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COMM 200: Fundamentals of Speech - Pollock: Narrowing Down Your Topic

How to Narrow Down a Topic

Start with your general topic and break it down into categories. For example, you can't give a five minute speech on social media. You will need to break it down into smaller categories.

Narrow down your topic using these questions:

  1. Problems faced? (Can lead to bullying, school violence, distorted body image)
  2. Problems overcome?  (Can help people feel more connected to each. Helps friends and family stay in touch.)
  3. Motives (Whose motives? Users? Company founders?)
  4. Effects on a group? (How does this effect children, teenagers, and college students?)
  5. Who is affected? (Teachers, parents, students. Changes the way we learn and interact. Changes how parents raise their kids.)
  6. Group benefited? (Students can attend online classes. Families can keep in touch from far away.)
  7. Group responsible for/paid for _____ (Shareholders, company founders, consumers.)

From these questions, you can generate several research questions from your general topic, such as:

Does social media increase the risk of school violence among teenagers?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using social networks in education?

Does social media increase college-age women's body dysmorphia?

Does social media affect the obesity rates among elementary school aged children?

Create a Content Map

A concept map is a diagram that helps you organize and structure information on a particular topic.

Sites to create concept maps:


Credo Reference - Mind Map

Use Credo as a place to get background information for your topic.  The "Mind Map" function may lead you down a rabbit hole of new information.