General Guidance on all written assignments
1. Check spelling!!! ??“ not just spell checks but also proof reading: e.g. on a computer spell check, the word you intend to be ???but??™ could have been mistyped as ???buy??™, and will remain as ???buy??™ as it is not spelt incorrectly! You need to read it through to check for errors such as these.
2. Proof read to make sure the sentences make sense! Although you may feel stupid doing so, it often helps to read an assignment out loud: if no-one will listen, just to yourself will do.
3. Referencing. Remember that you need to cite the page number when taking direct quotations or using someone else??™s words! E.g. Mathers supports this viewpoint through his assertion that, ???nursery schools are often full of very snotty children??? (1999, p.17). Check where the quotation marks should begin and end!
4. Bibliography – remember to list all sources alphabetically, and put the place of publication before the name of the publisher! e.g. Mathers, J (1999) Schoolchildren and Their Phlegm. London: Nonsense Publishers Ltd
5. Remember to put the date accessed for www sources
e.g. http://www.snottychildren.com Accessed on 17/03/2004
6. Do not use slang or abbreviations! E.g. can??™t, shouldn??™t, wouldn??™t. E.g. ???fair deal??? ???turning up??? ???this sounds good???
7. Check where capital letters should be e.g. Acts of Parliament!!!
8. Check where apostrophes should be and when colons or semi colons are appropriate to be used. Check there are full stops AFTER brackets.
9. Put in guidance or ???signposts??™ for reader!!! If there is a range of issues that could be addressed acknowledge this and provide your rationale as to why you are choosing to focus on the particular ones you do.
10. Remember to question research and sources that you use: be critical of what you find. If you cite a study it is an opportunity to assess its validity/ reliability e.g. sample size, background of the researcher, subjectivity, etc.
11. Do not use personal comments! With the exception of personal reflection or journals where personal thought may be called for, it is inappropriate in formal academic assignments to use ???I think???, ???I remember???, ???from my own experience??? and so on. Apply critical analysis and question evidence but do not simply state your opinion!
12. Check that any sources you cite in the body of the assignment are then listed in the bibliography. Similarly, items should not be listed in your bibliography if you have not referred to them in the text ??“ how do we know you have read them
13. Do not include charts, graphs, diagrams etc if you are not going to refer to them; you need to say why they are there, what they show etc. Similarly, do not include Appendices unless you refer to them in the body of the assignment. And, consider: if the material in the Appendices is that important, then why is it not actually included in the body of the assignment
14. Do not make unsubstantiated claims, even if you think what you are saying is true. E.g. you cannot say that young children are more prone to have runny noses than older children without drawing upon some supporting evidence such as research or published work which also acknowledges this fact.
15. When you are conducting research: printing online, taking newspaper clips, copying or taking notes from a book, always remember to write down the reference then and there! It takes less effort to do this than go back and try to find it when you need to produce your reference list.