Assignment Writing


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Assignment Writing

  1. 1. Assignment writing<br />
  2. 2. Aims<br />Explore the assignment writing process<br />Examine the structure of an assignment<br />Define the key elements of each section of the assignment<br />Identify key questions to ask yourself at each stage of the assignment writing process<br />
  3. 3. Structure<br />An academic assignment will typically include the following sections:<br />Title Page<br />Acknowledgements<br />Abstract (150 words)<br />Introduction (10%)<br />Literature Review (30%)<br />Methodology (10%)Findings & Interpretation (30%)<br />Conclusions & Recommendations (10%)<br />Critical Reflections<br />References<br />Appendices<br />
  4. 4. Assignment structure<br />
  5. 5. Title page etc<br />Title Page<br />Programme name, your name, assignment title and number, tutor’s name, date of submission<br />Contents page<br />Itemising chapter headings and page numbers<br />Acknowledgements<br />To recognise those who helped in compiling the assignment or supported your studies<br />
  6. 6. Abstract<br />Optional – but good practice<br />A taster – not an introduction<br />Should summarise & preface all sections in brief, not just the conclusions<br />Prompt questions<br />What was your focus? Why focus on this issue?<br />What theories informed your research?<br />How have you undertaken your research?<br />What have you found?<br />What is your main conclusion & recommendation?<br />
  7. 7. Choosing a topic<br />Identify a topic area that is relevant to the assignment question<br />From this broad topic area focus your attention on one particular aspect<br />Key questions in developing your idea/ defining the problem situation<br />What initially drew you to the problem situation/ inspired the idea?<br />What particularly interests you about this issue/ area?<br />What do you want to find out? What do others want to find out?<br />How does this relate to the material covered on the module/ programme?<br />Why is this area worth investigating – personally or organisationally?<br />Clarify your focus before you start reading and continue to refine your focus as you read<br />
  8. 8. Study Skills<br />Reading<br />Studying for a higher qualification is going to involve reading widely, beyond the set texts<br />Likely to involve ‘Snowballing’: when reading something leads to other literature<br />Journal articles may give a neat summary of theory<br />Abstracts allow you to browse: if it looks interesting read it; if not, don’t<br />Make referencing easy<br />Take notes and Photocopies of sources<br />Reference them as you go: who wrote it? when? where? page numbers etc<br />
  9. 9. Introduction<br />Set the scene for the reader<br />Identify your focus; your interest; terms and parameters<br />Background and context of the issue – focus on the issue not the organisational context<br />State your aims and objectives for the assignment – what do you hope to achieve in studying this issue<br />Clarify the scope – what is in and what is not?<br />
  10. 10. Literature review<br />Review and critical discussion of relevant theory<br />Summarise relevant theories, models, ideas – not everything you have read<br />Compare, contrast, critique<br />Explore relative merits of chosen literature<br />Explain why it is relevant to what you are doing<br />NOT a regurgitation of literature but a demonstration of understanding of key arguments and concepts<br />Don’t just describe models, explain what they do<br />Acknowledge sources<br />Your chance to show how widely you have read and the degree to which you understand what you have read<br />
  11. 11. Sources<br />Literature Review<br />Books; refereed journal articles<br />Peer reviewed literature<br />Review the literature critically<br />Primary<br />Research conducted by you specific to your topic<br />Interviews, questionnaires<br />Field research, generating new insight<br />Building on secondary sources<br />Secondary<br />Web searches and newsgroups<br />Company reports and internal documents<br />Magazine and newspaper articles<br />Consultant’s reports<br />TV and Radio programmes<br />Keeping up to date<br />Look for gaps<br />
  12. 12. Being ‘Critical’<br />In an academic environment, being critical means:<br />Being open-minded<br />Being intellectually sceptical about ideas, claims and arguments<br />Not accepting things at face value<br />Questioning assumptions and ‘taken for granteds’<br />Questioning existing structures and practices<br />Focus can be:<br />Underlying assumptions<br />Meaning of words<br />Methodology<br />Data collected<br />Interpretations made on data<br />Reasoning/argument<br />Your findings<br />
