How to write Assignment for University

how to write assignment based on a case study and how to write an assignment without plagiarism and how to write an assignment with reference how write journal writing assignment
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1 1.. IIN NT TR RO OD DU UC CT TIIO ON N About the Guide The UTS Business School Guide to Writing Assignments has been designed to Aims of the Guide: support students of the Faculty in developing their skills and capabilities as To explain the key writers. Effective written communication and research abilities are integral to characteristics of university study and important tools for the modern business professional. As a effective writing in student at UTS, you will have many opportunities to learn through researching university-level and writing about your subjects of study, and a great deal of the assessment of Business studies your learning will depend upon your effectiveness as a writer. To give annotated What you write in your assignments is like a snapshot of your thinking at a examples of both particular point or period in time. This guide therefore talks about thinking as effective and much as writing and, in particular, the kind of scholarly thinking and researching ineffective writing that is expected in university-level studies. The mark of good scholarship is To offer advice about more than having original ideas – ideas have to be presented and expressed so the processes of that they are understood by others. This guide aims to support you in preparing written demonstrating how much and how well you have learned through the written assignments assignments you prepare. To provide links to Examples used in the guide have been taken from authentic writing. We know other information that many students learn a lot from the experience of other students, including and resources both their successful and their less successful experiences. Therefore, as much as possible, we have drawn from the experience of students in Business studies. Your responsibilities Please remember that students are responsible for finding out the requirements of each subject. These are stated in each Subject Outline, but you may also be given other specific information relating to individual assignments. Sometimes, this may conflict with information in this guide, for example, you Have you checked that may be required to present your assignment in a particular structure or style of you have received all language. It is your responsibility to check that you understand what the the information about requirements are for each written assignment. your subject and each assignment task? Using the writing guide Some students prefer to print only the sections they find most interesting or useful, and then keep the copies in a ring-binder of material related to preparing written assignments. Included in the guide are the web addresses of other internet-based resources, and these are ‘hot-linked’ in the digital version of the guide to make it easier to jump online straight to those resources. Just click on the links throughout the guide when you see the hot-link icon: We hope that you will find the guide to be useful all through your studies, and assist you to become a capable writer and communicator as one of the fundamental attributes you will achieve as a graduate of UTS Business School. The Business School is committed to continuously improving the quality of learning and teaching. In the spirit of that commitment, we need your feedback on this guide so that we can make improvements to it. Gu i d e t o W r i t i n g A s s i g n m en t s – UT S B u s i n e s s School 1 2 2.. W WR RIIT TIIN NG G IIN N T TH HE E F FA AC CU UL LT TY Y O OF F B BU US SIIN NE ES SS S THE ROLE OF WRITING: Why is writing so important? Writing is a very important activity and set of skills to develop as part of your academic study. In all programs of study in the Business School, and across all levels of study, your capabilities as a writer are very important. Here are the main reasons why the Business School considers writing to be so central to your learning. Writing is a process which helps you to learn more deeply. I find that writing When you are engaged in writing for your assessment tasks, you are engaged in assignments is the a process of learning. Writing is not just something that happens at the end of most difficult part learning. Instead, the process of writing starts from the very beginning of about studying at uni… tackling an assessment task. During the process, you will need to analyse the but it’s also the most task, read material relevant to the task, make notes and clarify your satisfying. I understand understandings, draw together different views on the topic, critically weighing much better when I have to write about these up, and so on. All these activities contribute to your learning as you go something. about solving the problem that the writing task has posed. The kind of learning that you are expected to engage in at university level is deep learning, in which you are expected to understand many dimensions of a topic, and how they are related to each other, to ask critical questions, and to When it’s a complex develop your own perspectives and viewpoints. For many people, the deepest topic, I usually am not sure what I really learning occurs when they try to put their thoughts into words so that others think until I start can understand. A common experience for many people is that they are not trying to write about really sure what they think about a complex topic until they start writing down it. their thoughts. Thus the process of writing can be seen as a means for discovering and consolidating meaning and therefore a method for learning more deeply. Writing is a product which demonstrates the quality of your learning. Without being able to ‘see’ your thinking through the words you speak and write, your lecturers would not be able to assess what is in your head. Thus your writing is a crucial product of your thinking which provides the evidence of what you have learned. Your lecturers can use this product to assess the At first I didn’t realise quality of your learning and give you feedback to help you learn more from the just how important it experience. This is a very important part of the learning cycle in a university would be to write well. course, and you should aim to learn from your assessment feedback on every task you undertake. As I got more practice, I found that my writing In most of your subjects for your degree, written tasks will constitute the major improved and so did my part of your assessment. Even if a portion of your assessment may be for a marks. tutorial or seminar presentation in class, you will often be expected to prepare some written material, for example, a PowerPoint presentation, or a class handout, or even a tutorial or seminar paper. In some subjects, you may be required to prepare a piece of written work as a member of a group. In other subjects, you may have exams in which you have to write under more constrained conditions, or perhaps you may be expected to write something for a real workplace in which your learning is set. In all these circumstances, your writing is the product which defines how much and how well you understand and can put your case, and which will constitute the substantial basis for your assessment grade. Writing is a way of engaging in a dialogue with your lecturers/tutors. As you progress through your academic career at university, your writing operates as a