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ITC506 Research Skills Guide: Choose an ethical issue

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 ITC506 Assessment item 3 has 2 related tasks that require you to:

  • Choose one of the media articles or case studies listed in your Subject Outline.
  • Undertake further research about your chosen case and the ethical issue involved, to assist you in your argument visualisation (and in your report in task 2).
  • Identify some logical arguments based on your analysis of the ethical issue and the application of the four classical ethical theories including utilitarianism, deontology, contract, and virtue.
  • Construct an argument visualisation using MindMup software. Your argument visualisation should present a logical argument for your subsequent essay in the second task. Your report will develop these arguments based on a deeper analysis of the ethical issues.

The article we have chosen focuses on electronic surveillance of employees. For the example below we have chosen to use utilitarianism to analyse our chosen article.

Instruction words choose; analyse; undertake; identify; construct
Qualifying words & phrases utilitarianism; deontology; contract; virtue
Key concepts utilitarian theory, utilitarianism, electronic surveillance of employees; ICT professionalism


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.

In the Oxford Reference search box below, enter some of the keywords you've identified from your assessment question and note down any alternate keywords that you find.

Find your definitions by searching Oxford Reference Online

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.