  13. 13. Being critical when writing<br />Present evidence to support your reasoning<br />Read your own writing critically<br />View the issue from multiple perspectives<br />Acknowledge the contribution, merits and strengths but in a qualified way<br />Reject, rebut, refute, reformulate, test and extend<br />Identify gaps, absences, limits<br />Evaluate the importance of omissions and flaws<br />Take new points of view<br />
  14. 14. Assignment structure: discuss<br />Section 3: Analysis, Findings and Interpretation<br />Analyse the business issue using your chosen theory(ies)<br />Present what you have found in your analysis; relate your findings to the research question and acknowledge problems and constraints<br />Present a balanced discussion giving opposing views leading to your synthesis<br />What lessons are there for you? What lessons are there for the organisation? How might the issue be taken forward?<br />Logically sequenced sections; helpful headings<br />Use appropriate tables, graphs, charts and diagrams to support/ illustrate your discussion<br />Edit to tell a coherent story<br />
  15. 15. Assignment structure: discuss<br />Section 4: Conclusions and recommendations<br />Summarise key elements of discussion then provide a concluding commentary<br />Follow by (if appropriate) recommendations driven by findings/ conclusions<br />No surprises: not the place to introduce new concepts!<br />Section 5 : Critical reflections and learning<br />This is your forum, where you reflect on the assignment and the experience of researching/writing it<br />What are the key learning points for you personally and for BAE SYSTEMS?<br />What were you pleased with; what were you less happy with?<br />What would you do differently next time?<br />Try to relate your observations to a learning model<br />
  16. 16. Assignment structure: support<br />References<br />Acknowledge your sources!<br />In the text: Dicken (1998 p40)<br />In references (book): Dicken,P (1998) Global Shift: transforming the world economy, Paul Chapman, London<br />In references (journal article): Dicken,P (1998) The changing geography of Japanese foreign direct investment in manufacturing industry: a global perspective, Environment and Planning Vol 20 pp 633-53<br />Organise your references as you are reading and writing up<br />
  17. 17. Assignment structure: support<br />Appendices<br />Supporting material – not essential reading<br />Numbered with titles as referred to in the text<br />If you haven’t referred to an appendix in the text, its probably not worth including as an appendix<br />Keep them relevant; restrict to a sensible length and number<br />
  18. 18. Assignment writing<br />Getting started<br />No need to begin at the beginning<br />Start writing up well in advance of hand in date – even if revisions are necessary<br />Be prepared to draft and re-draft<br />Assignment plan<br />Brief notes as to what you intend to include in each section of the assignment including word budget<br />What theory(ies) or model(s) you intend to apply<br />Bring to tutorial<br />
  19. 19. Assignment writing<br />Writing up<br />Expression should be clear, relevant, simple<br />Suitable diagrams can add clarity<br />Explain and defend your thought processes. What is your evidence?<br />Bring in the theory – how did it work when you put it into practice? What other frameworks could you have used?<br />The reader is interested in your learning<br />
  20. 20. Assignment writing<br />Stick to the rules<br />3,000 words, neatly typed and presented<br />Check grammar and spelling – get it proof-read<br />Name and number all the pages<br />Reference and acknowledge the work of others<br />Start new sections on a new page<br />Hand it in on time<br />
  21. 21. Marking<br />Read the handbook<br />You will get credit for:<br />Application of theory to a practical problem<br />Evidence of wide reading<br />Critical analysis<br />Synthesis<br />Clear link between analysis, conclusions and recommendations<br />Good use of English<br />Good signposting<br />
  22. 22. Analysis and Synthesis<br />Analysis is defined as the procedure by which we break down an intellectual or substantial whole into parts or components<br />Synthesis is defined as the opposite procedure: to combine separate elements or components in order to form a coherent whole<br />Analysis and synthesis, as scientific methods, always go hand in hand<br />Every synthesis is built upon the results of a preceding analysis and every analysis requires a subsequent synthesis in order to verify and correct its results<br />
  23. 23. Analysis and Synthesis<br />