channel for dialogue with the academic staff you will meet. Through refining and further developing your writing as an integral part of 2 Guide to Writing Assignments - U T S Business School learning, the opportunity to engage in deeper discussions with staff can be enhanced by the written assignments and work you undertake. Academic staff themselves often find that such dialogue with students is the most satisfying part of their work and many report on the reciprocal learning that takes place through students’ serious engagement in writing. Being a capable writer is an important outcome of your university studies. Even as a postgraduate student, As a result of successfully undertaking university studies, you will have my writing skills have developed not just specific knowledge and capabilities in the subject areas of continued to grow and your program, but also a wide range of more generic skills including develop, and I am now communication skills. The more advanced your studies, the more expert and writing an article as a versatile your communication capabilities should become. In the workplace, co- author with my employers value communication skills very highly and often use these as a way supervisor. of distinguishing between candidates for jobs or promotions. Thus, writing skills are a form of currency in the employment market. Writing is a routine activity in most workplace settings of business graduates. It is difficult to imagine a workplace setting in which a graduate would not be It’s like having a little undertaking writing as a routine work task on a daily basis. Whilst the type and toolkit of writing skills range of writing tasks in workplaces may not be exactly like those in the that I carry around university setting, the writing skills you develop as part of your university with me and use each studies are ones you can transfer to new tasks. For example, although you time I meet a new might not be expected to write an academic essay in your job, the skill of kind of writing task. developing an argument and substantiating this argument by reference to evidence is one which you will use in many other kinds of writing in the workplace. Being a capable and effective writer is a valuable capability for life. Understanding how to manipulate words and language effectively when writing for different purposes and to different audiences is a fundamental capability which informs and enriches a person’s engagement in and contribution to society. What you learn from your experiences of writing as a student in the UTS Faculty of Business extends on the skills you had already developed from your previous school, work, and life experiences. By becoming more aware about writing and more flexible and adaptable as a writer, you are extending much further your own ‘kit’ of portable writing skills for life. ASSESSMENT: How is your written work assessed? All assessment tasks in UTS Business School subjects are designed to encourage and support your learning. The assessment of your work is carried out in accordance with the UTS Policy for the Assessment of Coursework Subjects: Below expectations: Assessment is based on criteria to determine whether you have achieved FAIL (Z) = 50% the learning outcomes stated for each subject – this is called criterion- Meets expectations: referenced assessment. Your grades are based on your level of performance in achieving these outcomes. When your lecturers/tutors mark your PASS = 50%+ assignments, they make professional judgments about the level of CREDIT = 65%+ performance you have achieved, to decide whether it meets the expectations, or whether it is above or below them. Exceeds expectations: DISTINCTION = 75%+ The assessors look at various dimensions of your assignment to help determine HIGH DISTINCTION = 85%+ what mark to give your work overall. For example, your assignment might be strong in its structure and its critical analytical approach, but it might be weak Gu i d e t o W r i t i n g A s s i g n m en t s – UT S B u s i n e s s School 3 in its language choices, or its grammatical accuracy. Or perhaps your assignment is well written and presented, but does not actually address the topic/issue/question that was given. The marker needs to take all dimensions into account in determining the grade. Also, the marker will take into account the level at which you are studying, recognising that the standard expected of written work increases as you advance in your studies. Here are some examples of the kinds of dimensions that are typically used in assessing written assignments. For each dimension, there are some examples of the questions that markers might be asking as they are reading your work to determine your level of performance. They will not just be asking ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but ‘how much’ and ‘how well’. SOME DIMENSIONS OF ASSESSMENT SOME QUESTIONS THAT MARKERS MIGHT ASK CRITERIA Does the assignment address the topic that was set? Does the assignment address the purpose that was set, for example, to Purpose explain, to discuss, to evaluate, to recommend, etc.? Is there a clear statement of the assignment’s purpose or goals? Are the ideas and information in the assignment relevant to the topic? Relevance Are there other essential ideas and information which are missing from the assignment? Does the assignment provide evidence of critical analysis of the topic area? Analytical and critical perspective Does the assignment’s present a critical perspective or stance? Is the supporting material used as evidence for the ideas and information relevant and appropriate? Supporting evidence Is evidence from other sources correctly acknowledged? Is the assignment structured in appropriate sections and in a logical sequence? Structure and Is the logical structure clearly shown, for example, by the use of topic sentences coherence and language showing relationships between sections? Is the writing style at an appropriate level of objectivity, formality and technicality Language style for the assignment’s purpose and audience? Is the assignment written in grammatically accurate sentences? Is the punctuation accurate and helpful to the meaning? Language accuracy Is the spelling accurate? Is the formatting of the assignment according to the stated specifications, for example, section headings if appropriate, correct word length? Presentation Are references to supporting material presented in an appropriate and consistent style? Is the presentation of the assignment professional and ‘reader-friendly’? 