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Deconstructing a question

Deconstructing the question is the first step in answering an assignment or essay question. The method described below can be used for assignments, essays, short-answer questions and multi-choice questions (MCQs).

Identify task, topic and limit words to focus on what you have to do to answer the question:

  • Task words are instruction words e.g. describe or explain how
  • Topic words are keywords/phrases/concepts from the question e.g. relationship marketing
  • Limit words define the scope or limit of the question e.g. Choose one approach to…

Click on the hotspots to identify the keywords in this question:

Further resources

Check out this list of task words and how to use them in your writing.