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Writing your assignment

Description.

The Writing your assignment resource is designed and monitored by Learning Advisers and Academic Librarians at UniSA.

Table of contents

  • Interpret your task
  • Think about the topic
  • Plan your search
  • Start your search
  • Select appropriate references
  • Read, take notes and paraphrase
  • Create a plan for your assignment
  • Extend your search
  • Write your essay
  • Write your report
  • Integrate references in your writing
  • Proofread and edit your assignment
  • Get more help

Understanding the assignment task is an important first step. If you are not clear about what you are expected to do in your assignment, you could waste a lot of time researching, planning and writing about a topic which is not relevant. In turn, you may receive a poor mark because 'you didn't answer the question'. When you analyse the assignment task carefully, you can identify the specific focus so that you are clear what direction to take with your research and ensure you address all aspects of the assignment.

  • Always check your task instructions in the early stages, before you start writing.
  • Make sure you understand all parts of the assignment.
  • Your task instructions might explain the structure, formatting and type of assignment.
  • The task instructions are usually in your Course Outline, but check your Course site for more information (e.g. feedback forms, assessment tabs, links & guides).
  • the content words which show what you have to focus on
  • the instruction words which tell you how to approach the content
  • the limits of the assignment.

Locate the task instructions in your course outline and/or on your course site, and use this activity to analyse your assignment.

  • Understanding assignments and instruction words  (pdf)
  • Assignment planning  (pdf)
  • Academic skills workshops  (link)
  • Learning Advice  (link)

Once you have interpreted the task , think about the topic before you start your research. Brainstorm what you already know about the topic and what you need to find out by thinking back to your lectures, tutorials, readings or your own personal experience.  You might surprise yourself with what you already know, and you may also identify gaps in your knowledge which can help you start your initial research process.

  • Brainstorm ideas early to get you actively engaged with the topic and prepare for the research process.
  • Identify what you already know about the topic and what you might need to find out.
  • Consider how many paragraphs (and therefore ideas) you might need to write - keep in mind the word count.
  • Think about which ideas you might focus on and how you would support and develop these ideas. 
  • Use this initial brainstorming session to build the foundations of your assignment plan.

Note: This video uses an essay for an example, but the brainstorming process can apply for any assignment type (e.g. report, reflection, or case study).

Using your notes from the Interpret your task section , complete the text boxes in the mindmap below. Enter the main topic of the assignment in the central box, then add ideas you might use to develop it in the surrounding boxes. Once you have entered all your ideas, progress to the next slide where you can export your text.

  • Using mindmaps to plan assignments   (Study Help resources)
  • Linear example of an essay plan  (Courtesy: Victoria University) 
  • Bubble.us  (free online tool for creating mindmaps)

Once you have a good understanding of your topic, you need to plan your search. Taking the time to plan your search will help you search more effectively and find better results. Searching for information is an organic process that takes you down different paths, and sometimes back again, depending on your needs. Your search strategy might change as you find more information and incorporate new keywords, but it’s always useful to start with a solid plan. The process of plan, search, review, and read is one you will often repeat - don’t expect to find all the information you need in one search session. 

  • Searching for your whole assignment is not very effective
  • Mapping out your search is a good place to start
  • Identify the key concepts in your question or topic
  • You don't need to search for task words
  • Use double quotation marks (" ") to search for two or more words together as a phrase
  • Think about what other words (synonyms and alternative terms) might be used to describe the key concepts
  • You can use acronyms, but you should search for the full terms as well
  • To find fewer results, add different concepts using AND (e.g. rural AND Australia)
  • To find more results, add synonyms or alternative terms, to your search using OR (e.g. "renewable energy" OR solar OR wind)
  • You can change your search as you find more information
  • For more information, read the How to plan your search document

There are three steps involved in planning your search: identifying keywords, considering alternative keywords, and connecting your keywords. You can learn more about each step of the process by working through the slides below. The slides also include some quick tips to make your search even more effective.

