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GER401 Research Skills Guide: Assessment 2

What do you need to do?

For this assessment, you are asked to critically discuss a case scenario and address the following: 

  • identify the social determinants of health and current policies that may impact an older person
  • provide a rationale, using supporting literature, as to why these particular factors may be/are impacting on older people
  • provide examples of how social determinants of health can contribute barriers to choices in later life in relation to diversity of older adults, and the implications
  • consider this case from a practice perspective and discuss how the key factors identified above could impact on how you might work with this older person as a professional practitioner in your field of practice/discipline.

Where should you start?

Firstly, make sure to read your Subject Outline carefully, and read any information provided to you by your Lecturer. Ask questions if you don't understand something.

Secondly, select a case study from the Assessment 2 folder in your subject i2 site.

This assessment will require doing some wider research. You already have a bit of experience with this from Assessment 1 (Journal Entry 2), so follow a similar approach with the exercises below to make a start. Refer to the Evaluate tab in this guide to refresh your memory on how to evaluate the information you find.

Topic Analysis

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

In your assessment question, 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. 

Charles Sturt University has a list of explanations for common instruction words.

Your question is related to your chosen case study, so this becomes part of the topic analysis:

Key concepts social determinants of health (ie. socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, transport, community infrastructure etc), impacts/implications on older people, professional practice
Limits report, case study, critical discussion
Instruction words Identify, provide, consider, discuss

Case Discussion

Before you start searching for information, you need to do some further work to analyse your chosen case study and identify search terms. You might find some general information if you search for the phrase 'social determinants of health,' but you will find more relevant, specific information if you search for what is most relevant to your specific case e.g. immigrant, mental health, nutrition, rural, financial

For example, looking at the 3 case study choices, think about what keywords will find relevant information. Use synonyms and alternatives for words, as well, to broaden your search.

Concepts Scenarios Keywords
Age Older person Aged, ageing, older adult, elder, senior
Social determinants of health Immigrant, single, mental health migrant, widow, anxiety, fear
Implications isolation, low mobility loneliness, public transport
Professional practice/working with these individuals response care, plan, approach


When searching, you can combine these words and concepts to find relevant books and articles. You need to experiment with combinations to discover which key word combinations produce the best results.

You should also search for each concept as well as the more specific key words, to make sure you find both general and more specific articles. For example, make sure to search for aged care AND isolation  to find articles about how those working in aged care might address isolated aged people, as well as dementia care AND "regional Australia" to find articles specific to regional Australia.

See the Find section for search tips, and more information about tools and resources.

Topic Analysis

Wider Reading

This assignment specifically directs you to read more widely than the course readings. To find articles, try a number of different Primo or Google Scholar searches. Use the Find tab on this guide.

You can also take a look in the following Gerontology journals available in the Charles Sturt University Library catalogue: