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Research skills tutorial

Your guide to success!

Step 1 Example - Define your information need

Assignment topic: "Chocolate can make you happy. Discuss."

  • Main keywords are chocolate and happy
  • This question implies that it relates to humans
  • Look at definitions of happiness, joy, satisfaction and pleasure
  • Related topics may include: endorphins, serotonin, antioxidants, and the "chocoholic" syndrome
  • Look at behavioural, psychological and physiological changes after consuming chocolate
  • Chocolate may include white, milk and dark chocolate, and you could look at different brands


It doesn't matter how you display your keywords, so long as you write them down and organise them.  See the concept map, table and list below.

Concept map

You might create a concept map to group your keywords.

Mindmap about chocolate


You may prefer to create a table for each of your main keywords.  You can design the table to suit you, including words with the same meaning, related topics and keyword variations.

Table example 1

Table example 2


A list is the simplest way to organise your keywords.  Just start writing everything you currently know about the topic, and use a thesaurus to find alternative words.

 Lists of alternate keywords



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