Essays and other assignments

Assignments involving extended writing are a common form of assessment in many subjects, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. But the value of assignment writing is not limited to assessment: writing assignments is an important part of the learning process in higher education. Each assignment you write is an opportunity to:

  • gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of a topic
  • develop critical thinking and reading skills
  • plan and structure a complex piece of writing
  • construct a sustained argument based on evidence
  • learn to write for an academic audience

Here are some important points to remember:

  • Address the task fully. This involves:
    - answering every part of the question and/or following all instructions
    - avoiding digressions and irrelevant material
  • Write the assignment in your own words and follow academic conventions on the use of sources
  • Ensure that the language and style are appropriate to the task. This usually means using formal language and an academic style, though in some cases (e.g. learning diaries, promotional material) a less formal tone may be more appropriate.

There are several types of assignment, including:

  • essays
  • reports
  • literature reviews
  • critiques
  • proposals
  • reflective pieces such as learning diaries and self-evaluation reports
  • professional texts such as business plans, product specifications and promotional material

These pages contain information and advice on the most common types of assignment: essays, reports, literature reviews and proposals. They also provide guidance on the process of writing an assignment.