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ENGL 102 - English Composition II - Schmidt

How To: Background Reading to Understand Your Topic

There is a tendency for people to type general questions into a database and hope for the best. While this barely works for Google, it definitely doesn't work well with the databases. By identifying the more narrow parts of your initial question you will get more meaningful results. Here is an example of how you can break down a general question into it's narrower concepts. 

Why are bees disappearing?

I am not a bee expert, so there are multiple places I can look for answers. If I choose AccessScience (because bees are related to a science) and type in bees disappearing, I find this article titled "Colony Collapse Disorder"

From this article, I can answer some questions I didn't even know I had.   

This table explains how general terms can be adjusted to specific terms. 
General Term What I didn't know before Better Choice
bees What kind of bees? adult honeybees
disappearing Is there a term scientists use for this? "Colony Collapse Disorder"
why What explanations exist?  pesticides

From here I can adjust my original question about why bees are disappearing (the result) to identify a cause and use more narrow language. 

Pesticides are causing Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybee colonies.