Skip to Main Content

ENGL 1007: First-Year Composition - Professor Hollcraft

This is a class guide for ENGL 1007. Instructor: Hollcraft

Research Scope Overview

Introduction: Scope
Scope, in regards to your research process, creates guidelines that helps establish:

  • A direction for your research process.
  • A purpose of what you hope to explore while researching for sources.
  • An understanding of what kind of audience would be interested in the information you are seeking.
  • An understanding of how to expand or refine your keywords to accommodate for possible challenges with your research.

Acknowledging the scope of your topic can circumvent research-related frustrations and save you time when you are struck your research process.

Scope: Direction

To find the direction of your research process, you need to develop a topic statement. 

A topic statement will guide you throughout your research process.

Note: There are plenty of topics to choose from. It's possible that your topic changes after today, however, for this activity, let's select a topic.

Example Topic Statement:

I'm interested in college students and the health risks of fast food.

Scope: Subject

Now let's establish the subject or populations impacted by your topic.
Whether directly or indirectly affected, your topic impacts various populations.

By indicating which populations are affected by your topic, you develop connections between your topic and the body of research.

Scope: Purpose
Now, let's focus on your purpose for researching the topic you selected.  Your purpose for researching the topic you selected should have some intrinsic value to you and to your audience after reading your essay.
Questions to consider:

  • Why is this issue worth discussing? Why is it important to you or others?
  • What is the main idea or point you want to make about your topic?
  • Are you trying to persuade your audience to take action? To change their minds? Consider alternate views?

Scope: Expand or Refine Keywords

You've established your direction, purpose, and possible audiences affected by your topic.

The last element of this section involves developing your sense of expanding or narrowing the scope of a keyword.

Expanding Keywords

Expanding the scope of a keyword means to broaden your definition to a phrase that is more vast. 

In other words, you are 'zooming out' to a larger, more encompassing term for your keyword.

Example of expanding the scope of a keyword: 

Fast food to Convenience food

Tip: Expand keywords when you are receiving few search results.

Refining Keywords

Refining the scope of a keyword means to narrow your definition to a phrase that is more precise. 

In other words, you are 'zooming in' to a narrower, more focused term for your keyword.

Example of refining the scope of a keyword: 

Fast food to McDonald's

Tip: Refine keywords when you are receiving too many search results.

Session 3 Itinerary

  • In-class:
    • Research Culmination Activity
  • At home:
    • Introduction to Academic Search Premier Video
    • Academic Search Premier Activity