Get the bigger picture

  • Do you know the learning outcomes of your course?
  • Check your course profile in myGriffith to find out what they are and how they relate to your assignment.
  • How does the assignment fit in with the learning outcomes and aims for the course?

Understanding the connection helps you find the focus of the assignment.

Before searching the literature

Check the details in the course profile in myGriffith to identify the assignment's:

  • due date
  • weighting—how much is it worth?
  • length—what is the word count?
  • required format.

Check the marking criteria to see how many marks each section is worth and how your work will be assessed. If you understand the marking criteria, you can write an assignment that ticks all the boxes for your course.

You will be asked to submit different assignment types, such as essays, literature reviews, reports or oral presentations. Understand the format and what should be included.

Look at your question to identify what words to use when researching for your assignment. These words can be used to create your search statement.

Directive words

Words such as examine, analyse or compare tell you how to approach the assignment. If you’re not sure what the directive word is asking you to do, look it up in a dictionary or consult this handy Definition of Directive Words from California Polytechnic State University.

Topic words

Identify the major concepts in your task. These come in handy when you are looking for resources and help you stay focused on your topic.

Limiting words

These words help narrow the scope of your assignment. They set boundaries for you and are often dates, locations or populations.

Once you understand what you are being asked to do, break down the task into questions. This helps you focus your research and writing and develop a logical response to the topic.

  • What questions need to be answered to address the assignment task?
  • Is there a primary question and a number of secondary questions that need to be addressed?

Your overall argument should answer the primary question. The secondary questions could be descriptive or analytical. A descriptive question asks for background information or context to the primary question. Whereas, an analytical question prompts you to dig deeper into the assignment topic.

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