Information comes in many different forms and depending on your assessment requirements, some types of information are more appropriate than others. You may even be asked to use specific types of information, such as peer-reviewed articles. When planning your search, it is important to consider what type of information you will need. Explore the diagram below to discover different types of information.   To find out more about how information is born and how it changes over time, watch this short  LinkedIn Learning video .

  • At university you will be required to use scholarly resources
  • You may also see these resources referred to as ‘academic’, ‘peer-reviewed’, ‘refereed’, or ‘reputable’ resources
  • This can include journal articles, books, book chapters, conference papers, and theses
  • Wikipedia, newspapers, magazines, blogs or personal websites can be useful, but are not considered scholarly
  • Scholarly sources are written by researchers within a subject area, contain references, and are often peer-reviewed (also called ‘refereed’)
  • Peer-reviewed articles are assessed by experts in the field before they are published
  • Many search tools will allow you to limit your results to peer-reviewed articles
  • Scholarly books are written by experts, published by reputable publishers, and contain reference

To find out more about peer-review:

  • Peer review in 3 minutes video
  • Peer review process - the Conversation article

It is important to be able to identify scholarly articles. From the information provided in the video above, identify the essential features of the scholarly article below by clicking on different elements. Scroll down to read more about each feature and check your progress.  

Creating your search strategy can be challenging. You might find some steps harder or easier than others, but you can get better at the process by practising. Remember, your search plan can change as you find more information and incorporate new keywords, but it’s always useful to start with a solid plan.

Type your answers to the questions below in the boxes provided. You will be able to export your text on the last slide.

With your search plan complete, you can start searching for relevant readings.  You can use a number of different search tools to help you find information, including the Library catalogue, Library databases, Google Scholar, and web search engines. You are not expected to use every search tool in every assignment – choose the search tool best suited to your needs.  This section will focus on techniques for searching via the Library catalogue.  For more information about how to extend your search by using other search tools such as the Library databases and Google Scholar, visit the Extend your search section.

  • Knowing where to search is just as important as knowing how to search.
  • Not all search tools will give you access to the same information.
  • Understanding why and when to use different search tools will save you time.
  • The Library catalogue is a good place to search for scholarly material.
  • It provides free access to a variety of resources types across a range of subject areas.
  • Databases help focus your search, have more advanced searching options, and will find resources not available in the Library Catalogue.
  • Google Scholar provides access to a wide range of resources, but not all of it is scholarly. Some types of material are best found using a search engine or a specific website.
  • All resources need to be evaluated before using them.

The second part of the reading process is to explore key ideas. Your background reading will have helped you to identify some areas that you need to explore further. Also, start recording the information you need for your reference list so that you can find the resources again later. Click on the referencing links below to find out more.

Explore Ideas

  • Referencing roadmap   (Harvard UniSA online guide)
  • Referencing quick guide (Harvard UniSA pdf quick guide)
  • Referencing website  (Harvard UniSA)
  • Other Referencing styles (including APA)

For more information about referencing, have a look at the  Integrating references  section.

  • The Library Catalogue has features that will save you time and make searching easier.
  • A simple search is a good place to start.
  • On the results page, look for the suggested databases or subject guides at the top of the results.
  • Use the filters under 'Tweak my Results' to find exactly what you need.
  • An advanced search gives you more sophisticated search options.
  • To get the most out of the Library Catalogue, remember to sign in.
  • Once signed in you can pin different resources and save them to your favourites folder.
  • You can also save a search to return to later and set up email alerts for new resources.
  • The "cite" button will create a citation (or reference) in different referencing styles, but always double check for accuracy.

Click on the image below to access a tutorial and practise using the Library Catalogue.

unisa assignment example

Search the Library catalogue

  • How to find scholarly sources  (pdf)
  • Ebooks Explained guide  (link)

While you are finding references, you need to be thinking about whether they are appropriate to use in your assignment.  All resources need to be evaluated before including them in your assignment – including resources found through the Library Catalogue or databases. You need to think critically about the information you find and decide whether it is suitable for your needs. This section will help you learn to evaluate information and select the most appropriate references to use. 

