Narrowing My Scope

I’m feeling a little less confident today.

Of course, as a worrisome person, I build things up in my head. Yet, I still cannot ignore the fact that my project feels very up in the air, so to speak. After much thought, and talking with our professor, I worry about where my project will end.

It is easy to pick a topic and know, roughly, what about it interests you, but that is just the beginning. Turning an idea into action takes work. That is where I am at right now. I am going to write about mental health and disorders with a critical lens on how academics and other various professionals define and evaluate it.

But what exactly is my scope? I thought I knew. I thought I had a good definition of where my project would start and end, but the more I think and talk with others about it, the more I am worried about it.

Finding the perfect scope, one that is not overly simplified or too daunting for the couple months I have to work on it, is hard. Right now, I need to narrow my scope down. I need to clearly define where I will draw the line. With a topic that has an immense amount of research and theories about it, I could easily be sucked up in the project and never find a distinguishing argument or end. With time, I am sure I can get to a point where my project seems doable. It will just take time.

Is anyone else having dilemmas deciding the scope of your project? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

2 thoughts to “Narrowing My Scope”

  1. Hi Carlina,

    I am, pretty selfishly, happy that you’re feeling worried about your project. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in that boat. In my case, I know where my project will start, but I have no idea where it will end. Still, there are two things that have helped me define my scope a little bit better. The first is working through – almost paragraph to paragraph – the form of my project, particularly the prose pieces. I’m alternating the findings from my research with personal narratives. Deciding which narratives I want to tell has helped me focus my research, so I’m not looking for just anything that relates to my topic. The second is to complete the major assignment about qualities of discourse. Looking at my topic through several different lenses helped me to discover a lot of the issues I will have to tackle to make a compelling argument and determine (a little bit) what that argument will be. Even after doing these things, my final project is still pretty abstract in my mind. I think as we begin working on the content of our projects, things will become clearer, and we will know what works and what doesn’t. At least that’s what I’m banking on. Good luck!

  2. Carlina,

    I’m sorry you’ve been so stressed about your project! I like to think that everyone was in that boat when they started their capstone projects, and I feel confident that you’ll make it through!

    As far as narrowing the scope of my own project goes/went, I definitely had (have?) issues. My tendency is to aim too far on the daunting side of the scale, choosing projects that are too ambitious and require me to sacrifice too much of my personal life to complete without compromising. You mentioned that you were writing about mental health disorders – would it seem reasonable to pick a few disorders to focus on, or even one disorder specifically? Or choosing a few specific types of professionals instead of just “academics and other various professionals”?

    Choosing specific things from a category to focus on helped me a lot in my project, so maybe that will be helpful! Either way, good luck! I’m sure it will work out sooner than later.

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