4 Guide to Writing Assignments - U T S Business School Quality and standards in assessment Go to Section 3 to An important element of the assessment process is the maintenance of high find out more standards of academic quality, integrity and scholarship in work that is about plagiarism produced by students. Markers therefore have a responsibility to check and how to avoid it. carefully any instances where they suspect that a student may have acted dishonestly, for example, by plagiarising the ideas and/or words of others. When the marker is assessing your work, they may check its level of originality Go to Section 7 for by submitting it electronically to Turnitin. This is done routinely with all advice on checking assignments in some subjects, or with a random selection of them, or might your own work only be done if the marker suspects some dishonesty. with Turnitin. Also, check their Alternatively, a marker might simply copy phrases or paragraphs into a search website for useful engine such as Google to search for an original source, or might compare the student tutorials original source with the student’s version to check that acknowledgements have been done with integrity. Subject coordinators might also put in place special quality assurance processes such as comparing assignments between groups where there are multiple markers to cross-check the assessment standards but also to ensure the academic integrity of students’ submissions. Go to Section 9 to find out more Feedback to support learning about learning from feedback. As part of the assessment process, your lecturers/tutors will give you feedback on your assignments designed to help you learn from the experience. COMMON PROBLEMS: What are students’ most common writing problems? It is not surprising that students often experience problems with writing. After all, it is a complex process, dependent on a complex mixture of skills, and students are constantly being challenged by new situations and tasks. When students confront transitions, for example from school to university, or from coursework to higher degree research study, or from studying in their first language to studying in English, the new demands on writing skills within the new context can be very challenging indeed. The staff in UTS Business School will do everything they can to help you understand the expectations, and will give you feedback on your assignments to guide and shape your development as a writer. Students are very diverse in their backgrounds, and their levels of skill and experience, and the staff will therefore respond to each student’s written work accordingly. However, there are some reasonably common issues and problems that students face in preparing written assignments, and that staff also face in assessing and giving feedback to help students learn. Throughout this guide, you will find advice relating to each of these types of common problems, and examples showing how to improve your assignments in terms of these typical assessment dimensions. Here are some typical examples of these problems from the perspectives of students and staff, and organised according to the most common generic dimensions of assessment. Gu i d e t o W r i t i n g A s s i g n m en t s – UT S B u s i n e s s School 5 FROM A STUDENT PERSPECTIVE FROM A STAFF PERSPECTIVE Although a business report does define and explain some things, it does much more than this. How am I supposed to know what You should follow the structure and style that are Purpose set out in the Subject Outline. a business report looks like? I wasn’t really sure what the You should spend more time in analysing the question was asking me to do, so I question and ensuring that you are using relevant Relevance just wrote everything I knew on sources and building a relevant argument. It is key that you stay relevant to the topic. that topic. You have only referred to one of the key sources I couldn’t find anything in the in this topic area. There are at least three other main aspects to this topic that you should have Library that seemed relevant to Relevance referred to also – see the Subject Outline for a list the topic. of references to start with. I just started writing because I Your essay wandered all over the place until the didn’t really know what I thought Analytical and end, so there were many conflicting points in it. If you had planned it beforehand and then drafted it a on this topic, but then I discovered critical few times your essay would have been much what I thought on the way perspective stronger and easier to read. through. We are very much interested in what you think. Your work is about your ‘informed opinion’ based on your How can I have an opinion on Analytical and knowledge of academic arguments and different something I’m just learning about theories, and your evaluations of them. F or critical – surely no-one is interested in example, how are they similar to or different from perspective what a first-year student thinks? each other? How useful are the theories in explaining the actual case? You seem to have a good general knowledge about this topic, but in academic writing you I knew quite a lot about this topic Supporting need to substantiate your statements and claims so it saved me having to find all with evidence from reputable authoritative evidence those references. sources. You need to back up your claims with peer reviewed sources of information/research. You need to write about them in your own words and also, you are learning about writing in a There’s no way I could write scholarly way, and so you need to acknowledge things better than the experts do, Supporting other people’s ideas and wordings – if you do not so I just use their words most of the evidence do this appropriately, you may be committing time. plagiarism. I know my assignment is supposed to have a beginning, middle and There are lots of good ideas in this assignment, Structure but I can’t see any logical structure to it. You need end, but I don’t know what to put to plan the outline effectively first. in these sections. I can’t seem to get an academic This assignment required you to write in an academic style, whereas you have used quite a lot Language style of slang and everyday language instead of the style into my writing. more technical language of the discipline. Accuracy in your writing is crucial. Try to understand the mistakes you are making with I’m a native speaker of English but your poor punctuation and spelling. You must Language improve these aspects of your writing because I’ve never learned anything about accuracy they are fundamental to communicating grammar. effectively in business environments. I always run out of time at the Time management is essential. Start early and have end and so I don’t have time to time at the end to correct the many errors which Presentation you could have easily found if you had taken the check over my work and present it time to proofread it carefully. neatly. 6 Guide to Writing Assignments - U T S Business School 3 3.. T TH HE E S SC CH HO OL LA AR RL LY Y E ET TH HIIC C IIN N A AC CA AD DE EM MIIC C W WR RIIT TIIN NG G LEARNING FROM SCHOLARLY LITERATURE: Why is the literature so important? In all fields of study and enquiry, learning is based on knowledge which has been accumulated over time, and which is available through having been published in diverse formats and forums. A substantial part of your university learning is based on wide reading from the published work of those experts and researchers who have advanced understanding in the discipline and fields of study. As you become more expert yourself, you may create new insights and understandings which can be published to contribute to the pool of knowledge. The recognition of this accumulative nature of knowledge is the most fundamental aspect of the scholarly ethic. The concept of scholarship also entails a commitment to evidence-based enquiry. From the earliest beginnings of your university study, you will be asked to justify your thinking with well-reasoned and logical rationales, and drawing from sources of evidence that are authoritative and verifiable. Your development of mastery and expertise in your chosen discipline(s) will depend not only on your understanding of knowledge in that field but also on your skills and capabilities to use that knowledge to justify and defend decisions and actions, and potentially to add to the store of knowledge – in other words, to engage in scholarly evidence-based enquiry. HAVING ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: What