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When you teacher gives you an assignment to do It is hugely important that you fully understand what you are being asked to do. If you are uncertain about any part of the assignment discuss it with your teacher or fellow classmates. Listen out for any hints or tips that might help you and keep a note of any ideas or sources of information you use. If you are working on a project as part of a group make sure all members of the group are clear about what they have to do and have regular updates to ensure nobody is going off course.
What is the topic/subject of your assignment?
- Do you have the freedom to select a topic of your choice?
- Do you have to make an argument ( maybe for debating )?
- Is it a general topic that you may have to broaden out or narrow down?
You may be finding either too much or not enough information on your research topic. If you are finding too much information, try narrowing down your topic. Consider using specifics such as a period of time, location, a group of people, or a particular aspect of your topic.
If you are finding too little information, your topic may be too specific and you may have to broaden your research. You may have to look at a wider area or time period or try using different databases. Your topic may be very current and does not have a lot written about it yet; you might have to reconsider the specifics of your research topic if this is the case.
- Is there more than one part to the question?
What format will I use?
Decide on what format you are going to use or maybe your teacher has a specific format in mind.
- A written report
- A presentation
- A group project
- Something else
What information do I need for my assignment?
- What command words or phrases should I use when searching for information? (You can take a look at some examples of some command words further on in information seeking).
It's important to remember some words have the same meaning, try doing searches using different names for things and see how the results can differ.
Synonyms can provide you with variety in speech or writing. There are endless examples of synonyms, making it easy for you to avoid overusing the same word and sounding repetitive. Some examples of synonyms include the following:
- Amazing, astounding, surprising, stunning
- Annihilation, destruction, carnage, extinction
- Benefit, profit, revenue, yield
- Brave, courageous, valiant, heroic
- Center, middle, inside, midpoint
- Cunning, keen, sharp, slick
- Destitute, poor, bankrupt, impoverished
- Deterioration, pollution, defilement, adulteration
- Enormous, huge, gigantic, massive
- Evil, bad, wicked, vile, malicious
- Fertile, fruitful, abundant, productive
- House, dwelling, abode, domicile
- Hungry, ravenous, empty
- Injured, damaged, wounded, harmed
- Intelligent, clever, brilliant, knowledgeable
- Look, glance, see, gaze, stare
- Loyal, faithful, ardent, devoted
- Old, elderly, aged, senior
- Organization, institution, management
- Partner, associate, colleague, companion
- Polite, courteous, cordial, gracious
- Quick, fast, swift, speedy, rapid
- Risky, dangerous, perilous, treacherous
- Sleepy, drowsy, listless, sluggish
- True, correct, right, accurate, exact
- Under, below, beneath, lower
- Vacant, empty, deserted, uninhabited
- Woman, lady, female, girl
- Wet, damp, moist, soaked, soggy
Homonyms are words that have the same spelling and pronunciation but have different meanings. The following are examples of homonyms:
- Address - manner of speaking to another / Address - description of a property location
- Arm – body part / Arm – division of a company
- Bat – an implement used to hit a ball / Bat – a nocturnal flying mammal
- Bear - an animal / Bear - to tolerate something
- Book - to reserve a hotel room or a table at a restaurant / Book – pages of writing bound together with a cover
- Bright – very smart or intelligent / Bright – filled with light
- Cave - to give in or surrender / Cave – a hole or gap in a rock or in earth
- Chair - an item of furniture / Chair – the distinguished head of a department
- Change - to replace the clothing you are wearing with another outfit / Change – money given back after a purchase
- Cool - chilly in temperature / Cool – someone trendy or popular
- Crane - a large type of bird / Crane – a mechanical device used for lifting
- Deck - a pack of playing cards / Deck - to punch someone and knock them out
- Dive – to go down quickly / Dive – an unpleasant place
- Duck - a type of bird / Duck – to lower your head or body in order to avoid being hit by something
- Employ - to put into use / Employ – to hire someone for a job
- Even - without any variation / Even – flat and level surface
- Express – something done fast / Express – to show your thoughts by using words
- File - to store computer data / File – to make a formal request
- Fine – being of high quality / Fine – sum of money used as a penalty
- Fire - to terminate someone from a job / Fire – a blaze
- Grave – something very serious / Grave – a place to bury the dead
- Groom - to make tidy in appearance / Groom – the man who is about to get married
- Gross - disgusting / Gross – large
- Hide – to keep something secret / Hide – the skin of an animal
- Iron – to press or smooth / Iron – silvery-gray metal
- Jam – pack tightly / Jam – spread made from fruit and sugar
- Key - scale of musical notes / Key – device used to lock or unlock a door
- Left - side of the body / Left – what is remaining of something
- Light - to set fire / Light – pale in color
- Line – a continuous
- length / Line – verse in a poem or story
- Man - male person / Man – to brace or fortify
- Match - competitive sporting event / Match – a device used to start a fire
- Nail - the end plate of your finger or toe / Nail – spike shaped metal fastener
- Park - area used for recreation / Park – to bring a vehicle to a halt
- Pen – an instrument for writing / Pen - type of enclosure for animals
- Ring – a band on a finger / Ring – something circular in shape
- Right – correct / Right – direction opposite of left
- Rock – a genre of music / Rock – a stone
- Seal - a type of mammal / Seal – a tight closure
- Show - to display / Show – a type of broadcast
- Sign - omen / Sign – to write your signature on something to make it official
- Stalk – a part of a plant / Stalk – to follow or harass someone
- Tank - military vehicle / Tank- container used to store liquid
- Tire - rubber covering of a wheel / Tire – to become bored with or in need of rest
- Trip - to stumble / Trip - journey
- Wave - move your hand sideways to say hello / Wave – a movement in water
- Watch - wearable timepiece / Watch – to observe
- Well- in good health / Well – a source for water in the ground
- Yard – space around a house / Yard – measurement of length
- What kind of information do I need for my search? ( do i need to search for current up to date information? eg. latest news events, or do I have to look for more historical information? eg. WWI poetry).
- Do I have to cite the resources I use?
What is a creditable source?
Understanding your assignment: The three C's
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