Managing assignments

Two students doing an assignmentAssignments can take many shapes and forms, from the narrative essay to the structured report – not to mention the case analysis, reflective journal, editorial, or critique. Each of these has peculiar characteristics and requirements, and to a large extent producing a successful assignment depends on knowing what’s expected.

Below are some resources to help you with common types of assignments used in different disciplines. If you’d like some advice on a type of assignment that you don’t see listed here, please feel free to contact a learning advisor. We can’t write or proofread for you, but we can help you understand what’s required.

If you’d like to brush up on general writing skills like grammar and punctuation, see our writing page.

Planning and writing assignments (PDF, 393KB)

A complete guide to essays, research reports and business reports.

Essays

Essay writing with readings (online tutorial)

This online information literacy module covers:

  • how to approach the topic you have been given
  • how to collate the information provided
  • how to develop your argument and incorporate your research into the final essay.

Completing the first draft (PDF, 36KB)

Tips for planning and writing an introduction, body and conclusion.

Paragraph and sentence structure (PDF, 152KB)

You might also like to find out more about research skills and referencing.

Business reports (online tutorial)

Simply stated, a business report conveys information to assist in decision-making. The report is the means to present this information. In this online information literacy module, you will learn to:

  1. determine the scope of the report
  2. consider your audience
  3. gather your information
  4. analyse your information
  5. determine the solution
  6. organize your report

The module will take about an hour to work through.

Scientific reports (online tutorial)

In this online information literacy module, you will learn how to write a structured scientific report. You will learn:

  • the purpose of a scientific report and how it differs from other forms of writing
  • the features that distinguish a good scientific report
  • how to structure a scientific report
  • how to illustrate a scientific report
  • how to find and cite appropriate reference material
  • how to present the final report

It will take about 30 to 40 minutes to work through.

Literature reviews

In a literature review, you situate your research, summarise the major conclusions about your issue, and indicate the ‘gap’ in which you research. This means that rather than being a list of who said what, a literature review is a critical analysis of what has been said – allowing you to justify your research and show that you will make an original and important contribution to your field(s).

Writing a literature review (PDF, 16MB)

A complete how-to guide.

The literature review (workshop)

A literature review is an important part of a thesis. In it you situate your research, summarise the major conclusions about your issue, and indicate the ‘gap’ in which you will research. This means that rather than being a list of who said what, a literature review is a critical analysis of what has been said – allowing you to justify your research and show that you will make an original and important contribution to your field(s). This workshop will explore the purpose of a literature review, and how it might be structured and written.

For more information, and to register, see the SLC workshops page.

Giving presentations

According to the book of lists, public speaking is the number one fear of most people. The key to a good presentation lies in preparation and practice. To help you put together an effective presentation and to confidently present a talk that will keep your audience captivated, the Student Learning Centre offers the following services.

Presenting a talk or seminar (workshop)

This undergraduate workshop provides guidelines on planning and presenting a presentation to help you engage your audience and put your message across effectively and confidently. We look at the key aspects of planning and structure, visual aids, voice, and body language. We also explore strategies to overcome presentation nerves.

For more information, and to register, see the SLC workshops page.

Preparing for a presentation assignment (PDF, 549KB)

Some quick tips for putting together an effective presentation.

Making oral presentations (PDF, 86KB)

A complete guide.

Audio/video assignments

If you need to make an audio or video clip for an assessment project, we have both the knowledge and the facilities to help! Contact Ray Bretherton at the Audio Visual Support and Development Unit for more information.