It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Roman Empire: Narrow your topic
Supports Dr. Ronald J. Weber's class on the Roman Empire.
If you can define a narrow, focused topic, your paper will be easier to do and the end result will be better. There are several ways you can narrow your topic.
Read an encyclopedia article on the topic. Almost certainly, you will find that the topic is more complex than you imagined. Look for a person, time period, issue, or sub-topic on which to focus.
Search your topic in JSTOR and browse the range of articles you find. Look for patterns and themes. This will give you an idea of the major aspects of your topic and the availability of scholarly articles on it. You may also be able to identify individual scholars who have written a lot on the topic.
Subject headings in the library catalog. Do a keyword search on your topic. Then scroll to the bottom of the screen and find a list of related terms.
Look at the subjects or keywords assigned to the books and articles you find.
Subject terms and thesauri in online databases. Look for a tab on your database that says "Terms" or "Subject terms" or "Thesaurus", and it will lead you to a thesaurus that will give you ideas of broader and narrower terms.
L'Année Philologique has a very useful breakdown on material by subject ("Subjects and disciplines"), and it specializes in ancient Greece and Rome.
Links to Sources for Selecting and Narrowing Your Topic
Provides full text online access to the complete, 250-plus volume Cambridge Histories reference series. Subject coverage ranges from political, economic and social history to histories of philosophy and literature. Includes the histories of specific countries and selected topics. Materials indexed include reference books and book chapters. Coverage: All time periods - from Ancient to Modern.
Provides access to a large and varied collection of electronic reference books published by Gale. Publications indexed include dictionaries and encyclopedias. Subject coverage includes current events, health, business, science, art, history, humanities, biography and more. Full text access is based on institutional subscriptions.
NOTE: This database is funded in its entirety by the Academic Library Collection Enhancement Program (ALCEP) through the General Libraries of the University of Texas at Austin.
Provides complete full-text access to an archive of back issues of selected scholarly journals from the following subscribed collections: Arts & Sciences (I - XI), Life Sciences, and Ireland. Subject coverage includes: African and African American Studies, anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art and art history, Asian Studies, biology, botany, British Studies, business, classical studies, economics, education, film studies, finance, folklore, geography, health sciences, history, Ireland, Jewish Studies, language and literature, Latin American Studies, law, linguistics, mathematics, Middle East Studies, music, paleontology, performing arts, philosophy, political science, psychology, public administration, religion, science, Slavic Studies, sociology, Women's Studies, statistics and zoology. Other types of publications indexed include monographs, pamphlets, images, and manuscripts.
Provides complete full-text access to a comprehensive collection of dictionary, language, and subject reference works, including the entire Oxford Companions series and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Subject coverage includes art and architecture, biological sciences, business and economics, classical studies, computing, earth and environmental sciences, history, humanities, law, literature, medicine, folklore and mythology, performing arts, physical sciences and mathematics, politics and social science, as well as religion and philosophy. Includes both English language and bilingual dictionaries.