for refining a question
when you search for material on your topic you are overwhelmed
by a tsunami of sources on the question you've raised,
it is probably too
yourself what areas you would need to cover to develop it fully.
If you cannot do justice to each area without writing a substantially
longer paper, then you need to
narrow your question.
on the other hand, a search yields little more than a dribble
of information on your topic and it cannot be subdivided
readily, then you probably need to broaden your
If your question is
too broad, limit your focus by time period, group, or place.
events affected the American Labor Movement in the
early twentieth century?
strengthened the American Labor Movement in the 1930s
are increasing numbers of Americans overweight?
are increasing numbers of American children overweight?
is being done about the problem of AIDS in Africa?
is being done in Uganda to educate the population about
Another strategy for
narrowing a topic is to reduce the number of subjects to
themes are treated in Emily Dickinson's poetry?
does Dickinson treat death in "Because I Could Not
Stop for Death"?
causes eating disorders?
do societal attitudes cause bulimia?
do athletes cope with anxiety stemming from fear of injury
do athletes overcome their fear of injury?
In general, broaden a search by doing the reverse of what you would do to narrow
one. See the examples above for ways to narrow a topic.