It is essential that you study the list below to ensure that you understand the terminology used in assignment and examination questions. The successful outcome of your assessment is significantly determined by the extent to which you have addressed the specific terminology in relation to the subject matter under examination.
Please ensure that you read your assignment question carefully and that you address all the descriptor words. Descriptor words are words that indicate what task is required of you, such as analyse, list, explain, describe, etc. Also ensure that you address the content words.
Content words refer to the action that is required.
For example, if the assignment question requires you to list and explain the project management cycle, ensure that you address BOTH descriptor words of listing and explaining. Ask yourself - "What am I required to list and explain?" to ensure that you are addressing the required content words. You will lose precious marks if you only list or only explain. List and explanation of the descriptor words
Analyse: Describe the different parts of the subject and explain how they work together, if they do work together. Give arguments for and against both cases.
Compare: Describe the most important similarities between two or more matters.
Define: Write a brief paragraph to explain the meaning of a topic. If there is more than one topic to define, explain any similarities or differences.
Describe: Give a detailed report on the subject.
Discuss: Write about the different opinions on the subject which you found in your research. Discuss arguments for and against certain opinions and come to a conclusion.
Evaluate: Give your opinion about the value of the subject and substantiate it.
Expand on: Write about a statement or a quotation which is part of the question. Explain the statement or quotation in more detail and state your opinion of it.
Explain: Write down in detail; make clearer; examine reasons and causes.
Illustrate: Use a figure or a diagram to make the meaning clearer.