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MKT501 - Research Skills Guide: Plan

Understanding the task

identify imageExploring and selecting from a vast amount of published information can be extremely time-consuming so it is important to know how to plan and carry out this work effectively. That doesn't mean getting into Google the night before a task is due!

It is important to start early and break down the requirements of your assessment task before you start searching for information so that you can plan your approach.

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
  • the information resources you will need for your answer.

The best place to find this information is your Subject Outline. You should carefully read all elements of the assessment information available including:

  1. the task description,
  2. the rationale, and
  3. the marking rubric.

Reading through each element will highlight key terms or concepts you are expected to demonstrate your knowledge of, and will also identify the types of information, or information sources, you are expected to use.

At first you may feel a little overwhelmed by all of the requirements. However, with some thought and planning, you can come up with a research plan that will suit your assessment tasks.

If you are confused or unsure about the assessment topic, ask your lecturer or tutor who will be happy to talk it through with you.

Finding keywords or search terms

Start thinking about what terms you will use when searching for information. To do this:

  • Identify the key concepts of your topic (watch the topic analysis video for assistance); and then
  • Brainstorm as many synonyms and similar terms/phrases as you can.

This is a useful exercise because the language used to describe your topic may vary from source to source, and you don't want to miss out on a good source because it uses a different term to the one you are searching on.

Let's use Assessment 3 as an example. As part of your evaluation and recommendations you need to "illustrate how contemporary issues may impact on your organisation and its marketing strategy"

potential issues possible keywords
Corporate social responsibility corporate sustainability, sustainable business, corporate conscience, corporate citizenship, responsible business, business ethics...
social media challenges Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, online communication, influencers, comments, fake news, algorithm, trolling, authentic connections...

Don't forget to also try spelling variations e.g. globalisation vs globalization

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.

What information do you need?

From your subject outline, in your assessment tasks you are expected to:

  • Find relevant and important information from secondary sources
  • Use an extensive range of relevant and valid academic and industry sources

You will need to find information about your consumers or product audience, your chosen organisation and the industry they are part of, as well as academic resources to support your discussion and justification of your marketing strategy.


Over the next few pages you will find guidance to assist you in locating academic quality resources and tips on how to evaluate information.


Topic analysis

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