does academic integrity mean? The concept of academic integrity is fundamental to scholarly work and study of any type. It depends upon personal integrity and respect for other people’s intellectual property. Good academic practice revolves around respecting and acknowledging the original authors of information and ideas whose work you draw from in writing your assignments. In this way, you are respecting their intellectual property, and also distinguishing between what are their ideas, and what are your own ideas. This is important to allow your lecturers and tutors who are marking your work to assess your own efforts. If you do not do this properly, you may be committing plagiarism (see the next part of this section of the guide). Refer to the UTS policy on ‘Advice to Students on Good Academic Practice’: In the early undergraduate years, student research tends to be focused on learning from, and critically analysing, the published work of experts in the discipline(s) you are studying. But over time, and as you progress further in your studies, your research may entail undertaking some original independent work of your own which generates new research information and ideas. In the conduct of any research you undertake, you have a responsibility to be honest in the way you manage and report on your research, as well as continuing to acknowledge the work of others. Refer to the UTS ‘Student Charter’: Gu i d e t o W r i t i n g A s s i g n m en t s – UT S B u s i n e s s School 7 If your research involves humans, then it must be undertaken in accordance with guidelines established by the University’s Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). Depending upon the type of research, and particularly if you progress to studying at Doctoral level or Masters by research, you may need to obtain Ethics Approval. See the UTS policies and guidelines about the ethical conduct of research: ACNOWLEDGING OTHER PEOPLE’S IDEAS: What is plagiarism? If you do not acknowledge the original authors of information and ideas that you bring into your written assignments, you are committing an act of plagiarism. Plagiarism is a broad term referring to the practice of appropriating someone else’s ideas or work and presenting them as your own without acknowledgment. Plagiarism is intellectual theft and, like cheating, is a form of academic misconduct, the penalties for which are very serious indeed. Plagiarism can take a number of forms, including: In my previous studies, it was okay to just  copying the work of another student, whether that student is in the same copy and paste from class, from an earlier year of the same course, or from another tertiary the internet. institution altogether Everybody did it - it  copying any section, no matter how brief, from a book, journal, article or was the norm. I other written source, without duly acknowledging it as a quotation hadn’t even thought  copying any map, diagram or table of figures without duly acknowledging about it as being theft. the source  paraphrasing or otherwise using the ideas of another author without duly acknowledging the source Whatever the form, plagiarism is unacceptable both academically and professionally. By plagiarising you are both stealing the work of another person and cheating by representing it as your own. Any instances of plagiarism can therefore be expected to draw severe penalties and may be referred to the Faculty Student Conduct Committee. The penalties for plagiarism may mean failure of the assignment, of the whole subject, or even exclusion from the University, thus preventing completion of the degree. The seriousness of these penalties reflects the University’s commitment to maintaining the highest Why is plagiarism treated standards of academic integrity and therefore the University’s good reputation so seriously? for the quality of its academic programs and its graduates. The University and UTS Business School are committed to supporting students to learn about scholarly and professional integrity as part of their studies. To support students in understanding what plagiarism is and how to avoid it, the University provides clear guidelines and resources for students to access independently. Additionally, in your coursework studies, there will be many opportunities to develop and refine your writing skills to demonstrate your academic integrity and scholarship. Check your understanding of plagiarism Take the avoiding plagiarism online tutorial: 8 Guide to Writing Assignments - U T S Business School Quite often, and especially in the first year of studying at university, students plagiarise by mistake rather than by intention. This is often simply because of not understanding what plagiarism is or why it is so inappropriate. Go to Section 7 to Unintentional plagiarism can come about because a student might not know find out more how to acknowledge other people’s ideas in their writing. Other occasions of about reading and unintentional plagiarism might be the result of not having kept good accurate taking notes. notes from the researching and reading stage of preparing an assignment. Occasionally, students will deliberately cheat or plagiarise. Such dishonest behavior may be motivated by time-pressures, for example, students may have many demands on their time which make it difficult to complete an assignment by the submission deadline without plagiarizing. It is important to ensure you manage your studies well to avoid being seduced into dishonest practices. The following information defines and explains the University’s policies and procedures on plagiarism, including the investigation procedures and the penalties for academic misconduct: ‘Assessment of Coursework Subjects’ (UTS Policy): The following practices have been shown to reduce the chances of accidentally plagiarising. Make sure that you are familiar with the style of acknowledgment that is recommended for use in the particular subject you are studying.  Write the source on any notes or copies you make from any document or electronic sources such as the internet. Keep a detailed list of your sources How can I avoid throughout the course of your research.  Sources that must be acknowledged include those containing the concepts, plagiarising? experiments or results from which you have extracted or developed your ideas, even if you put those ideas into your own words.  Always use quotation marks when quoting directly from a work. It is not enough merely to acknowledge the source. Go to Section 7 to  Do not just change the odd word here and there, even where you find out about how acknowledge the source. Use a different form of words to show that to acknowledge you have thought about the material and understood it. sources. These suggestions are outlined in the ‘Advice to Students on Good Academic Practice’ (UTS Policy): BEING ORIGINAL: Do I have to be original in what I write? Originality is a quality of scholarly thinking which your lecturers will be looking for in your written assignments all the way through your university studies. Even in the first year of a university level program, you will be expected to think for yourself, and to express your own views about a topic. As you progress through your academic career, there will be an increased expectation that you will show originality and creativity in the way you think and conceptualise a topic, and your assignment tasks will probably become gradually more open-ended to enable your originality of thought to emerge and flourish. Gu i d e t o W r i t i n g A s s i g n m en t s – UT S B