Instruction words tell you what you need to do in an assignment. Understanding instruction words is essential to make sure you don’t misinterpret the assignment.
Give reasons for or explain why something has occurred. This task directs you to consider contributing factors to a certain situation or event. You are expected to make a decision about why these occurred, not just describe the events.
Account for the factors that led to the global financial crisis.
Consider the different elements of a concept, statement or situation. Show the different components and show how they connect or relate. Your structure and argument should be logical and methodical.
Analyse the political, social and economic impacts of climate change.
Make a judgement on a topic or idea. Consider its reliability, truth and usefulness. In your judgement, consider both the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing arguments to determine your topic’s worth.
Assess the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for the treatment of depression.
Divide your topic into categories or sub-topics logically (could possibly be part of a more complex task).
Classify the artists studied this semester according to the artistic periods they best represent. Then choose one artist and evaluate their impact on future artists.
State your opinion on an issue or idea. You may explain the issue or idea in more detail. Be objective and support your opinion with reliable evidence.
Comment on the government’s proposal to legalise safe injecting rooms.
Compare OR Compare and contrast
Show the similarities and differences between two or more ideas, theories, systems, arguments or events. You are expected to provide a balanced response, highlighting similarities and differences.
Compare the efficiency of wind and solar power generation for a construction site.
Point out only the differences between two or more ideas, theories, systems, arguments or events.
Contrast virtue ethics and utilitarianism as models for ethical decision making.
It does not mean to criticise, instead you are required to give a balanced account, highlighting strengths and weaknesses about the topic. Reliable evidence and your interpretation of that evidence must support your overall judgment.
Critically analyse the impacts of mental health on recidivism within youth justice.
Provide a precise meaning of a concept. You may need to include the limits or scope of the concept within a given context.
Define digital disruption as it relates to productivity.
Provide a thorough description, emphasising the most important points. Use words to show appearance, function, process, events or systems. You are not required to make judgements.
Describe the pathophysiology of asthma.
Highlight the differences between two (possibly confusing) items.
Distinguish between exothermic and endothermic reactions.
Provide an analysis of a topic. Use evidence to support your argument. Be logical and include different perspectives on the topic (This requires more than a description).
Discuss how Brofenbrenner’s ecological system’s theory applies to adolescence.
Review both positive and negative aspects of a topic. You may need to provide an overall judgement regarding the value or usefulness of the topic. Evidence (referencing) must be included to support your writing.
Evaluate the impact of inclusive early childhood education programs on subsequent high school completion rates for First Nations students.
Describe and clarify the situation or topic. Depending on your discipline area and topic, this may include processes, pathways, cause and effect, impact, or outcomes.
Explain the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film industry in Australia.
Clarify a point or argument with examples and evidence.
Illustrate how society’s attitudes to disability have changed from a medical model to a wholistic model of disability.
Give evidence which supports an argument or idea; show why a decision or conclusions were made. I may use justify with other topic words, such as outline, argue.
Outline the key issues and implications of a welfare cashless debit card trial and make recommendations for improvement. Justify your decision-making process for the recommendations.
A comprehensive description of the situation or topic which provides a critical analysis of the key issues.
Provide a review of Australia's asylum policies since the Pacific Solution in 2001.
An overview or brief description of a topic. (This is likely to be part of a larger assessment task.)
Summarise the process for calculating the correct load for a plane.
See the Word and PDF documents below for downloadable versions of the list of instruction words.
Derrington, K., Bartlett, C. and Irvine, S. (2021). Writing assignments. In C. Bartlett, T. Cawthray, L. Clark, S. Conway, K. Derrington, A. Devi, A. Frederiks, L. Gunton, W. Hargreaves, D. Howarth, S. Irvine, M. Jeffers, K. Lovric, R. McGregor, E. Peters, L. Pickstone, B. Retallick, Y. Rose, A. Sahay, ... R. Tweedale (Eds.), Academic success (Australian ed., pp. 292-321). University of Southern Queensland. https://usq.pressbooks.pub/academicsuccess/ Used under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.