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HRM540 Research Skills Guide: Identify Keywords

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

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 Assessment 1 question is: Consider the topics you have been learning about thus far in this subject and discuss the relationship between at least three of them with reference to theories of conflict resolution.

Instruction words Discuss
Qualifying words & phrases theories of conflict resolution
Key concepts conflict, peace, conflict resolution

KEYWORD ACTIVITY

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.