u s i n e s s School 9 Being original in your thinking does not necessarily mean making new and important discoveries that could change the course of history (although there have been many important new ideas that have sprung from students in university courses). Showing originality in the way you think can instead be seen in the unique perspective you bring to a topic, in the way that you present the topic, and in the stance you take to arguing and justifying your point of view. What does being original mean? Even though you are expected to be original in the way you write, the assignment tasks can be quite different. Sometimes the task will be a relatively simple one that asks you to summarise a given article, or to explain a given concept. Such tasks still require you to present the ideas from your perspective and in your own words. These types of tasks can be thought of as ‘knowledge- telling’, or re-telling someone else’s knowledge through your eyes and in your own words. The capacity to re-tell knowledge to make its meaning clear to someone else is a fundamental aspect of learning and of having your learning assessed in your subjects of study. Other tasks can be much more demanding in terms of how original you are expected to be. For example, in writing an essay or analysing a case study, you have to draw together ideas from many sources. Often these ideas will conflict with each other, so your task is to present them in a way that supports your own point of view. The more your own contribution takes over and drives your writing, the more you are engaging in transforming knowledge. More advanced researchers and scholars are not only engaged in transforming but also extending knowledge to disseminate to the whole community in a particular field of enquiry. EXAMPLE WRITING TASKS PURPOSE FOR ASSESSMENT KNOWLEDGE- to demonstrate that you understand an explanation of a concept TELLING the concept and can explain it clearly (Re-telling other to demonstrate that you understand people’s knowledge a summary of a journal article the article and can explain it clearly in your own words) to explain and analyse what happened, a report on a work placement and critically evaluate the relationship between the actual and the theoretical KNOWLEDGE- to demonstrate that you can find TRANSFORMING relevant literature, and that you can a critical literature review (Creating your own analyse the relationships between knowledge by different ideas about that topic interpreting and re- to demonstrate that you can identify shaping other key issues, relate theory and practice, a case study analysis people’s knowledge) identify implications, and propose a course of action to demonstrate that you can develop a clear and logical response that is an essay your own interpretation but is KNOWLEDGE- supported by evidence from others EXTENDING (Extending on and to demonstrate that you can make a disseminating new a research thesis significant contribution to knowledge knowledge) as an expert in your field 10 Guide to Writing Assignments - U T S Business School CRITICAL THINKING/ CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE: In students’ writing Adopting a critical perspective is another very fundamental aspect of scholarly thinking which your lecturers will be looking for in your written assignments. Often the requirement to adopt a critical perspective in an assignment will be reflected in words like discuss or argue. This concept is very closely related to being original – indeed, often the critical perspective you adopt is the originality in your thinking. What does having a critical perspective or engaging in academic argumentation actually mean? Firstly, it is a positive activity of searching for meaning, in that the processes of debating, arguing, and critically evaluating are intended to open up greater understanding and insights. Secondly, the subject of critical enquiry is concepts and ideas, not the personal characteristics of the people associated with those ideas. Thirdly, the purpose of critical enquiry is to What does being examine the validity or worth of something on the basis of evidence. To do critical mean? this requires analysis to identify and understand the dimensions of something, and argument to make reasoned judgements about it which are well- supported from evidence which can be verified. Not all writing assignment tasks require the same level of critical analysis. For example, if your task revolves around explaining a particular theory which might be complex but not especially controversial, then the main purpose of the task might be to show that you understand the theory. If, however, the assignment task revolves around a concept which is controversial and for which there are alternative and competing explanations, then the purpose might be to show that you understand the multiple perspectives and can make some critical judgements of your own about them. In most coursework assignments that you will be asked to prepare, it is more appropriate to make direct statements about your point of view than to be very subtle. For example, statements of your point of view might be presented in the introduction to your assignment with phrases such as: Go to Section 4 to ‘This essay, will outline that A is similar to B’ find out about how to write an ‘As is demonstrated in the report, A is less significant than B in influencing C.’ introduction. BEING AWARE OF DIVERSITY: How can my writing reflect respect for diversity? Diversity in many aspects of scholarly life Recognition of and respect for diversity is an important aspect of the scholarly ethic and your own learning will be enriched considerably by appreciating and acknowledging that diversity. What does diversity The community in which you are studying (both your fellow students as well as mean in academic the staff) includes people from many different cultural backgrounds, whose life? diverse cultural perspectives can broaden and deepen the learning experiences that you share with them. The disciplines and subjects of study in UTS Business School are also diverse in their assumptions and approaches and you may find that you need to develop special ways of thinking and writing according to each subject. Within any one field or topic of knowledge and scholarly enquiry, there are always diverse perspectives. Gu i d e t o W r i t i n g A s s i g n m en t s – UT S B u s i n e s s School 11 For every theory, there are usually multiple alternative and competing theories; for every approach to solving a problem, there are usually multiple other approaches. It was very enlightening to consider what a big Your written assignment tasks will often be on topics that are controversial, and effect people’s the task for you will be to sift through diverse and often contradictory backgrounds had on perspectives. A scholarly ethic entails representing different points of view, their perspectives. My whilst also presenting your own critical perspective in a reasoned way, assignments were a lot substantiated by reference to scholarly literature. richer when I started to consider things from The Business School takes seriously its responsibility to provide you with other points of view learning and assessment experiences that are culturally sensitive and that that were very different provide choices to help you prepare for your intended future contexts. You from my own. also have a responsibility to be aware of diversity in your approach to your learning and to your written assignments. Non-discriminatory language The language choices that you make in your writing are as important as the ideas themselves in demonstrating your understanding and respect for diversity. Language is a major vehicle for the expression of prejudice or discrimination, and the use of discriminatory language is both a symptom of, and contributor to, the unequal status of diverse groups. The following are the main forms of discriminatory language which should be avoided:  Extra-visibility or emphasis on difference In many contexts it is quite unnecessary to mention a person's sex, race, ethnic background or disability. Yet for members of minority groups these How can language be characteristics are often mentioned. This type of gratuitous specification discriminatory? may result in overemphasis on a particular characteristic, thus creating the impression that the person referred to is somehow an oddity.  