You will often need to refer to key authors and theories in your writing, but it can be hard to determine which are specific to your subject area. Hover over the image below to find out more about identifying important work in your discipline area.

  • Having access to a lot of information can be overwhelming.
  • Evaluating information helps you decide what resources you should use.
  • C urrency: How recent is the information? Does it suit your needs?
  • R elevance: Is the information relevant to your assignment?
  • A uthority: Who wrote the information? Are they an expert?
  • A ccuracy: Is the information accurate? Is it supported by evidence?
  • P urpose: Why was the resource created? Is there any bias?
  • You can use the CRAAP tool to think about these issues when evaluate your resources.

We all know that not everything we read online is true, but how do you spot fake information?  Predatory publishers are organisations which appear to be publishers of scholarly or academic resources, but fail to follow scholarly publishing standards like peer review or editorial review.  Fake news is another area to be cautious about. Sometimes news is accidentally reported incorrectly, but other times it is deliberately written to mislead the reader, promote propaganda, damage the credibility of another person or organisation, or to receive financial gain. One way to identify fake news is by identifying sensationalist or clickbait style headlines .  Click on the image below to enlarge the information.

Image: Phony vs Legit

To find out more about identifying 'fake scholarly information':

  • Best practice publishing standards here
  • Hijacked journals
  • Predatory vs trustworthy journals

To find out more about how to identify 'fake news':

  • UniSA Library Fake News guide
  • 'This one weird trick will help you spot clickbait’ video
  • ‘Can you spot the problem with these headlines?’ video

There are a lot of things to consider when evaluating the resources you find. The activity below will step you through the process of evaluating the resources you find in your studies.

  • Evaluating Wikipedia guide
  • Evaluate Credibility of Online Sources (Google course)
  • Learn about generative artificial intelligence in the university context (Video length: 5 minutes, 45 seconds)

Once you have found suitable references for your assignment, you can start reading and taking notes. There are different reading strategies you may apply at different stages of the assignment writing process. For instance, you might  skim a source first to identify if it is relevant,  scan the source to understand its structure, and then critically  read specific sections which are relevant to the assignment task.   While reading your sources, it is also important that you take meaningful notes which can help you think about your argument and paraphrase more effectively.  This section includes details about practical reading and note-taking strategies to help you in this process.

Watch the video (Queensland University of Technology 2018) and click through the topics below for practical reading and note-taking strategies to help you take effective notes for your assignment.

  • Strategies for effective and efficient reading  (pdf)
  • Critical reading strategies  (pdf)

The note-taking system you choose to use should be meaningful and helpful.  You should be able to look at your notes and not only understand them, but understand how they relate to your assignment task.   Watch the video (Discover Business Degrees 2015) and click through the topics below about common note-taking strategies you could try. 

  • Making effective notes  (pdf)
  • Paraphrasing  (link)
  • Note-taking methods (Massey University 2019)
  • Charting Method (template doc)
  • Cornell Method (template doc)

You may like to use the Charting Method to start grouping your sources into relevant themes.

  • Click on the purple and white crosses on the example below for more tips about the Charting Method.
  • Download the template to start grouping your readings for your task into key themes.

You may like to use the Cornell Method when reading sources in more detail.

  • Click on the purple and white crosses on the example below for more tips about the Cornell Method.
  • Download the template to start reading and note-taking for your task.

Part of writing an assignment is creating a plan, and in some courses, you may be tasked with creating a plan as part of your assignment.  A plan should build on your original brainstorming session and be informed by your research. A good place to start is the marking criteria. Use the marking criteria, in conjunction with the assessment instructions, to help you with establishing your plan. 

As you are searching, develop the argument you are going to present as early as you can. In this way, you will be more targeted in trying to find information that will assist you with presenting this argument.  Check that your argument, and your topic paragraphs, fit with the assessment details and the marking criteria before moving forward.  Keep in mind, the plan is a fluid document that may change as you explore your topic further.

