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Information & Advice

...for Students

...for Staff

...on Assistive Technology

Writing 6 - Presenting an Assignment




All essays should be well presented whether hand written or word-processed. Generally, tutors will expect assignments to be word-processed. Word processed assignments should look attractive and be easy to read and understand.


Always consult your module or course handbook, as conventions vary. Some general suggestions, if specific guidance has not been given are as follows:


  • Number the pages
  • Use an easy-to-read ‘open’ (sans serif) font, for example arial 12 point. Avoid decorative fonts, as they are difficult to read
  • make sure your name and the correct date are clearly visible
  • Include the title, preferably on a separate page.
  • Clearly indicate the word count at the end of the essay.
  • Submit the essay in a presentation file, not loose leaf or in a clear plastic wallet.
  • Use headings and subheading, where appropriate
  • For lengthy reports, consider using a contents page
  • Label tables and diagrams
  • Leave sufficient margins for tutors to make comments (for example in Microsoft Word, go to File-page set up-margins and select top/ bottom 2.54cm and left/right 3.17cm spacing.
  • Check that you have made correct use of paragraphs (do not indent unless for large quotations)
  • Check that quotations are indented and/or italicised as required (see course/ module handbook, if unsure of conventions)



Reports follow a different format to conventional essays. Always consult your module or course handbook, as conventions vary.  Some general suggestions for structure if specific guidance has not been given are as follows:


› title page

› summary

› contents page

› introduction

› main body of text (with sections/chapters to suit your material)

› conclusion

› recommendations

› bibliography, if appropriate

› appendix/appendices



Dissertations are extended pieces of writing and use much broader research and reading. For specific information for your dissertation, consult your module handbook. Alternatively, your course tutor, or dissertation supervisor should be able to provide guidance on the specific format, but some suggestions for structure include the following:

  • Title (as a front page)
  • Acknowledgements (thanking specific people for help and support)
  • Abstract ( a summary of the whole dissertation given in very broad terms)
  • Contents list (this may include a list of the figures, tables and images as a separate list)
  • Introduction (include the aims of the research)
  • Literature review (brief discussion on some of the key information available on your given topic and the main findings. Outline links to your own research.)
  • Methodology (how the research was conducted, for example what methods were used? This section requires very specific and detailed information about how what you did and all of the background to your research)
  • Results (the main findings of your research)
  • Analysis (an explanation and discussion of the research findings. Did they match your aims? How do they link to theory? Are they significant?
  • Conclusion (a summary of key findings, similar to the conclusion that you might write for an essay)
  • Recommendations (this section may be appropriate for practical research, for example in health, social policy, teaching fields)
  • References (sources used for the written work)
  • Bibliography (all sources consulted) [HTML link to section below on constructing a bibliography]
  • Appendices (include any supplementary materials mentioned in the dissertation, for example questionnaires or data. This section should be numbered and these numbers linked from your text – they should appear in the same order in the Appendix, as they do in your text)

To create a bibliography in Word


A quick and easy way to keep track of references and to sort them alphabetically at the end, is to compile a table in Word

Text Box: 1.	Go to table  2.	Insert table  3.	Fill out details as you go along  4.	Make sure that you only use one   row per entry  5.	When complete:  6.	Go to table  7.	Select table  8.	Go to table  9.	Select sort  10.	Check that  settings are as follows  11.	Then click ok


To remove gridlines before you print:

  • Go to table
  • Select table
  • Table autoformat
  • Select none for format as follows:
  • And select ‘OK’

Specific information has been made available on proof reading.


Editing checklist


Have you made your purpose clear?


Have you identified your readers?


Have you remembered these all the way through?



Have you included the main points?


Are the points supported by evidence?


Is the information relevant to the purpose?



Are there spelling mistakes?


Is the grammar and punctuation correct?


Do the figures add up?


Are the references correct in the text and at the end?


Are all sources of information listed in the “References” section?


Images (including graphs, charts, tables)

Are all images clear?


Are they labelled?



Is there a balance between sections?


Do the most important items have the most space?


Is the report easy to follow?


Is it easy to find information in the report?


Are the headings and numbers clear?


Are the arguments followed through?


Is it logical and easy to follow?



Is it clear, direct and easy to read?


Will the readers understand it?


Will its tone help achieve the purpose?


Can unnecessary words or phrases be deleted?


Is there any repetition?



Is the layout appealing?


Does it highlight important points?


Have you used an appropriate, easy-to-read font


Have you selected appropriate file for the assignment, for example ring binder for a portfolio or presentation file for an essay?


Have you used the appropriate conventions as set out in your module or course handbook, for example referencing?