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ENGS 057B : Race as U.S. Social Fact and Fiction - Gennari (Fall 2017)

how to narrow your topic; suggested keywords

Refine Your Topic

Connect your personal experience/interest to the inherent issues of the topic. Consider how your concern fits into a broader context.

Make sure your topic is manageable for the length/scope of your paper/project/thesis.

Areas of focus may be:

  • time period
  • geographic region or a specific place
  • demographic group (gender, age, economic status, educational level, ethnicity/culture/race, etc.)
  • specific aspect (religious, political, environmental, medical, economic, legal, etc.) of the topic
  • specific event related to the general topic
  • specific person/s associated with that topic

Sometimes it takes several attempts to properly refine a topic. You are aiming for a research question that will enable you to make good decisions about what kind of source material you need and where you should look for that material.

Suggested Keywords to Use in the Library Catalog and Article Databases

Remember! To make your search more efficient, consider using truncation to find words with variant endings. For example, racis* -> racism, racial, racist, racists

Mix and Match

african american*
race relations
race awareness
race identity
race
racial
racial bias /discrimination
racial profiling
racial classification / mulatto* /
quadroon / octoroon
whites
whiteness
white supremac*
ku klux klan / KKK
racist*
racism
civil rights
segregat*
miscegenation
interracial
black lives matter
black panther*
black power
 

united states
civil rights
mass media
advertis* / commercials
performing arts
motion pictures / films /  television
music / jazz / gospel / spirituals
popular music
hip hop / hiphop
minstrel*
blackface
dance / dancing
comedy / comedies / comedian* / comics
sports (also, individual sports)
athletes
jim crow / law / laws / legislation
politics / political
voting / suffrage
lynch*
gender / sex roles / women
assimilation
passing
religio*
folklore
literature / poetry / authors / writers
language / ebonics / black english / linguistics
education / schools
culture
marriage / famil*
environment*
crime / prison*
eugenics