What should an essay plan include?

  • This is the argument your essay is going to make in response to the assignment question.
  • The main points are going to provide the supporting evidence in answer to the assignment question. Each main point will form one of the body paragraphs.
  • For example, an introduction, body and conclusion
  • Put in your own words the evidence you have sourced and place this under the relevant main point. Ensure you provide an in-text citation with your notes

Note:  Although this video focuses on essay planning, a similar process can be applied to other assignment types.  Watch the Report writing and/or Reflective writing videos to help you consider the structure and content of these types of writing when planning for your assignment.

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Here we provide you with a number of example essay plans. Choose the style that suits you best when creating your own. If you are set an assignment task that asks for an essay plan, be sure to check the assignment requirements before creating one.  

  • Sample Essay Plan - Simple  (pdf)
  • Sample Essay Plan - Linear, structured  (pdf)
  • Sample Essay Plan - Mind Map  (pdf)

As you review this sample essay plan, hover over the underlined text for more information. 

Note: In some browsers you may need to click on the highlighted text to read the extra information.

As you are developing a plan for your assignment, you might notice that there are some gaps in your knowledge or that you don’t have enough evidence to support your argument. It’s important to remember that you won't find everything you need in your first round of searching – you will need to allow enough time for several cycles of plan, search, review, read and – search!  This chapter looks at extending your search by using Google Scholar and Library Databases. For information about starting your search in the Library Catalogue, you can visit ‘Start your search’.

Now that understand the key ideas, issues, theories and debates related to the topic, you can start your targeted reading which is the final stage of the reading process.  Using your knowledge of the topic area, you can refine your search via the Library catalogue, Google Scholar or the Library databases. Use different combinations of keywords or apply limits (filters) to your search.

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  • Google scholar advanced search allows you to easily organise your search concepts. 
  • The exact phrase box searches for phrases in the same way using double quotation marks (" ") does.
  • The at least one of the words box helps broaden your search.
  • The all of the words box helps narrow your search.
  • You can limit by date range to see more recent results. 
  • The Fulltext at UniSA link will display next to a result held in the Library Catalogue.
  • If there is no Fulltext at UniSA link, you can still double check the Catalogue by searching for the article title.
  • For more information, check out the Learn to Search Google Scholar interactive tutorial (10 minutes).

Click on the links below for more information about Google Scholar:

  • Power Searching with Google Course  (link)
  • Google cheat sheet  (pdf)

Remember, not everything in Google Scholar is scholarly, so you will need to evaluate the information you find!

It is important to search broadly to ensure you find a range of relevant academic literature to support your arguments. The interactive resource below builds on the Catalogue searching techniques we covered in Plan your search .  It guides  you through the process of developing a comprehensive search plan and d escribes the range of sources you can use to find published or unpublished literature.  It also d emonstrates how to apply your search to a ‘library database’ (a subscribed online collection of resources),  expand and narrow your results, and use two  key supplemental searching techniques ('reference harvesting' and 'identifying key journals and authors') to locate additional literature.

  • Ebooks explained guide   (link)
  • Databases by category  (link)
  • Save time searching databases (pdf)

For more help with searching for references you can contact Ask the Library via phone, chat, or email.

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Use your essay plan to  develop your introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion in full.  Your completed essay should have a clear argument which is relevant to the assignment task, logically organised so that it is easy to follow, and well supported through the use of credible and reliable sources.  In this section you will learn more about the essay writing process, paragraph writing and academic language.  Use the essay writing checklist at the end of this section to help you finalise your essay.

  • Writing an essay involves taking a position on an issue and defending it using academic support.
  • It is not a linear process - there will be planning, drafting, extra reading, redrafting and editing.
  • Essays usually have an introduction, body paragraphs, a conclusion and a reference list.
  • The introduction usually contains background information about the topic, your position and a preview of how your ideas will be organised.
  • Each paragraph has a topic sentence to introduce the focus, supporting sentences with evidence and examples and a concluding sentence to sum up the paragraph or connect it to the next one.
  • The conclusion summarises the main points of your essay and restates your position.
  • The reference list is at the end of your essay and is a list of all the sources you used in-text (in the body of your writing) to support your argument.

