The following tips are intended as guidance and should be read in conjunction with the assignment brief and requirements in each module.
Always have a title (not the research question or topic set by your lecturer)
For written coursework consider using a title page (even if not specifically asked for in the assignment brief) to provide the reader with an idea of your topic, as well as basic information (student number, module number and name) – in practice any form of written document is rarely provided without some form of title or cover page.
Use headings to guide the reader through your arguments
Use one of the following fonts – Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Cambria.
DO NOT use Comic Sans EVER.
Justify your text (this means making the text evenly lined up along either side of the page).
Use page numbers (bottom right hand side of the page)
Always have an introduction and conclusion
Provide an overview of your key arguments in the introduction and summarise them in your conclusions
Tell the reader/marker how you are structuring your discussion of those arguments
Ensure each section is relevant to the overarching topic/question
Discuss figures in text (Figure 3 shows that….) – your figures should be relevant to the ideas being discussed in text, and thus referred to – your reader has no idea why you are showing them an image of something if you don’t explain its relevance.
Use paragraphs – paragraphs consist of 3-5 sentences that present an idea to the reader. A paragraph that exceeds 5 sentences is likely to have more than one idea being presented, and may need to be split. 1-2 sentences is not a paragraph and may need to be incorporated into a paragraph before or after its location in text.
Spell check your assignment.
Figures and Tables
When including figures, ensure they are relevant to the ideas you are presenting.
Figures should be mentioned in text, and described for their relevance
What does it show?
Why is this important/relevant/interesting?
Ask yourself about whether the whole figure (if taken from elsewhere) is necessary or important, or just one part? If only one part, consider amending or recreating the original figure to focus on only the important element
Label all figures (any graphic you include in your work), and tables
A number (i.e Figure 1 or Table 1)
A title (explains the topic of the graphic – what exactly are you showing the reader?)
A source (use in text referencing in text, and then include the full reference in the reference list)
When labelling figures, the label is always located BENEATH the image, not above or on it.
When labelling tables, the label is always located ABOVE the table, not below.
The source of any figure or table should be located below the figure or table.
Use size 12 font
Figures/tables should have a line above and below them separating them from surrounding text.
Reference any ideas that are not your own – this may mean having a reference after every sentence.
If you are presenting your analysis or understanding using hedging language (e.g. ‘This suggests that….)
If you make a comment that indicates consensus (e.g. many studies have shown…. Scientists agree that…. Etc) then you should provide more than one reference to support the claim.
Use a reference list, not a bibliography
A bibliography is a list of all the sources you read for the project irrespective of whether you used them
A reference list is a list of the sources you are referencing in the work you are submitting
When referencing in text, place the reference in the sentence it is supporting, NOT after the full stop.
NEVER reference in class slides – always reference the original text or source
Wikipedia is never a good source – for images or text!