts, again, make sure they are powerful and useful facts.

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