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BIO323 Research Skills Guide: Plan

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Your Assessment Task

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

BIO232 - Let's take a look at the subject outline - assessment 3 (River project):

You will investigate relationships between macroinvertebrate composition, density and diversity and current speed and other environmental variables in a reach of a typical lowland river, through field sampling, processing samples and identifying animals in the laboratory, analysing the data in sophisticated ways, and writing up a scientific report.

 

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

Topic Analysis

Let's 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 this topic as an example:

BIO323 - Relationship between macroinvertebrate composition, density and diversity and current speed and other environmental variables in a reach of a typical lowland river. 

Keyword Synonym / Similar term or phrase
macroinvertebrate microinvertebrate OR vertebrate OR invertebrate OR "freshwater invertebrate" OR macroinvertebrate diversity
environment* (variables) habitat*, aquatic ecosystem, water quality, flow, discharge
"lowland river" "lowland stream" OR river* OR freshwater
composition community composition, density, season* variation OR temporal variation, sediment*, "current speed"

Topic Analysis

Find additional keywords

Tip: Online dictionaries and thesauri can help you identify synonyms. 

KEYWORD ACTIVITY

Write down the key concepts from your topic and have a go at brainstorming as many alternative keywords and Phrases as possible.

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.