Skip to Main Content

PHC200 Research Skills Guide: Keywords (topic analysis)

Topic analysis

It's important to break down the requirements of your assessment task before you start searching for information, as this helps you plan your approach. Note the instructions in your task relating to the sources of information or evidence you are required to use.

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.

Let's take a look at your task:

In PHC200 you are asked to identify and discuss three specific social determinants of health in a specific geographic area and then consider, for example, the intersectionality of these social determinants in creating disadvantage. 

Use evidence to support your practice

This task can be broken down as below:

Instruction words Identify, discuss
Qualifying words & phrases Specific geographic area (postcode, region or town), three specific social determinants, creating disadvantage, intersectionality
Key concepts Social determinants of health


Please note: this is a significantly condensed version of your assessment task, please refer to your subject outline for the full details of your task including rationale and marking criteria.

Keyword activity


Using synonyms can broaden your search results and locate more relevant resources. Some alternate keywords for the concepts we identified earlier might include:

Concept Synonyms
Social determinants of health Disadvantage, Health inequalities, Healthcare disparities

Keyword Activity

Have a go at brainstorming as many alternative keywords and phrases as possible. Thinking about your topic in this way helps you to describe your topic in "other words", which will provide you with some useful keyword alternatives as well as cementing 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.Acknowledgement of Country

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