You need to understand what you are being asked to do before you can research or write an assignment.
The question will include the approach that you are required to take with the topic and focus. Click here for examples of instruction words frequently used to direct the approach you need to take to plan and complete your assignment. As you pull the assignment question apart, write down the different strands to explore, along with any keywords and areas that you are not familiar with. Think about what your initial response to the question would be
You will need to do some preliminary reading around the topic. You will have covered the main theme in your lectures and seminars so look back at your notes and the online reading list.
The first two steps will give you a deeper understanding of the topic, and ideas on what to focus on to answer the different strands to the question. Using the list of keywords and phrases collated when breaking down your assignment question and during your preliminary reading, you can begin to find evidence to support your ideas and themes.
The best place to start your research is the advanced search on the library website. The library website provides access to a large collection of books, ebooks and journal articles that are not freely available on the internet, and you can be confident when searching that all literature found is a good academic source.
To get the best from your search:
When you find literature that you would like to use in your assignment, remember to keep a note of where you found it to ensure accurate referencing. Reading through the literature will help you to develop your thoughts on the topic so revisit and expand the basic plan you created when doing your preliminary reading.
When you have found and read a variety of literature you can begin to think about what themes you are going to discuss. Create your assignment structure (introduction, main body and conclusion) and plan what you are going to discuss in the main body, which ideas/themes you are going to include and what order they should appear in. Try to ensure that the main body flows by introducing themes in a logical order. The text in the body of the essay should be broken down into paragraphs, with each paragraph covering one main point. Consider the evidence you are going to use to support your main points. A detailed plan will make it easier to start the actual writing. You don’t always have to start with the introduction. You may find it easier to focus on the ideas/themes in the main body before writing the introduction and conclusion.
Referencing is important in academic writing and an essential part of any of your assessments. It:
You should always reference a source when:
It is important to know which referencing style you are required to use. You can download a copy of the relevant Referencing Handbook from the library website. Don’t underestimate how long referencing takes. Ensure you have all the information and a basic understanding of the required format. Check your references against the examples given in the relevant referencing handbook.
It is important to edit and proof-read both the main part of your assignment and your references. The university does not provide a proof-reading service, but you can get support with how to edit and proof-read your work. As you are proof-reading, ask yourself:
Check your writing for any spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. When you are happy with the main part of your assignment, work through your references to ensure they are correct and follow the relevant referencing style.