Stereotyping A stereotype is a generalised and relatively fixed image of a person or persons belonging to a particular group. This image is formed by isolating or exaggerating certain features – physical, intellectual, cultural, occupational, personal, and so on – which seem to characterise the group. Stereotypes I hadn’t realised just are discriminatory in that they take away a person's individuality. Although how often I had been they may reflect elements of truth, these are usually misinterpreted or referring to people’s inaccurate owing to oversimplification. The status of minority groups in race or religion when it society is often adversely influenced by prevailing stereotypes of them. really wasn’t relevant. I was glad that my  Derogatory labeling lecturer pointed this The discriminatory nature of derogatory labels used to describe members of out in the feedback on minority groups is often obvious. However, derogatory labels are still my essay. commonly used, and must be avoided.  Imposed labeling A characteristic often shared by minority groups is their lack of power to define themselves. Often the names and labels by which they are known, whether derogatory or not, have been imposed on them. Imposed labelling may be inaccurate in various ways and may also be alienating for the groups it supposedly describes. 12 Guide to Writing Assignments - U T S Business School Gender-neutral language choices are preferable in your writing, and there is an expectation that students’ assignments will not be written in discriminatory language. For example, instead of writing ‘chairman’ or ‘spokesman’, it is more appropriate to write ‘chairperson’ or ‘spokesperson’, since the gender of the person is not relevant. When using a pronoun to refer in general to people, there are many options available, but the preferred option is to use the plural form ‘they’, as shown in the examples below: These are gender-biased Everyone needs his own copy. and therefore not inclusive.  Everyone needs her own copy. Inclusive, and easier to read Everyone needs their own copy. . Fairness and equity As part of the University’s commitment to equity and fairness, there are avenues available that take account of the diversity of students’ backgrounds and circumstances of study. You may experience particular circumstances that make it difficult for you to complete a written assignment, for example, Can my special because of a disability, or your carer responsibilities, or some specific cultural or circumstances be religious commitments. In such cases, it is possible that special adjustments taken into account? can be made to the assessment requirements. Refer to the UTS ‘Procedures for the Assessment of Coursework Subjects’: procedures.pdf Students with disabilities or ongoing medical conditions If you are a student who has a disability or ongoing medical condition that requires support services you are encouraged to contact the Disability Support Officers or Special Needs Service (9514-1177) for a confidential interview. Supporting documentation regarding your disability or ongoing medical condition is required if you wish to apply for assessment adjustments, including alternative assessment conditions. Each Faculty has appointed Academic Liaison Officers (ALOs) who are responsible for approving assessment adjustments. Meeting with the Disability Support Officers or Special Needs Service before seeking assessment adjustments from your ALO is required. Refer to the UTS Special Needs Service: You can find the names of the current ALOs for UTS Business School from the Special Needs Service website: Gu i d e t o W r i t i n g A s s i g n m en t s – UT S B u s i n e s s School 13 4 4.. T TH HE E S ST TR RU UC CT TU UR RE ES S O OF F W WR RIIT TT TE EN N A AS SS SIIG GN NM ME EN NT TS S Sections 4 and 5 of the guide deal with the structures of written assignments, based on the PRODUCTS or OUTCOMES of writing. Here you will find descriptions and explanations of written assignments in terms of the characteristics that can be observed from examples of effective assignments. In Section 6, you will find explanations of the language and style of writing that characterise assignments, so again the focus is on the products or outcomes. This section of the Guide is complemented by Section 7 of the Guide which focuses on the PROCESSES of writing. You might prefer to begin by reading a process-oriented approach to writing, and then return later to this product- oriented section. Usually the written assignments in your coursework subjects will be described in terms of the type of assignment you are expected to produce. Assignment types that are common in UTS Business School include essays, reports, and case studies, although there is considerable diversity, especially as you progress through the years of study. However, sometimes these labels are not always sufficient to clarify the How is this assignment structure and style of writing that is expected, or the labels may not be used supposed to be consistently in different subjects. For example, one subject may ask for an structured? essay, and another subject may ask for a research report, yet the two tasks may actually be very similar assignment types. Or sometimes a critical literature review may be called a research report at postgraduate level. For this reason, you need to see each assignment as distinctive and be aware of different contexts and purposes. In some subjects, there will be time in lectures or tutorials devoted to discussing the assignment requirements, or you may be given additional written information to clarify the task. The purpose of the assignment will tell you a lot about how it might be structured. Some writing tasks, especially in the early part of an undergraduate Go to Section 7 to course, are designed to ensure you understand some basic concepts in a new read more about field. Their purpose might be for you to describe the concept, to define it, or to the process of explain it. Perhaps you will be asked to summarise an article or chapter to analysing the task. demonstrate your understanding. More complex tasks could ask you to critically evaluate an article, or to compare two different articles about the same topic. Gradually, the written assignments you confront will become more complex and more intellectually demanding. As the task becomes more complex, the process tends to shift from re-telling of existing knowledge, towards transforming that knowledge, and the scope of the . task becomes more open-ended with you having a higher degree of autonomy in defining and scoping the problem to be solved. Even in the most complex of tasks requiring the highest level of transformation of