Unpacking the Question
Unpack the Question in 3 steps CONTENT What do I need to write about? TASK What do I need to do in the essay?  SCOPE What ...
Content <ul><li>Content  is drawn from  key words and phrases . You will be familiar with these as the main terms and idea...
Content Qn: “Without the  mass media ,  global terrorism  would be  impossible .” Discuss. This is a specific term that th...
Task Task words  indicate what you need to  DO  to answer the question accurately.  Here are some common  task words  in A...
Task Qn: “Without the mass media, global terrorism would be impossible.” Discuss. What are the  task words  in our Communi...
Task Qn: “Without the mass media, global terrorism would be impossible.”  Discuss . This means you will need to demonstrat...
Scope <ul><li>After you have identified  what you must write about  and  what you must do , you need to know  how much  yo...
Scope Qn: “ Without the  mass media, global terrorism  would be  impossible.”  Discuss . ‘ Without’ limits a discussion of...
Missed anything? <ul><li>Read over the whole question, including your unpacking. Has anything been missed? </li></ul>Qn: “...
Are you sure?
<ul><li>What about the quotation marks? </li></ul>
Qn:  “ Without the   mass media ,  global terrorism   would be   impossible . ”   Discuss . Scope can be tricky… If your q...
What next? Before you start reading and researching, you need to do one more thing… Identify your questions, and the types...
<ul><li>Using STUDY Smarter  Resources </li></ul><ul><li>This resource was developed by the STUDY Smarter  team at UWA for...
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Unpacking The Question

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Want to know how to 'unpack' your essay question, so that you know exactly what is included in the task (and what isn't)?

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Unpacking The Question

  1. 1. Unpacking the Question
  2. 2. Unpack the Question in 3 steps CONTENT What do I need to write about? TASK What do I need to do in the essay? SCOPE What are the limits of the task?
  3. 3. Content <ul><li>Content is drawn from key words and phrases . You will be familiar with these as the main terms and ideas raised in lectures and tutorials. </li></ul>Look for the content words in a 2009 Communications Studies exam essay question. Qn: “Without the mass media, global terrorism would be impossible.” Discuss. Even if you haven’t studied Communications, it is possible to work out which words are key in that unit. Which ones would you pick?
  4. 4. Content Qn: “Without the mass media , global terrorism would be impossible .” Discuss. This is a specific term that the question asks you to deal with in your answer. You would need to think about how it has been used in your lectures and readings. This is a specific term that the question asks you to deal with in your answer. You would need to think about how it has been used in your lectures and readings. Did you select this one? It is a key word in the context of this question as it describes the relationship between the other keywords.
  5. 5. Task Task words indicate what you need to DO to answer the question accurately. Here are some common task words in Arts: Give a reasoned account showing good and bad points. Include the outcomes of your reasoning. Evaluate Provide a critical account exploring all sides of the debate. In an essay, also indicate your position. Discuss Give a complete and accurate account. Clearly identify the most important aspects. Describe Take a position on the basis of your analysis; explore all sides of an issue deeply and thoroughly. Critically evaluate Make a case; use appropriate evidence for and against a position. Ensure you take a position. Argue Give reasons for; explain why something happens Account for
  6. 6. Task Qn: “Without the mass media, global terrorism would be impossible.” Discuss. What are the task words in our Communications essay question?
  7. 7. Task Qn: “Without the mass media, global terrorism would be impossible.” Discuss . This means you will need to demonstrate your broad and in depth knowledge of the key terms AND establish your position. Psst! This is the most common task word in Arts. Don’t just describe the topic! Go ahead and take a position. Provide a critical account exploring all sides of the debate. In an essay, also indicate your position. Discuss
  8. 8. Scope <ul><li>After you have identified what you must write about and what you must do , you need to know how much you need to explore each aspect of the task. Just look for the limiting words that indicate the scope of your essay. </li></ul>Qn: “Without the mass media, global terrorism would be impossible.” Discuss . Is there a word or phrase here that tells us what to focus on?
  9. 9. Scope Qn: “ Without the mass media, global terrorism would be impossible.” Discuss . ‘ Without’ limits a discussion of global terrorism to the mass media. ‘ the’ limits mass media to a specific example or type (Australian? Western? Commercial?) ‘ would be’ suggests causation and hypothesis. You need to work out if you agree.
  10. 10. Missed anything? <ul><li>Read over the whole question, including your unpacking. Has anything been missed? </li></ul>Qn: “ Without the mass media , global terrorism would be impossible .” Discuss .
  11. 11. Are you sure?
  12. 12. <ul><li>What about the quotation marks? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Qn: “ Without the mass media , global terrorism would be impossible . ” Discuss . Scope can be tricky… If your question asks you to discuss a QUOTE, you need to unpack each aspect of the quote AND discuss its merits as a whole idea. For example: Maybe you disagree with the quote but strongly argue that mass media defines and constructs global terrorism…
  14. 14. What next? Before you start reading and researching, you need to do one more thing… Identify your questions, and the types of answers you need. This way you will know where to start reading, and when to stop ! Go ahead and view the ‘Prepare for research’ presentation now!
  15. 15. <ul><li>Using STUDY Smarter Resources </li></ul><ul><li>This resource was developed by the STUDY Smarter team at UWA for students enrolled at UWA. We are happy for our resources to be used but we would ask that you: </li></ul><ul><li>Do not amend them </li></ul><ul><li>Do not remove the STUDY Smarter or UWA logos </li></ul><ul><li>Give credit/reference to the STUDY Smarter team where necessary </li></ul>
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