Assignment Writing

Introduction to Assignments

Assignments are your opportunity to show your tutor that you understand course content to the required standard.  An assignment may be written, verbal or performed.  The assignment may be an essay, report, literature review, oral presentation, annotated bibliography, or any other document or task your tutor sets.

To help you understand the assignment expectations you are provided with three things:

Ensure you allow enough time to complete the entire task, including planning, researching, drafting, redrafting, proofreading, and editing.  A better result is achieved by spreading the work over several weeks than by cramming the process into a few days.


Academic Writing Style

Academic writing is formal in style.  The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association details academic writing requirements.  These requirements are universal to all students’ work studying at institutions using the APA style of formatting. Following, are some of the academic writing conventions.

  • Keep your writing free of slang, clichés, colloquialisms.
  • Remove biased language relating to gender, race and ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, etc.
  • Be concise using no more words than necessary to convey meaning.
  • Use full words rather than contracted words, e.g., write do not rather than don’t.
  • Ensure grammar and punctuation are correct.
  • Use the 3rd person, not the 2nd person (you) or 1st person (I, my) except in reflective or journal writing, or when your tutor has given permission to do so.
  • Use present tense when integrating research, but past tense may be used when describing a past event.
  • Ensure the ideas presented are evidence-based (researched), and are presented logically.
  • Be objective.  Avoid using adjectives such as nice and fantastic, and adverbs suchas often and sometime, which are imprecise and present generalisations or opinion rather than fact.
  • Although the work is based on research, your own style and voice must be present with researched material integrated into your writing.



Finally, remember to write for an audience that is intelligent but unknowledgeable about the topic of your assignment.


Write for an audience that is intelligent but unknowledgeable about the subject.



American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.



Material adapted from the following source:

Schwartz, B. M., Landrum, R. E., & Gurung, R. A. R. (2010). An easy guide to APA style. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.


Updated January 2016