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FIN516 Research Skills Guide: Keywords (Topic Analysis)

Topic Analysis

A topic analysis will help you to clarify and understand what your assessment question is asking you to do.

You will generally be given three key pieces of information:

  1. The key topic or concept words direct you in what to research.
  2. The 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.CSU has a list of explanations for common instruction words.

Your FIN516 assessment item 2, Question 1 is:

The CEO of Company A is considering entering into an agreement to have the company buy another company (Company B). An analyst has suggested that the price might be too high, but the CEO of Company A will remain the CEO of the larger combined company. The new company will generate much larger income, the CEO compensation and prestige will also increase. Discuss the nature of agency conflict here, and evaluate how it relates to ethical consideration. (Maximum 1000 words)    

Instruction words Research, evaluate, discuss
Qualifying words & phrases company agreements/mergers/sales/buyout/acquired
Key concepts agency conflict, ethics


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.

Topic analysis

Find additional keywords

Dictionaries and encyclopaedias can help you to find additional keywords and get an overview of the concept.

Oxford Reference Online is a huge repository of subject-specific dictionaries, encyclopaedias, and other reference-type material.