Approaching The Question

When approaching assignments allow yourself adequate planning and preparation time. A good approach is to analyse the question, brainstorm (write down quickly) all you know about it based on your general knowledge and from lecture attendance and reading, sort through what you have written and then prepare a plan for writing the assignment.

When you read a topic or question, look for the following expressions:

Topic words:              

What are the main areas/themes you will need to consider?

Instruction words:   

 What do you have to do? For example look for words like discuss, compare, show how, analyse, critically assess, and reassure yourself you know what they are asking you to do

 Limiting words:           

Look for time, place or other limiters; for example, ‘in the 1990s’, ‘policing in the CBD’, ‘after the 1967 referendum’.


Next, brainstorm by writing points quickly on a sheet of paper. When you run out of points to note, look at what you have, consider the question, group similar points, cross out irrelevant ones, and see what directions are being suggested.

Write a preliminary plan. This plan should change and grow as you research the topic more. Make sure your answer addresses all parts of the question.