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JST204 Research Skills Guide: Plan

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.

Assessment 4 requires you to:

Write a 1,500 word essay on the following question:

Critically examine work with juvenile/young offenders based on ONE of the following juvenile justice sanctions:

  • Detention;
  • Community Corrections;
  • Diversion.

Let's first undergo a Topic Analysis, then we'll look at some Search Strategies to help find the information you need.

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 start with your assessment task where you have been asked to analyse juvenile interventions:

Keyword Synonym / Similar term or phrase
juvenile youth, teen, teenager, adolescent, young person

For some topics standard terminology is widely used across the industry. In these instances brainstorming for additional keywords is not necessary. Your topics of detention, community corrections, and diversion, all make use of standard terminology.

Combining the standard terminology with your brainstormed keywords will allow you to search for a broader set of results. Tips on combining your search terms can be found on the next page.

KEYWORD ACTIVITY

To successfully complete this assessment task you also need to consider the objectives, limitations and strengths of your chosen juvenile justice sanction.

Once you have identified keywords for each of these have a go at brainstorming additional terms you can use to search with.

Topic analysis

Find additional keywords

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