knowledge, this process depends upon being able to clearly describe and define concepts, that is, re- telling what is known prior to reshaping this for your own purposes. STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS: What are the elements of written assignments? There are many possible elements that can be included in the structure of written assignments, but each assignment task will have its own expectations about which elements need to be included. For example, a common structural 14 Guide to Writing Assignments - U T S Business School element for written assignments is an introduction, but not all assignments will require an abstract or synopsis. An important part of working out what is required for your written assignment is determining what the structural elements are. Equally importantly, you need to consider what the best sequence will be for these elements. Often your assignment task or other information in your Subject Outline will explain particular requirements regarding the structural elements of your assignment, and in what order they should be presented. But on other occasions, a part of your problem-solving in preparing the assignment will be to determine for yourself what the structural parts and their sequence should be. Importantly, each written assignment task is different and may have different requirements for its structure, so you need to ensure you understand what is expected on each occasion. The typical structural elements that are referred to below are presented in the order or sequence that they might normally appear in a written assignment, although no single assignment would have all these elements, so you need to analyse the task carefully to determine what elements are needed. A TITLE FOR YOUR WOR K At more advanced levels of study involving independent research, for example, in higher degree research studies, the written outcomes (final thesis dissertation, journal articles for publication, etc.) need to have a distinctive title created by the researcher. By contrast, most coursework assignments do not require an original title to be prepared by the student since all students work on a common task. Instead, the assignment is usually labeled by the name of the subject and the particular assignment. However, there may be occasions when you are required to prepare a title for your work. Here are some general principles to guide your choice:  A title’s purpose is to attract a potential reader, and to help make the work discoverable through electronic searching.  An effective title should include the main key words which indicate the topic area(s) of the work. That is, the title needs to convey WHAT the work is about.  As well as the main key topic words, an effective title can also include something about WHY or HOW the work was undertaken, and/or indicating what were the significant or distinctive findings from the work – or SO WHAT.  It can be useful to separate the title into two segments – the WHAT segment, and the SO WHAT segment – with the two parts separated by a colon. This can convey a significant amount of detail to help the reader determine whether the work is likely to be interesting for them.  For a title to endure, it may be advisable to avoid titles which depend upon local knowledge or highly topical events or issues. Here is an example of a title which began as a simple WHAT title, and finished as a more focused, precise and informative SO WHAT one. The first title is a simple knowledge-telling title, suggesting the work will be like an encyclopedia entry (summarising everything there is to know about the topic). By contrast, the final title indicates that the work will provide an analytical and critical perspective. Gu i d e t o W r i t i n g A s s i g n m en t s – UT S B u s i n e s s School 15 Example of an evolving title Focus on WHAT the The COP Registration System work was about Focus on WHY / HOW the work was done, that An Evaluation of the COP Registration System is, its purpose / method Focus on WHY / HOW the work was done, and WHAT sub-group the An Evaluation of the COP Registration System: The Perspective work investigated of Service Providers Focus on SO WHAT, that is, what the impact of the work has been An Evaluation of the COP Registration System: Service Providers Creating Partnerships to Improve Quality TITLE PAGE A title page is not normally necessary for coursework assignments if you are required to attach an assignment cover sheet to the front of your submission. Check your Subject Outline for details about these requirements. The Go to Section 8 to assignment cover sheet includes all the information that would normally be find out more included in a title page, and also provides a declaration that you sign certifying about attaching a cover sheet. that the work is your own and the assignment was prepared in accordance with the principles of academic integrity and scholarship. TAB LE OF CON TENTS A Table of Contents is usually needed when an assignment is quite long and complex, as a guide to help the reader see the structure at a glance and find sections by their page number. It is commonly used for reports, and sometimes discussion or position papers, but not often for essays and literature reviews. As well as listing the sections and sub-sections of your assignment with their page numbers, the Table of Contents should also include tables, figures and other visual material, as well as Appendices. Normally, two levels of internal headings would be included, although very long reports may show three levels of headings. This Guide has a Table of Contents which shows three levels of headings. ACKN OWLEDGEM EN TS An acknowledgements section would normally only be included in an assignment or research report of substantial size, or in a thesis or article for publication. An acknowledgements section can simply constitute a list of names of those who have contributed in some way, or a brief summary of the nature of the contribution may also be included. It is usual to acknowledge:  Individuals who have assisted substantially with the research or writing 16 Guide to Writing Assignments - U T S Business School  Organisations which have provided financial or other support (for example, a scholarship or grant)  Your supervisor (for research higher degree students)  Individuals who have provided peer review and/or editorial feedback EX ECUTIVE SUMM ARY The inclusion of a brief summary (‘Executive Summary’) is standard reporting practice and is meant to act as a guide to the contents of the report and to highlight major conclusions and recommendations. The Executive Summary derives its name from the practice of providing the executives of an organisation, that is, those responsible for making decisions and taking appropriate action, with a concise outline of the major points in a report to save them time. The detail can be pursued in more depth later by a complete reading of the report. The structure of the Executive Summary should follow the structure of the report and include brief statements on the following:  definition of the problem  aims and objectives  methods/data sources  key findings  conclusions  any recommendations for action. The Executive Summary should be brief and succinct, and may use point form to achieve this. As a rule-of-thumb, allow one page for every 5,000 words up to a maximum of five pages, and using headings in longer Executive Summaries. The inclusion of an Executive Summary is not a substitute for discussion/exposition in the full report. Example of an Executive Summary This