How to write assignment
Here is a summary of common problems found in assignments from previous years, which should help you to improve your own writing.
Assignments should have a beginning, a middle and an end. Many assignments either begin or end abruptly (or sometimes both), without any introduction or conclusion.
Many assignments have hasty or rushed conclusions, suggesting a lack of pacing and/or editing. Please allow yourself space to develop adequate conclusions.
Once you have completed your assignment, you must proof read it carefully. Many assignments contain misspellings, incorrect punctuation, ungrammatical sentence constructions, poor paragraphing and so on. At best, this looks shoddy and rushed but at worst it leads to incomprehensible English, for which you will lose marks. Bear in mind that any employer will expect correct English from you, so get in the habit of proofing your own work now.
Always avoid excessive description. Your assignment should aim to give a succinct, analytical answer to the question set (and not an answer to a question you wish had been set).
Please do not rely on lecture notes for your assignments, but go back to original sources – evidence of wide reading will gain better marks.
Quoting encyclopaedias or dictionaries is questionable, but quoting Wikipedia is simply wrong. The problem with Wikipedia is that anyone can edit it, which means that you are likely to risk acquiring inaccurate material from it. This is an inadequate source on which to base an assignment.
Many assignments have problems with quotations and bibliographies. Use the Harvard system of quotation, as reflected in all three of your core text books. A quotation should give the name of the author, the date of publication and – if applicable – the page reference for the quotation itself. For example, if the quotation comes from p.101 of a book by Smith (2012), then the reference should say ‘Smith (2012: 101)’.
Bibliographies should give all references, with name of the author (in alphabetical order by family name), date of publication, title of the work, the publisher and place of publication and, in the case of websites, the date of accessing. Articles and books obviously require slightly different details. If in doubt, just use any of your core text books as a model. Failure to reference properly will lose marks. The following show how a book, chapter and article respectively should be referenced:
Ghoshal, S. and Bartlett, C. (2002) Managing across Borders. The Transnational Solution, London: Random House.
Morgan, G. (2005) ‘Multinationals and Work’, in S. Ackroyd, R. Batt, P. Thompson and P. S. Tolbert (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Work and Organisation, Oxford University Press.
McSweeney, B. (2002) ‘Hofstede’s Model of National Cultural Differences and their Consequences: A Triumph of Faith – A Failure of Analysis’, Human Relations 55(1): 89-118
You must cite a source for everything that is not your own idea. Unattributed quotations are a form of plagiarism, and any form of plagiarism – copying material that is not your own without adequate attribution – will lead to serious consequences.
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