Below are some of the most common ways of narrowing any topic 1 degree of resolution/specificity. Combine them, try different ones, repeat them to get down to the 6th level of narrowing ( use 6 times below, repeating is ok). You can use any of these 22 ways to narrow for the first (3-5 pg) and/or the final (6-8 pg) paper -- any paper you are ever assigned, in fact!


GENERAL CATEGORIES for breaking down topic to narrower topics/subtopic (choose/combine below)

For example, general category: Space Exploration

a)Breakdown by Who (American Space Exploration)

b)Breakdown by What (Manned Space Missions)

c)Breakdown by Where (Moon Exploration)

d)Breakdown by When (Space exploration in the 1960's)

e)Breakdown by Why (Quest to leave Earth)

f)Breakdown by How (Rocket to the Moon: Space Exploration)

g)Breakdown by problems faced (Sustaining Life in Space: Problems with space exploration)

h)Breakdown by problems overcome (Effects of zero gravity on astronauts)

i)Breakdown by motives (Beating the Russians: Planning a moon mission)

j)Breakdown by effects on a group (Renewing faith in science: aftershock of the Moon mission)

k)Breakdown by member group (Designing a moon lander: NASA engineers behind Apollo 11)

l)Group affected (From Test Pilots to Astronauts: the new heroes of the Airforce)

m)Group benefited (Corporations that made money from the American Space Program)

n)Group responsible for/paid for _____ (The billion dollar bill: taxpayer reaction to the cost of sending men to the moon)

S.O.C.R.A.P.R. =

o) S = Similarities (Similar issues to overcome between the 1969 moon mission and the planned

2009 Mars Mission)

p) O = opposites (American pro and con opinions about the first mission to the moon)

q) C = Contrasts (Protest or patriotism: different opinions about cost vs benefit of the moon mission)

r) R = relationships (the NASA family: from the scientists on earth to the astronauts in the sky)

s) A = anthropomorphisms [interpreting reality in terms of human values] (Space: the final frontier)

t) P = personifications [giving objects or descriptions human qualities]

(the eagle has landed: animal symbols and metaphors in the space program)

u) R = repetition (More missions to the moon: Pro and Con American attitudes to landing more astronauts

on the moon)