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IKC101 Library 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 IKC101 question is:

You are required to select two events from the Australian History Timeline. One event must be pre-1967 and the other post-1967. This will enable you to investigate the evolution of approaches to Australian policy for Indigenous Australian peoples, the way in which Indigenous Australians are positioned to rationalise approaches, and the assumed relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians as a consequence.

You are required to describe and analyse each policy/event in relation to:

  • Goals of each policy or event.
  • How Indigenous Australians are positioned (e.g., do they have a role in decision-making, are their views represented, are they constructed as a 'problem to be resolved')
  • The relationship between Indigenous Australians and wider Australian society (e.g., is there a social or cultural norm evident? Are Indigenous Australians constructed as 'different' to or divergent from the norm?); including a reflection of the influence of these policies and events on your own cultural competence.
  • What are the similarities and differences evident in the goals, positioning of Indigenous Australians, and the implied relationship between Indigenous Australians and wider Australian society?

For further information about the assessment please refer to your subject outline and your Rubric.


Instruction words describe, analyse, investigate
Qualifying words & phrases Australian history, pre-1967, post-1967
Key concepts Indigenous, Aboriginal, Protection ACT, Mabo, land rights


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.

Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.

Charles Sturt University is an Australian University, TEQSA Provider Identification: PRV12018. CRICOS Provider: 00005F.