A topic analysis will help you to clarify and understand what your assessment question is asking you to do. Note that if your question has an evidence based practice foundation you may like to consider a PICO analysis before undertaking the more general topic analysis.
You will generally be given three key pieces of information:
Our DOH114 example assessment question is:
With reference to embryology, and affect on development, describe the functional, macroscopic and microscopic features of cleft lip.
Please Note: the above example assessment question will be used throughout this online tutorial to demonstrate how to search for relevant information resources. You can instead use your own assessment question when trying out the activities that appear throughout this tutorial.
|Instruction words||reference; describe|
|Qualifying words & phrases||embryology; affect on development|
|Key concepts||cleft lip; functional, macroscopic and microscopic features|
Using synonyms can assist by broadening your search, thereby helping you locate appropriate and relevant information resources. You can identify alternate keywords or synonyms, like those listed below, that may be useful during your information searching process by looking in general or subject specific dictionaries.
For example, some alternate keywords for the concepts we identified above might include:
Write down the key concepts from your chosen assignment 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.
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.