Understanding the task

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

At this first stage, you need to work out:

  • what the assessment is asking you to do
  • how you are going to search for answers to the question

The best place to find this information is your Subject Outline. You should carefully read all elements of the assessment information available including:

  1. the task description,
  2. the rationale, and
  3. the marking rubric.

Reading through each element will highlight key terms or concepts you are expected to demonstrate your knowledge of, and will also identify the types of information, or information sources, you are expected to use.

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

If you are confused or unsure about the assessment topic, ask your lecturer or tutor who will be happy to talk it through with you.

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 on the right for guidance
  • 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.

Lets take a look at some of the topics used across your Graduate Certificate subjects:

Topic or Key concepts Possible keywords
social determinants of health migrant, gender, rural
older people elderly, gerontological, aged
health promotion program, resource, progress, strategy
professional practice care, therapist, plan, approach
wellbeing happiness, mental health, outlook, engagement

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.

Topic analysis

What information do you need?

Across your assessment tasks you have been asked to:

  • In addition to the module readings, independently research these concepts and use this additional literature to support your discussion,
  • Use evidence from the literature to enhance critique models of intervention,
  • Justify with evidence from course materials and extensive further research, including peer reviewed materials

The next few pages will give you guidance on how to best locate these materials using both Library resources and the internet.

If you are currently studying in GER401, please head over to the subject's own Research Skills Guide for assessment specific advice.