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CHM321 Research Skills Guide: Getting Started

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. Charles Sturt University has a list of explanations for common instruction words.

Brainstorming keywords


Once you have identified the key concepts of your topic it is often useful to find alternative keywords. 

This is because the words used in different resources might vary and you don't want to miss out on a good article because it uses a different term.

Keyword Synonyms/Similar Terms
Chemistry laboratory chem lab., academic laboratory
lab accidents workplace incidents, chemical hazards
laboratory safety workplace health and safety, chemical safety

Online dictionaries and thesauri can help you identify synonyms. You can find them in Oxford Reference online

Topic Analysis