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Library 101: A user's guide: Assignments

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Find books, journal articles and other resources in your area of study under your Subject tab.


Written assignments and reports are one way your lecturers and tutors assess your knowledge and capabilities according to a set of criteria. There are a variety of ways you can be assessed depending on the tasks and its purpose. The following four factors are influential to your results:

  • Content – What you have written or created. Use the assignment criteria and respond to the topic.
  • Academic language – Your writing should be formal, concise and clear.
  • Referencing – Use the style recommended by your lecturer or tutor. Be accurate.
  • Layout and appearance – Reflects your professionalism and dedication. Follow any formatting guidelines provided by your lecturer or tutor.

Writing helpsheets (PDF) provides clear recommendations and suggestions for all aspects of assignment writing, as well as, examples of referencing. 


The following playlist of videos will take you step-by-step through the process of unpacking your assignment question and how to make the most of the time you spend searching.

Part 1 – Keywords                           Part 2 – Boolean searching                           Part 3 – Catalogue searching

Part 4 – Quick search                      Part 5 – Subject guides                                  Part 6 – Help  

Academic Writing

Academic writing is the style of writing that investigates the state of an issue and presents your position based on the evidence of your research. Academic, or critical, writing is the way you take part in the academic debate. You weigh up the evidence, ideas and arguments of others, and contribute your own. It is generally quite formal and impersonal. It is formal by avoiding casual or 'conversational' language, such as contractions or informal vocabulary. It is impersonal and objective by avoiding direct reference to people or feelings, and instead emphasising objects, facts and ideas.



In an academic setting referencing is important for the following reasons:

1. acknowledges the work of others

2. provides evidence of your thoughtful consideration of the topic

3. allows readers of your work to locate and consult your sources

4. places your work in the context of current research

5. avoids plagiarism by accurately acknowledging the originator of the information or ideas that are not your own

There are usually two elements.

In-Text – within the writing indicating which material has been drawn from elsewhere.

Bibliographic or End-of-text – detailed information about the sources. These may be included as footnotes depending on the referencing style employed. ;

Helpful Resources

Layout and Appearance

  • Assignment Layout and Appearance Guidelines (PDF) provides general guidelines for formatting work when no specific direction has been given by your lecturer. It covers the appearance – font type & size, headings, headers & footnotes as well as, alignments and the use figures and tables