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NRS160 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.

Assessments 1 and 2 for NRS160 asks you to locate information for the following topics:

  • History of nursing
  • Media representation of nurses and nursing
  • Development of the body of nursing knowledge.

For Assessment 2, you need to locate additional evidence for these topics and construct an essay discussing how those factors have contributed to the professional status of nursing today.

Note: Please check your subject outline for full details relating to the requirements for your assessment tasks.

For example, some qualifying words, phrases and key concepts for Assessment 1 may be:

Instruction words Locate, identify, explain
Qualifying words & phrases History, media representation
Key concepts

Nursing, nurses, media, practice, knowledge

Topic analysis

Find additional keywords

Dictionaries and encyclopaedias can help you to find additional keywords and get an overview of the concept.

In the Oxford Reference search box below, enter some of the keywords you've identified from your assessment question and note down any alternate keywords that you find. 

Alternatively you could try searching for synonyms in subject specific dictionaries.

Find your definitions by searching Oxford Reference Online

Activity 1 - Keywords/Topic Analysis

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.