How to get started writing your assignment

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You’ve unpacked the topic, gathered information, and now you’re ready to write your assignment. Most academic writing has a similar structure. Whether it’s an essay, a case study or a literature review, you will have to write an introduction, body and conclusion.

Introduction

An introduction acts as a ‘roadmap’ to your reader. It helps them to understand where you are going in your assignment, how you will get there, and what they will see along the way.  There are several distinct parts to an introduction:

  • Introducing the topic or subject area – The main aim of the first part of any introduction is to introduce the topic or subject area, and the most important concept(s) relevant to answering the question.
  • Aim or purpose – Indicate the aim or purpose of the assignment.
  • Structure or overall plan – Signal how you will present information in the assignment. In what order will the key points appear?
  • Limits or scope of the assignment – Mention any limits of your assignment. What will you emphasise? Will you be intentionally leaving anything out?
  • Argument or thesis statement – The final part of the introduction needs to clearly identify your argument or thesis statement. Some useful ways to signal your argument include: ‘This paper argues that…’; This essay contends that…’; ‘It will be argued that…’.

Body

The body is where you make points to support your argument. It consists of paragraphs structured to reflect your critical thinking about the question and the chosen order for presenting your argument.

Each paragraph should have a topic sentence, a body, and a concluding sentence. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence. This is just a sentence that expresses the main idea of the paragraph.

The body of the paragraph contains explanations, evidence and examples to support the key point of the paragraph. Supporting evidence is used to justify, explain or develop your argument.

A concluding sentence links the main idea of the paragraph back to your argument and to the assignment topic.

Conclusion

The conclusion is a summary of all the main points discussed in the assignment. It is also where recommendations may be made, your argument is evaluated, or future patterns of change are forecast.

Importantly, your conclusion should:

  • contain no new ideas or information
  • briefly list your key points
  • relate key points directly back to the question/argument.

For more information, check out our Writing your assignment study smart tutorial which includes:


Library opening hours for the Ekka public holidays

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Roll up. Roll up. The Ekka is in town!

And with that, we get a few days off! Starting next Monday, the round of Show holidays begins. These dates differ for Brisbane, Logan and Gold Coast cities.

Library opening hours have changed for the Show holidays so be sure to check the library opening hours for your campus library.

Logan Show Holiday
Mon 13 August 2018
Brisbane Show Holiday
Wed 15 August 2018
Gold Coast Show Holiday
Fri 31 August 2018
Gold Coast 7 am – 12 am 7 am – 12 am 10 am – 5 pm
Logan 12 pm – 5 pm 8 am – 8 pm 8 am – 5 pm
Mt Gravatt 8 am – 9 pm 12 pm – 5 pm 8 am – 6 pm
Nathan 7 am – 12 am 10 am – 5 pm 7 am – 12 am
Queensland College of Art 8 am – 8 pm 9 am – 1 pm 8 am – 5 pm
QCGU 8 am – 8 pm 1 pm – 5 pm 8 am – 5 pm

Hackathon 2018 a success!

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Last weekend, 4 – 5 August, we held our annual Hackathon.

Students arrived at 9 am and settled in to design, develop and showcase a mobile app.

Working in groups, our students hacked away for 30 hours. Some went home for a quick nap and shower, some rested on beanbags, others grew massive wings from copious amounts of Red Bull.

We had IT Architects on hand, to provide guidance and help with any curly questions. And food, of course, to keep their brains fuelled.

By Sunday afternoon, our student groups had come up with some stellar ideas with options that could be implemented into the Griffith University app or future app design, and showcased these to the crowd.

Our winners were the GPAMATE team: Codie Little, Rusty Blewitt, Ryan Taylor and Shayne Poole.

The GPAMATE team began as two separate groups, but when some members didn’t show they combined their forces together to create a power group.

Their app idea was based on eliminating the anxiety that comes with uncertainty over subject grades, while giving students a direction with goals to be achieved.

