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Research Guides | Library | Amherst College

PSYC-228: Abnormal Psychology

Focusing your topic

When you start research, it's natural to have fairly vague or highly specific questions. It can make searching frustrating, because you end up feeling like you're finding way too much...or nothing at all.

Here are a couple of exercises to help you refine your search image. They're meant to help you explore your topic more deeply and start to get more focused. This will make your searches more efficient!

Exercise One: Mapping handout

Exercise Two: Question Generation Rules & example

Tips for Narrowing

If you feel like your questions are too broad, or you're just not sure what to focus on, you can look at these aspects of your topic:

  •     specific mechanics or features of the disorder
  •     related disorders (comorbidities)
  •     specific populations
  •     risk factors/etiology
  •     clinical treatments and approaches