Distinguishing assignment words
A critique/analysis of a book such as The Woman’s Bible by Elizabeth
A study of a major female character, such as Sarah Grimke or
Hildegard of Bingen.
An analysis of women’s leadership in the temperance movements.
An exploration of women, religion and food taboos.
• Task words provide instructions on how to approach an
assignment e.g. “exploration”, analysis, compare, discuss,
• Keywords convey the significant meaning of a topic e.g.
“temperance” “leadership” “women”, “religion,” “food
Narrowing an assignment topic
Most assignments are broad and require that you choose a
particular focus to research:
Who – is there a specific person/people/group on which to focus?
e.g. Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Canada?
Where – is there a geographical aspect to the topic?
e.g. Europe? North America? Canada? Maritimes?
When – is there a particular timeframe or period of interest?
e.g. 19th century? Early 20th century?
What – is there a specific event or set of circumstances involved?
e.g. Prohibition ? Education programs? Women’s suffrage?
How – is there a particular point of view to use?
e.g. Gender roles?
Develop your thesis statement
• A thesis statement should be the most concise
declaration of what you are trying to prove.
• Show how relevant your thesis statement is to the
topic. Keep your topic precise. Let the reader know
what you will explore and what are the limits that
you will not explore during the course of your essay.
• Your thesis statement should guide the outline of
Brainstorming for search keywords
• The keywords identified in an assignment do not
always pinpoint the specific information required.
• Keywords used in assignments may not be the ones
used by writers.
• Word variations must be considered, to find
• different endings of a
• groups and root word
personalities Leaders, leading , leadership
Woman’s Christian Temperance Use ‘*’ e.g. lead* to search all
Union, Letitia Youman endings.
• synonyms and
• word variations abstinence
Nineteen hundreds, 20th century, • antonyms
1900’s Alcoholism, drunkenness,
Use ‘?’to assist in search for decades intoxication
191? or 192? searches for 1910 -