The app they developed allows students to monitor their GPA throughout the trimester in two key ways:

  1. 1. Entering results from assessments will update a student’s GPA score in real time.
  2. 2. Based on the weight of an assessment item within a course, the app will predict the marks a student needs in order to maintain a certain GPA score.

The consensus around the room proved this idea is much needed and desired by the students. Who else loves this app idea and can’t wait to use it?

Second place went to Group #5: Samuel Bruhn, Joshua Nicholl, Carl Humphries and Harrison Croakes. Best User Interface (UI) went to Group #1 – Uni Connect: Hannah Bryce, Michelle Beattie and Zihao Huang.

Head to our Library Facebook album for more photos from the event.

We’d like to thank our sponsors Red Bull, Microsoft, Grove Juice and Home Fresh Organics, for helping keep our students fed, hydrated, awake and engaged during the event!


4 steps to ace your assignment prep

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The first step to getting your assignment done is to understand what you need to do. You need to pull your assignment question apart to figure out how to put an answer together that will score you top marks. So how do you analyse an assignment question? Follow these 4 steps.

1. Get the bigger picture

Do you know what the learning outcomes of the course are? You need to know how your assignment fits in with the course learning outcomes and aims.

Head to the course profile in myGriffith to find out what they are. How do they relate to your assignment?

Understanding the connection will help you find the focus of the assignment.

2. Gather all the assignment information

You should be able to find all the assignment details in the course profile in myGriffith. Identify when the assignment is due, how much it’s worth (e.g. 50% of your overall course grade), how long it has to be (i.e. the word limit) and what format it should take.

You will be asked to submit assignments in different formats, such as essays, literature reviews, reports or oral presentations. The Writing your Assignment module introduces you to the different formats and provides an outline of what they could include.

Be sure to check the marking criteria. It will tell you how many marks each section is worth and how your work will be assessed. If you understand the marking criteria, you can write an assignment that ticks all the boxes for your course.

3. Decipher the assignment task

You need to identify directive, topic and limiting words in the assignment question. These important words help you figure out how to research and write the assignment.

  • Directive words – The assignment task will contain directive words like ‘examine’, ‘analyse’ or ‘compare’. Directive words tell you how to approach the assignment. Not sure what the directive word is asking you to do? Look it up in a dictionary or consult this handy Definition of Directive Words from California Polytechnic State University.
  • Topic words – Topic words identify the major concepts in your task. These will come in handy when you are looking for resources and help you stay focused on your topic.
  • Limiting words – Limiting words help narrow the scope of your assignment. They set boundaries for you and are often dates, locations or populations.

4. Ask a lot of questions

Now that you understand what you are being asked to do, it’s time to break down the task into mini questions.  Having a series of question to answer will help you focus your research and writing. It also helps you develop a logical response to the topic.

The assignment task itself may contain mini questions. It may have a primary question and a number of secondary questions. The answer to the primary question is your overall argument.

The secondary questions could be descriptive or analytical. A descriptive question asks for background information or context to the primary question. Whereas, an analytical question prompts you to dig deeper into the assignment topic.

Extract from Study Smart – Preparing for your assignment


Vote for your favourite Library Shelfie

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You’ve shown us your best Library Shelfies – now it’s time to help us select the winner of our $300 prize.

That’s right, the power is in your hands *evil laugh* to help us decide who gets the big bucks!

We’ve collated all of the entries in our Library Shelfie Instagram competition and displayed them in the gallery at the top of this page. We have to say, you lot are a creative bunch. We’ve loved seeing your awesome shelfies come rolling in.

So, how do you vote for your fave?

  1. 1. Scroll through the gallery above.
  2. 2. Choose your favourite.
  3. 3. Vote using the online poll at the bottom of this post.

We’ve re-grammed all Shelfie entries on our Instagram, @GriffithLibrary, too. So, in true Instagram style, you can also vote by liking your favourite Shelfie on our Instagram. We’ll collate these likes with the votes on our poll here to determine the winner!

Voting opens today, like right now, and closes on Friday 10 August at 5 pm. That means there’s only five days of voting, so get your skates on and vote now.

