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Analyse your topic

Identify the main topic

1. Look at your assignment question or topic.

2. Identify the keywords (two or three words, main topic)

3. Find the definition for words you don't understand

Sometimes the keywords don't appear in the question itself
so you need to find words that describe your topic.

For example, if your assignment topic is about Success at University,
you may search for academic achievement


Identify limits

1. Limits help you know where to start and stop your research

2. Limits may be:

  • time period (e.g. last two years)
  • location (e.g. Australia or Queensland)
  • type of information (e.g. journal articles or statistics)
  • quality or standard of information (e.g. scholarly or peer-reviewed)
  • word limit for finished assignment (e.g. a 500 words essay may require fewer sources than a 10,000 word essay)


Brainstorm additional keywords

1. Use a dictionary to find definitions

2. Use a thesaurus to find other words that mean the same thing
(authors use different words to describe the same thing)

3. Make note of different spelling
(e.g. organise and organize)

4. Make note of alternative endings of keywords
(e.g. Australia, Australian)

5. Make note of phrases related to your topic
(e.g. "interpersonal communication")

6. Find the broader topic
(e.g. paramedics < emergency medicine < health services)

7. Find the narrower topic
(e.g. communication > written communication > email)

8. Find related topics
(e.g. paramedics and nurses both communicate in a similar way)


Related Guides:

Analyse your topic

All about keywords

Learn about extrapolation

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