You need a clear understanding of what the instructor wants before starting on any assignment of project. Then you will want to translate assignment terms and requirements into useful clues as to what your instructor expects. When you are not sure, remember to ask the instructor.
The first step is to read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it.
Interpreting the Assignment
Ask yourself a few basic questions as you read and jot down the answers on the assignment sheet:
- What is the task you need to do in this assignment?
- Why did your instructor ask you to do this particular task?
- Who is your audience?
- What kind of evidence do you need to support your ideas?
- What kind of writing style is acceptable?
- What kind of referencing style must be used?
- What guidelines must you follow?
Terms that might be used to determine the task
- Identification Terms: cite, define, enumerate, give, identify, indicate, list, mention, name, state.
- Description Terms: describe, discuss, review, summarize, diagram, illustrate, sketch, develop, outline, trace.
- Relation Terms: analyze, compare, contrast, differentiate, distinguish, relate.
- Demonstration Terms: demonstrate, explain why, justify, prove, show, support.
- Evaluation Terms: assess, comment, criticize, evaluate, interpret, propose.
Begin with Background Content
Most assignment will be related to the materials you have studied in the course up to the point of the assignment. As you read the assignment or project requirements, start by identifying which theories, formulas, and graphics relate. Consider what research you will need to do to complete the project.