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CPELI Level 4

This guide is in support of CPELI Level 4, taught by Jim Hays, Jonathan Lucero and others, for researching argumentation essay topics.

Narrowing Results

After you have decided on a topic for your argumentation essay, it may be that what you have chosen is too broad and far-reaching. EXAMPLE:

TOPIC: genocide

Because genocide by itself is such a common word, using it as your keyword in the article databases will retrieve many thousands of articles. Narrow your topic by considering other keywords and terms, groups of people historically affected by genocide, and questions to think about the topic of genocide. EXAMPLES:

Additional keywords and terms:

  • Crimes Against Humanity
  • Ethnic Cleansing
  • Holocaust
  • Human Rights Violations
  • International Criminal Court
  • Mass Extermination
  • Racial/Ethnic Stereotyping
  • War Crimes

Groups of people historically affected by genocide:

  • American Indians
  • Armenian
  • Bosnia
  • Cambodian
  • Darfur
  • Indigenous Genocide
  • Jews
  • Kososvo
  • Kurdish
  • Nanking
  • Ottoman government
  • Rwanda
  • Serbian
  • Sudanese
  • Somalia
  • Turkey
  • Ukranian

Questions to think about on the topic of genocide:

  • What can we do to help prevent genocide?
  • Is there any cure for hate?
  • How is genocide different from mass murder? Or terrorism?
  • Can the United States take an active role in preventing genocide?
  • What are the different reasons sited for leading to genocide? (ie. Poverty, Regilious differences)
  • Who decides if it is genocide or civil unrest?
  • Why do leaders scapegoat particular groups?

Using the suggestions above, here is a narrowed genocide topic and keywords to use for finding magazine, newspaper and journal articles:

REVISED TOPIC: How did racial or ethnic stereotyping in Bosnia affect, cause or result in mass extermination?


"racial stereotyp*" OR "ethnic stereotyp*"


"mass extermination" OR genocide


The suggestions above are based in part from the Genocide library guide at Broward College - Florida Atlantic University Joint Use Facility.