In addition to worrying about my writing sample, I've been revamping my research statement. When I first drafted it, I was given the advice that I should keep it focused on a narrow set of problems in my AOS, so that it seems like I really have a well-developed, well-thought-out research program involving a set of closely-related problems in a way that emphasizes the fact that I am a specialist in my advertised area of specialization. That seems basically right to me.
But I know this guy who's an Averroes scholar, and he told me a story about his successful on-campus interview. It seemed to him that he got the job at the moment he stressed that he wasn't just an Averroes scholar; that he also had interests in contemporary metaphysics and applied ethics. According to him, this is when they realized that he was well-rounded and not "narrow." That makes me wonder whether I shouldn't try to use my research statement to indicate my "broadness."
Maybe there's a difference between the Averroes scholar and me. Maybe Averroes scholarship is inherently more narrow than my AOS, and indicating "broadness" in my research statement will signal a lack of seriousness, or that I'm some kind of a flighty dabbler. Or maybe the research statement should indicate narrowness, and then I can surprise them with my broadness when i get to campus. I don't know. Do you?