This document contains all text in the 5 Communication and Research Skills (cars) modules

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Topic and Scope

The topic is usually the easiest thing to spot - which makes it tempting to start the assignment without checking what the question is really asking you to do.

To avoid getting off track, look at the topic and the scope of the assignment together. This way, you can see the limits of the assignment and start planning the best way to approach it.

Together, the topic and the scope give important clues about how much you have to do, and in what depth.

Note that this question specifically asks you to review the scientific evidence on the subject (not just to write about evolution).

You can see the scope puts limits on the topic of the assignment.

Make sure you understand the scope of the project before you start researching and writing so you don’t go off track.

Looking at the three key elements of the assignment together will ensure that you answer the whole question.

So, each time you get a new assignment question, ask yourself:

  • What’s the task?

  • What’s the topic?

  • What’s the scope?

Unpacking the question first will keep you on track so when you start researching and writing you’ll know exactly what to focus on.



Test your ability to break the question down into its key parts:

DRAG the highlighted words and DROP them into the correct box.

In the Australian Mass Media, climate change is often
described as being the rise in global temperatures.
However, some would argue that climate change is not
just about global warming. Discuss, citing examples
from the last 10 years?


Task: Discuss, Citing examples

Topic: Mass media, Climate change, global warming

Scope: Australian, last 10 years


Interrogate the question

Once you have broken down the question
into its parts, the next steps are to
interrogate the question.

View the following video for a good

summary of this skill.

Video transcript

Interrogate the question

(From How to answer assignment questions)


Once you’ve unpacked the assignment question and considered the task, topic and scope, you can look at what you already know and start thinking about what you need to do to answer the question.

This is a good time to interrogate the question.

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