Last update: 15 November 2016
Develop your academic writing and study skills using our constructive advice. In here, you can find advice for the following (click on the links to jump to the right sections):
Assignment Presentation Language Appropriateness APA Referencing (In-text citation) Vocabulary for In-line Citations and Paraphrasing APA Referencing (Reference list) Vocabulary for Linking Concepts and Ideas
An academic assignment should be written and presented in a formal style, unless your lecturer has given you other instructions. This formal academic style follows rules called” academic conventions“. This is so that the lecturer can focus on your ideas, and not be distracted by the format or style of your work. There are two general rules:
a) Your assignment should be simple and clear.
b) You should be consistent, i.e. you should use the same system for the whole assignment.
Each assignment should have a cover page. You can find an assignment cover page template in the course work files in the student server.
Use 12 point for the text of your assignment. Headings can be in 14/16 point, but you should not use larger fonts. Style should be Times New Roman or Courier.
Use double spacing, or 1.5.
The left-hand margin should be set at 4 cm so that the lecturer can write comments. The right margin should be 2 cm.
Leave a line or indent to indicate the start of a new paragraph
Subheading in reports
These should be in bold or italics. An older style also uses underlining. The most common form is bold.
In the APA system, footnotes are used to give extra information which the author feels would disturb the flow of the writing, but these are not used for citations.
You should number the pages of your assignment, not including the cover page. These are generally part of the footer.
Words from other languages
Write words from other languages in italics. The English word can be written in two ways:
1. Using inverted commas "xxx"
eg: The Japanese o-bento or “boxed meal” can be taken anywhere. Rice, Japan’s staple food, generally accounts for a large portion of each o-bento. O-kazu or “side dishes” are added to suit personal taste or nutritional needs (Uratsu, 1998, p. 3).
2. Writing an explanation to
eg: The Japanese o-bento [boxed meal] can be taken anywhere. Rice, Japan’s staple food, generally accounts for a large portion of each o-bento. O-kazu [side dishes] are added to suit personal taste or nutritional needs (Uratsu, 1998, p. 3).
Inserting tables and figures
In-text Citation of References
In Western academic tradition, when someone has an idea they own it as their intellectual property. To show this, they usually publish it somewhere. If you use these ideas as if they are your own, it is regarded as a particular kind of theft called “plagiarism”. (Please refer to Section 3.5 of the Study Guide).
It is necessary to use other people’s ideas as this helps to strengthen your argument and also it shows that you understand the topic.
presented in a new form
• This is one way of borrowing ideas from a source
• It is a more detailed restatement than a summary, and focuses concisely on a single
• When you paraphrase you are not required to:
Use quotation marks “...”
eg: Smith (2008) notes that all students were afraid of submitting their assignments late.
Give a page / paragraph number.
However when you paraphrase from a specific page or magazine article you may include the page number or a range of numbers eg. pp.34-37
eg: The everyday experiences in a teacher’s professional life help to change student behaviour for example theft, drug taking and alcohol consumption (Thoray, 2006, pp. 57-60)
NB: If your paraphrase is the main idea or concept of a book or article then you are required to give a page number
- Direct Quotations
You can avoid plagiarism by showing the source of the work in a conventional way. This is called “citing” and allows the reader to find the original information himself or herself. Citations should be given for all information, diagrams, statistics, etc. that have been taken from somewhere else (ie. not your own idea). If the information is copied this is called direct quotation and will need quotation marks.
Print text (books, journals)
You need to include the following information:
• the year / or n.d. (no date)
• the page number or numbers / paragraph number / line number (if possible) or write n.p.g (no page given)
• double quotation marks “....”
Do not refer to men, when you mean both men and women:
people NOT man
humanity NOT mankind
Students should hand in their essays NOT A student should hand in his essay
Do not specify the sex of the person if it is not part of your discussion:
a nurse NOT a male nurse
lecturers’ spouses NOT lecturers' wives
the chair NOT the chairman
Kouzes and Poser (1987) advocate that...
Taylor (1911) provides a definition of...
Bartol and Martin (1994) suggest that...
Coupland (1995) states that...
Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991) comment on...
Bygrave (1997) conducted a study which hypothesized that... Dawson and Palmer (1995) make the important point that... lnkson (1999) reports a rise in...
Both lnkson (1999) and KoIb and Shepherd (1997) argue that...
Inkson’s (1999) study examined...
Tannen (1990) devised a questionnaire to...
Schein (1985) notes that... (Gibson,1995, p. 480).
Studies on ... (Cleg, 1989; daft, 1995; Deal and Kennedy 1982) demonstrate... As Handy (1989) states, “learn to cite correctly” (¶ 79) ...
Kruglowski suggests that’ . ..‘(cited in Inkson and KoIb, 2002, p. 456). Kruglowski, (n.d.) cited in lnkson and KoIb, 2002, p. 456 indicates that...
yet also but accordingly before after since therefore earlier in summary although next in conclusion as soon as nevertheless as a result comparatively until simultaneously eventually in addition conversely subsequently briefly on the whole previously overall however whereas just a furthermore and consequently on the other hand despite thus because while currently in the same way for this reason in spite of