The purpose of the assessment is to discuss critically the issues and debates surrounding a topic of your choice, do not just rehash the assumed wisdom: actively summarise and analyse debates and differences of opinion. You must consult and critically analyse at least 12 sources that are not included in the course readings.
Brainstorm possible topics using the lecture content, tutorial content and any readings that have been provided. Use a mindmap, or a more linear style to set out your brainstormed ideas. See Planning your assignments using mindmaps as a guide.
Do a preliminary search on each of your brainstormed ideas to see whether there is information out there on the topic. You are making sure that there is enough information for you to research thoroughly moving from a descriptive to critical analysis of the topic. Make sure to choose an issue that is not too broad in scope.
Critical thinking is an applicable skill in university and beyond. Thinking critically involves assessing arguments using reasoning and logic, identifying biases and making decisions about the validity of premises and conclusions. In order to critically analyse texts, it is essential to pose questions about the author and the content of their work, which will enable you to make an assessment of their argument. Mason (2008, p. 5) summarises critical thinking as:
Mason, M 2008, Critical Thinking and Learning, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA.
Asking questions is essential to understanding the argument, context, and biases of a text. Start by considering:
These keywords will help you to navigate your critical analysis:
Premise: A reason for inferring a conclusion
Conclusion: The inference as supported by the premise
Logic: The study and application of validity based on relation between propositions
Argument: A proposition – statement or fact – in support of a conclusion
Fallacies: Arguments based on a mistaken assumption that are not valid or inductively forceful
Deductive argument: An argument that reaches a conclusion based on its premises
Inductive argument: An argument that is not deductively valid, but is considered likely to be true if the premises are true
Bowell, T, & Kemp, G 2014, Critical Thinking : A Concise Guide, Routledge, London.
Begin by watching this short video: Think. Plan. Discover. Why keywords matter (1 min. 30 secs)
Before you start searching identify the main concepts and keywords you will use to search for information. To answer the question:
What are the pros and cons for companies using cloud computing?
Think of similar keywords or phrases (synonyms) you could use when searching. For example:
“the cloud” OR “cloud computing” OR “digital servers” AND challenges OR benefits OR advantage OR disadvantage, then think of other association key words such as: Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive.
Once you have your keywords use the connectors AND and OR, and "quotation marks" to form search strategies to use in databases and the Library Catalogue.
Here are some examples:
"records management" OR "record keeping"
"digital records" AND management
preservation AND "records management"
Use truncation (*), wildcards (?) and "phrase searching"
work* finds working, workers, works
organi?ation finds organization and organisation
search for "records management" rather than records management
List your key words and synonyms
"Environmental control" - "steady temperature", humidity, "dust free"
"Digital books" - e-book, ebooks, "electronic books"
Limit your search to a particular date range and refine your results to select the format or type of reference you're searching for (peer-reviewed, held within the library collection, held with the Research Outputs Repository etc.)
Once you have found information for your assignments it is important to think about whether or not the information is of a good quality and useful.
For help watch or refer to:
Tip: Narrow results by Format (e.g. book/ebook, journal article), Date and a relevant Subject.
ScienceDirect search example:
Too many results? Use a date range, search within results or refine your search further using the
Refine Results menu. Need help finding the full text? See this Library guide.
The IEEEXplore database contains many full text conference proceedings and ALL conferences in IEEEXplore are peer reviewed. To find conference papers only you can either: Browse by Conference Publications or do an Advanced Search and limit your search to Content Types - Conferences.
IEEEXplore advanced search example:
Use the truncation symbol * to find the stems of words e.g secur* finds secure, security.