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EMT302 Research Skills Guide: Identify

Identifying what you need

Planning an effective search strategy can save you time and retrieve more relevant results

At this first stage, you need to work out:

  • what the assessment is asking you to do
  • how you are going to search for answers to the question

If you are confused or unsure about the assessment topic, ask your lecturer or tutor who will be happy to talk it through with you.

Topic Analysis Example

Your assessment question will generally give you three key pieces of information:

1. The key topic or concept words that direct your research.
2. ‚ÄčThe limits or qualifiers tell you the specific focus of the topic or concept.
3. The task or instruction terms tell how you are to deal with the content. Charles Sturt University has a list of explanations for common instruction words.

You have a better chance of finding information and answering your assignment question if you have a clear idea of the concept of your assignment.


For example, your EMT302 assessment item 1 asks you to ....

"Investigate a topic or question regarding the use of technology in education."

To do this, you will need to:

  • Choose a question or topic
  • Conduct some research on your chosen topic to locate supportive, current and scholarly resources
  • Plan a virtual presentation to share this research with your peers.

You are provided with a list of topics in your Interact2 site but the following example is based on the broader topic.

Key Concepts:

education, technology 

Qualifying Terms:

different approaches; in a teaching and learning environment, current research

Instruction Words:

investigate, describe, evaluate, explain

Topic analysis


Write down the key concepts from your topic and have a go at brainstorming as many alternative keywords and phrases as possible.

Thinking about your topic in this way forces you to describe your topic in "other words", which will provide you with some useful keyword alternatives as well as help you to cement your understanding of the topic.

Using an online thesaurus, such as the Macquarie Dictionary/Thesaurus, can help you find alternative search terms.

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