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MHP115 Research Skills Guide: Keywords (Topic Analysis)

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.

For your MHP115 Assessment item 1, you are required to reflect on the statement below and answer the three questions:

The focus of your Health Information Circular is to be ONE of the following two substances:

  • MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine),
  • Alcohol.

In the information you provide in the Health Information Circular about the substance, you are to:

  • provide an overview of the substance, together with the trends and prevalence of its use in Australia, with a focus on Indigenous Australians;

  • discuss the physical effects that this substance has on the human body;

  • discuss how the substance can affect the mental health of a person;

  • discuss the potential social and emotional, financial and environmental outcomes of the substance on individuals, families, and communities, with a focus on Indigenous Australians;

  • discuss the range of health interventions and/or treatment for Indigenous Australian individuals and families experiencing issues with the use of the substance. Include the strategies of ‘harm minimisation’ and ‘abstinence’.

Few examples for Alcohol:

Instruction words Discuss
Key Concepts Aboriginal Australians, mental healths; Alcohol trends, social and emotional, financial and environmental 
Keywords Alcohol, indigenous, "mental health", Australia*, "harm minimisation". abstinence



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.

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.

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