America, a paper topic must be very narrow.
start by thinking of a broad topic and then make it continually more specific
until the topic is narrow.
can be narrowed by:
- Geography – A paper about
missions in China is too big, but a paper about how missions impacted
people in a specific village is good.
- Time Period – A paper about
sacred objects is too big, but a paper about changes in church décor
during the English Reformation is good.
- Source – A paper about the
History of Biblical Interpretation is too big, but a paper about Rabbi
Ishmael’s interpretation in Bereshit
Rabba (Genesis midrash) is good.
- Comparison/Relationship – A
paper about women in the Old Testament is too big, but a paper about the
relationship between Samson’s mother and an angel in contrast to that of
Samson’s father and the angel is good.
- Specific Application – A
paper about the doctrine of adoption is too big, but a paper about how
John Wesley’s understanding of the doctrine of adoption applies to
orphanage ministry is good.
- narrow by subject—theology
- then narrow by time
period—theology of baptism during the Reformation
- then narrow by person—John
Calvin’s understanding of baptism
- then narrow by
source—Calvin’s understanding of baptism in chapter 15 of his Institutes of the Christian Religion
- then narrow by relationship
— Calvin’s understanding of the relationship between baptism and the
church in chapter 15 of the Institutes