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How to start your assignment - the steps
Develop your topic
The first step is to make sure you understand the topic and scope your research before developing a specific research question. Your research question can be a statement, a claim or a hypothesis.
- Gather background information
Use relevant reference materials (e.g., encyclopedias and dictionaries) to find definitions and background information to understand the context.
- Refine your topic
Refine your research topic by choosing one perspective. You often need to narrow down a general topic. You may also need to broaden the topic. To test whether the scope of your topic is suitable or practical for your assignment you need to do some test search in our library resources. Depending on the search results you may need to refine your topic further.
Gather information for your assignment
- Identify key words and form search strings
Capature key concepts and key words from your research question. You may want to brainstorm any alternative words, related words and variation of the words. You are then able to form your search strings by using key words, Boolean operators (and, or, not), phrase search, truncation or wildcard.
Identify and choose resources available. You are able to search books in the library catalogue, search articles across multiple databases, search specific databases, search e-Journals, or search information free on public websites.
- Evaluate your information
The quality of your information determines the quality of your assignment. Think carefully and critically about the information you find. Ask yourself some questions on the authority, objectivity, currency, and accuracy of the information to help you judge the quality of the information and determine whether to use.
- Cite your information
Cite all the sources of information you use in your assignments. Always check your professors for their preferred citation style and requirements.
Write your assignment
It is time for your to put all the information together and write your assignment.
Plan your assignement early and don't leave it to the last minute.