report provides an analysis and evaluation of the current and prospective Problem context & profitability, liquidity and financial stability of Outdoor Equipment Ltd. Purpose of report Methods of analysis include trend, horizontal and vertical analyses as well as ratios such as Debt, Current and Quick ratios. Other calculations include rates of Method return on Shareholders’ Equity and Total Assets and earnings per share to name a few. All calculations can be found in the appendices. Results of data analysed show that all ratios are below industry averages. In Results particular, comparative performance is poor in the areas of profit margins, liquidity, credit control, and inventory management. The report finds the prospects of the company in its current position are not Conclusions positive. The major areas of weakness require further investigation and remedial action by management. Recommendations include:  improving the average collection period for accounts receivable Recommendations  improving/increasing inventory turnover  reducing prepayments and perhaps increasing inventory levels The report also investigates the fact that the analysis conducted has limitations. Limitations For example, as current information was not available, the results are based on past performance, and forecasting figures are not provided. Adapted from Woodward-Kron, R. 1997, Writing in Commerce: a guide to assist Commerce students with assignment writing, (Revised edition), Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle. Gu i d e t o W r i t i n g A s s i g n m en t s – UT S B u s i n e s s School 17 SYN OPSIS/ AB STR ACT An essay assignment sometimes requires a Synopsis or Abstract, in a similar way to the use of an Executive Summary for a report (see above). An abstract is often just a single paragraph. Your Subject Outline or other details you have been provided about the assignment task will clarify whether you need to include this. Like an executive summary, a Synopsis or Abstract serves the purpose of helping the reader to see in advance what the main points of the essay will be. It is important to ensure the key critical perspective or point of view is included in the Synopsis or Abstract, which typically follows a structure made up of brief statements on each of the following:  purpose of the essay  structure of the essay  main critical perspective / point of view / thesis  conclusion The Abstracts that typically preface articles published in academic journals usually provide a good model of the way that an Abstract should be written for an essay. The following example is the Abstract for a published journal article about an empirical research study with statistical findings, but its structure is basically similar to an Abstract that would be written for an essay. Example of an Abstract Abstract There has been a lot of research done to better understand the effects of taxation Orientation to topic (importance of topic) on cigarette consumption. Since cigarettes are addictive, it could be expected that taxation would have little or no effect on the number of cigarette smoked Focus (hypothesis) per day or the percentage of smokers within a given population. This paper aims to investigate these effects and, more specifically, to differentiate between adult Purpose/goal smokers and underage smokers. It will be shown that the percentage of adult smokers does not change with taxation whereas the percentage of underage smokers decreases significantly when excise taxes on cigarettes increase. In Key findings addition, it will also be shown that the average number of cigarettes smoked per day decreases as well. Sylvain, S. 2008, ‘The Effects of Excise Tax on Cigarette Consumption: A Divergence in the Behavior of Youth and Adults’, Michigan Journal of Business, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 87-109. GLOSSARY OF TERM S If your written assignment contains many specialist terms or ones whose definitions are very particular to the assignment and therefore requiring special explanation, it may be appropriate to list all such terms in a glossary, which should sit on a separate page. This is unlikely to be required for most smaller-scale coursework assignments. 18 Guide to Writing Assignments - U T S Business School LIST OF ABBR EVIATIONS If your written assignment contains many specialist abbreviations or acronyms, it may be appropriate to collect together a list of these to sit on a separate page, allowing the reader to cross-refer to the list to check the meaning. In the body of the assignment, you should always provide the full wording of any such specialist shortened terms on the first occasion that you use them, but then subsequent reference to that term can be by use of the shorter form. LIST OF TABLES/FIGUR ES If your written assignment makes use of a lot of tables, figures and other visual material, it may be appropriate to collect together a list of these to sit on a separate page. Such a list should include the number and title of each item as well as their page number. INTR ODUCTION An introduction is an essential element of any complete written assignment, whether it is an essay, a report, an oral presentation, etc. The introduction serves as a map for the reader to the whole assignment, and would normally be no more than 10% – 15% of the total length of the assignment. In longer assignments, the introduction may comprise multiple paragraphs, whilst in a research thesis it would normally comprise an entire chapter. An introduction to an essay will normally comprise at least one full paragraph or up to several paragraphs for longer essays. Essay introductions often achieve several purposes, as demonstrated in the example below, although not all these stages are necessarily present in every introduction. Most essay introductions also include a statement of the ‘thesis’ or point of view that the essay will argue. Often lecturers will prefer you to include such a statement to help them understand your essay better. Example introduction for an essay Orientation to topic Every manager has probably experienced ....... at some time in their career, and to establish interest, has probably wondered why it has occurred. Smith (2002) has commented that and identify a problem in spite of the hundreds of studies that have been reported, managers are to be solved. nowhere near having a complete understanding of ........ Indeed, a survey conducted by Jones (2004) concluded that 73% of business failures were Focus (or sub-topic) caused at least indirectly by ........ This paper will focus upon one of the more recent of.….,. The paper will review the research conducted upon the Scope (or limitations) use of behaviourally anchored rating scales during the period from 1999 to 2005 in small and medium sized enterprises. The review is motivated by the Purpose search for practical methods that managers can use. The first section of this paper will deal with the general confusion surrounding transactional leadership by raising problems of the diversity of definitions, lack Outline of essay of proper research designs, the cultural embeddedness of the concept and an over-reliance on anecdotal evidence. The review of literature will show that…. Point of view argued While a variety of definitions of the term ....... has been suggested, this paper Definition of terms will use the definition first suggested by Brown (2001), who saw it as ........ Gu i d e t o W r i t i n g A s s i g n m en t s – UT S B u s i n e s s School 19

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