Research Help

Too Much Too Little

YOU FOUND TOO MUCH INFORMATION: Brainstorm!

Sample broad topic:
Health of African-Americans 85 and older
Circle the most important words and phrases.

  • Health
  • African-Americans
  • 85 and older


Come up with synonyms and broader or related concepts.

  • Health: illnesses, health care, treatment, death rates, convalescence, nursing homes, hospitals
  • African-Americans: Blacks, Afro-Americans, women, men, females, males
  • 85 and older: aged, senior citizens, elderly, seniors, mature adults, old age, aging, ageing


Consider adding or narrowing other limiters.

  • time period: 2000-2002
  • geographic region: Los Angeles
  • event or aspect: large vs. small social support networks; strokes
  • person or group:[no additional people or groups]

Revised topic sentence:
Do African-American women in L.A., 85 and older, with large social support networks cope better with stroke-related problems than those with small social support networks?

YOU FOUND TOO LITTLE INFORMATION: Brainstorm!

Sample narrow topic:
How did Latina caregivers in the L.A. area handle diabetes-related problems of their parents, 85 and older, between 2000 and 2002?
Circle the most important words and phrases.

  • Latina
  • caregivers
  • diabetes-related problems
  • their parents
  • 85 and older


Come up with synonyms and broader or related concepts.

  • Latina: Chicana, Hispanic, Latinos, women, men, females, males
  • caregivers: health care workers, home health care
  • diabetes-related problems: health, health care treatment, illnesses, diseases
  • their parents: “sandwich generation,” mothers, fathers
  • 85 and older: aged, senior citizens, elderly, seniors, mature adults, old age, aging, ageing, 65 and older


Consider removing or broadening other limiters

  • time period: 1992-2002
  • geographic region: California
  • event or aspect: [no additional events or aspects]
  • person or group: [no additional people or groups]


Revised broader topic:
How did Latino caregivers in California handle health problems of their parents, 65 and older, between 1992 and 2002?

Remember, topics evolve as you conduct research.