Published on March 6, 2014
ANALYSING ASSIGNMENT QUESTIONS • Centre for Teaching and Learning Services • Analysing questions • Building a paragraph framework
Centre for Teaching and Learning Services Open Mon – Fri 8.30 – 17.00 Library – Level 3 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (09) 441 8143 Online resources http://owll.massey.ac.nz Videos, APA tool, Examples http://tinyurl.com/6xy9hy Academic English Podcast
3 crucial questions to ask about any assignment What is it about? Topic What do I include? Focus What do I have to do? Task
These questions are your weapons as you _ fight the question in your
Example question analysis Choose ONE environmental issue and examine what the national government of ONE country is doing to improve the situation. Evaluate the extent to which the government has been successful and justify your argument with evidence and examples. Topic One environmental issue Focus What ONE national government is doing to improve the situation Task Evaluate (success) & Justify (your argument)
Use the TOPIC as the key search term in your research AND use it throughout the essay itself to make sure you are answering the question Opening sentences from an introduction paragraph (introducing the topic, putting it into context and showing why it’s important) Globalisation has led to the accidental or deliberate introduction of species into ecologies where they had previously been absent. These invasive species can cause not only ecological damage (for instance, in forcing native plants into extinction), but economic hardship (by damaging agricultural production and the tourism industry). In the US alone, it has been estimated that invasive species caused nearly $100bn in economic damage between 1906 and 1991 (Cook, Thomas, Cunningham, Anderson & De Barro, 2007). Countries like New Zealand, whose ecology has been isolated for millions of years, are especially vulnerable to invasive species.
Use the FOCUS as a secondary search term in your research, to choose relevant examples AND use the TASK words to help you structure the essay into different parts. Preview sentence from an introduction paragraph The New Zealand Government aims to reduce the damage caused by invasive species in three ways: Biosecurity, control and elimination. This essay evaluates the success of each approach in relation to three different invasive species.
Common Task Words Identify Give a clear definition and explanation of an issue or concept Investigate / Examine Present relevant facts and figures about the causes and effects of something Consider Present evidence for and against a proposal Discuss First, define a topic or concept and refer to a range of opinions on it, giving the evidence or arguments for each opinion. Evaluate Identify the purpose(s) of X, describe the actual outcome and describe how far X achieved its purpose(s)
Question analysis practice Many New Zealand schools promote themselves as having inclusive classrooms, in which students who are gifted may be seated alongside students with other special educational needs. Investigate what inclusive education entails. Examine how inclusive education is approached in New Zealand educational institutions. Evaluate and comment on whether inclusive classrooms are effective. Topic Inclusive education Focus Task NZ educational institutions Investigate (IE); Examine (IE in NZ); Evaluate & Comment on (Effectiveness of IE)
Television, movies and the internet, all considered entertainment, have all been infiltrated by unprecedented levels of violence. While some consider violence entertaining, others believe violence to be detrimental. Investigate the effects on people of being exposed regularly to media violence. How can the public be educated to understand the negative influences of regular exposure to violence? Topic Focus Media Violence Task Investigate (effects) Discuss (methods of education about negative effects) Effects / Education
Organic food is becoming more and more popular. Not only are organic products capturing an increasing market share, the “organic” label is being recognised by food industry companies as an extremely valuable marketing tool. Is organic food really healthier and more nutritious than corresponding nonorganic food? Specify several ways you would expect organic food to be superior to other food. Choose two different organic food products and analyse them according to which factors make them more superior to their non-organic counterparts. Are they really healthier? Use evidence to support your analysis. Topic organic food Focus superiority / 2 different products Task Specify (several ways OF is superior) Analyse (2 different OF products) Compare (to non-organic products)
The number of indigenous people throughout the world is estimated to be 370 million. Often these groups have had land taken from them by force in the past and today are living in relative poverty. In recent decades, however, some countries have taken steps to remedy past injustices to their indigenous people. Investigate the historical foundations of one indigenous group and how they became marginalised over time. Identify the injustices they have endured and their impacts. Outline strategies/ actions governments are using to remedy these past inequalities. Topic Focus Injustices to Indigenous people Task Investigate (history) Identify (injustices + impacts) Outline (Govt remedies) One IP; history, marginalisation, injustices, impacts, remedies
Building a paragraph framework First … Use your question analysis to identify the different parts you’ll need in your essay …. for example, different ways NZ has tried to deal with the problem of invasive species Approach 1 (biosecurity): What is it? How successful has it been Approach 2 (control): What is it? How successful has it been Approach 3 (elimination): What is it? How successful has it been
Then … Decide how many paragraphs to use for each part and add on your intro and conclusion You’ll have to choose between writing 3 body paragraphs (one long paragraph for each part of the question) … … or writing 6 body paragraphs (breaking down each part into two paragraphs) Discuss this with your tutors
Key Points •Analyse the question: topic, focus, task •Divide the question into parts and use 1, 2 or 3 paragraphs for each part • Use each paragraph to focus on one part of the question • Come along to our Weds workshops and use our online resources
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