We’ll announce the winner of the 2018 Library Shelfie here on the blog and on our Griffith Library Instagram and Facebook in late August.


10 questions you should ask about university assignments

Do you have questions about your university assignments but you don’t know exactly what questions you have yet?

Like you are so overwhelmed, you can’t even begin to question what you are questioning. You know you need help, but that’s as much as you can articulate.

Well, we have questions too. Actual questions. Questions that we can not only articulate, but that come with the one thing you absolutely require from a question. An answer.

Ask Us provides you with answers to frequently asked questions at Griffith University. It covers hard hitting topics such as referencing, Learning@Griffith, assignment help, wifi, network and cybersecurity.

And since we know you are too busy studenting (that’s totally a word, right?), we took this opportunity to round up a couple of Ask Us questions that you may have about assignments.

  1. 1. How do I find scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles for my assignment?
  2. 2. How can I get help writing my assignments?
  3. 3. How can I get help referencing my assignment?
  4. 4. How can I have the grammar and spelling in my assignment checked?
  5. 5. Do I need to submit a cover sheet for Turnitin assessment items?
  6. 6. Where do I find a cover sheet for my assignment?
  7. 7. Where do I submit my assignment?
  8. 8. Is there a penalty if I submit my assignment late?
  9. 9. I submitted the wrong assignment to Turnitin. What should I do?
  10. 10. My assignment has been marked in Turnitin. How do I see my marks and feedback?

Do you have a question? Ask Us!


How to submit your assignment online

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At university, you’ll have an array of different types of assessments: written assignments, quizzes, oral presentations, exams, those dreaded group assignments, etc.

If you’ve got a written assignment, we’re sure you’ll agree that the easiest part of the process is submitting it. At Griffith, submission for these types of assessment is online, so you don’t even have to leave your computer!

We’ll guide you through the process below, though it’s super important that once you have submitted your assignment you obtain a digital receipt of your submission. This proves that yes, you totally did submit that assignment, in case (heaven forbid) anything may go wrong.

How to submit

At Griffith, all assignment submission is online. Simply head to Learning@Griffith, load up your course site and locate the submission point (you’ll find it under the relevant Assessment folder in the left hand menu).

While the method of submission depends on what your course convener has chosen, the main two essay submission assessment tools used at Griffith are Turnitin and the Blackboard Assignment tool (this includes SafeAssign). They are pretty straightforward to use, but if you need further assistance check out these guides:

Once you’ve clicked the Submit button, it’s important to check your assessment has been uploaded correctly and that you submitted the correct file. It’s best to do this straight away, because sometimes the Submission Point may get closed later, after the due date for example. To do so:

  • In Turnitin, after you see the digital receipt popup window (and have printed/saved a copy), open the file to check it. From your Submission Inbox you can either click on the title of your file or on the pencil icon. Check that your file uploaded properly.
  • In the Blackboard Assignment tool, after you see the successful submission message at the top of the page, you will now be able to see the file you have submitted on screen. At this point, ensure that the file is uploaded and can be read (if it is a text file).

The Assessment Submission and Return Procedures Policy states that for assessment tasks submitted electronically ‘the student is responsible for the files being able to be opened and viewed’, so don’t get caught out.

Get your digital receipt!

Once you’ve submitted your assignment, we really recommend you get a digital receipt. It provides solid proof that you did submit your assignment.

In Turnitin, a digital receipt will appear in a popup window when you have submitted an assignment successfully. It is a great idea to print and/or save a copy of this receipt.

In the Blackboard Assignment tool, you will get a ‘Submission received’ email after successful submission of your assignment. You can also check under the Submitted tab in your My Marks area to see submission receipts for any assignments submitted via this tool.

Need further help?

If you do encounter any issues during the submission process (or post submission), you can easily access the Support Centre in Learning@Griffith by clicking the little red tag with ? at the top right of your screen, or contact the IT Service Centre (contact details at the bottom of the page) for further assistance.