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:
Let's use one of the ISL181 topics as an example:
Identify and discuss one (or more) social reform(s) introduced by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the Medina period.
If we break this question down into parts, we can identify the specific components:
[Your selected social reforms]
Before you start searching, you should analyse your topic a little further to identify search terms.
It's important to brainstorm all possible aspects of the topic, to find key words and phrases to use in Primo or journal databases. You also need to think about synonyms and alternatives for words, as well, to broaden your search. For example:
Muhammad, Muhammad ibn Abdullah
The Prophet Muhammad, Prophet of Islam, the Prophet and other titles
Variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, Mahamad, Muhamad, and many others.
Reform, reforms, reformer
Community reform, moral reform, religious and social framework
Social security, women's rights, religious freedom, etc.
You may not actually need to use all of these while searching in Primo, but it's a valuable exercise to help you to think about the scope and nature of your topic.
While searching, you should try different combinations of several different keywords, and use the filters to narrow down your results. You'll need to experiment with which combinations produce the best results.
See the Search Strategies page for search tips and tools.
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.
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.
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