Click through the slides below to see what an introduction, body paragraph and conclusion look like. Click on the question marks on each slide for further information.

  • Essay writing overview  (pdf)
  • Introductions  (pdf)
  • Paragraphs  (pdf)
  • Conclusions  (pdf)
  • Reference list (Harvard UniSA) - Quick guide  (pdf)
  • Linking words and phrases  (pdf)
  • Vocabulary: Linking words and phrases  (pdf)
  • Psychology example essay  (pdf)
  • Social sciences example essay  (pdf)

Click through the slides below to learn about the key characteristics of academic writing. 

  • Academic vocabulary and phrases  (pdf)
  • Expressing yourself clearly and concisely  (pdf)
  • Tentative language  (pdf)
  • Writing objectively  (pdf)
  • Academic phrasebank   - Courtesy: Uni of Manchester (link)

Click through the topics below for tips to help you finalise your essay.

  • Your essay writing checklist (pdf)

The purpose of a report is to investigate an issue and 'report back' findings which allow people to make decisions or take action and depending on your course.  The report may require you to record, to inform, to instruct, to analyse, to persuade, or to make specific recommendations, so it is important to check your task instructions and identify the approach you are required to take.  Your completed report should consist of clear sections which are labelled with headings and sub-headings, and are logically sequenced, well developed and supported with reliable evidence . In this section you will learn more about writing a report, including process, structure and language use.  The report writing checklist at the end of this section can help you finalise your report.

  • The main purpose of a report is usually to investigate an issue and report back with suggestions or recommendations to allow people to make decisions or take action.
  • You will need to find information on the issue by reading through course materials and doing further research via the UniSA Library and relevant databases.
  • Report writing requires you to plan and think, so give yourself enough time to draft and redraft, and search for more information before you complete the final version.
  • The report is typically structured with an introduction, body paragraphs, a conclusion and a reference list.
  • It usually has headings and subheadings to organise the information and help the reader understand  the issue being investigated, the analysis of the findings and the recommendations or implications that relate directly to those findings.
  • A report can also include dot points or visuals such as graphs, tables or images to effectively present information.
  • Always check the task instructions and feedback form as there might very specific requirements for the report structure.

Locate the task instructions in your course outline and/or on your course site, and use this activity to plan your approach.

  • Reports overview  (pdf)
  • Using headings in your writing  (pdf)
  • Abstracts and introductions  (pdf)
  • Writing introductions  (pdf)
  • Writing paragraphs  (pdf)
  • Literature reviews (pdf)
  • Writing conclusions  (pdf) 
  • Constructing graphs, tables and diagrams  (pdf)
  • Psychology example report  (pdf)
  • More example reports  (link)

Click through the slides below to learn about the key characteristics of academic writing. 

  • Academic vocabulary and phrases  (pdf)
  • Expressing yourself clearly and concisely  (pdf)
  • Tentative language  (pdf)
  • Writing objectively  (pdf)
  • Academic phrasebank  - Courtesy: Uni of Manchester (link)

When writing your paragraphs, it is important that you include relevant references which support the ideas you are presenting.  The references you use need to be included in a way that convinces the reader of your overall argument.  For an overview of what referencing is and how to do it, watch the short video below. Then scroll down for examples of in-text references and what they might look like when they are integrated into a paragraph.

‘ Referencing is a standard practice used in academic writing to show your reader  which ideas  you have gathered from other sources and  where  those ideas came from’ (UniSA 2018, p. 2).  

Referencing:

  • acknowledges the ideas of others
  • allows you to use these ideas to build an argument
  • shows the range of ideas and approaches you have found and thought about
  • reflects standard academic practice and values
  • emphasises that you have used expert and reliable sources
  • prevents circumstances where plagiarism can occur. 

To learn more about referencing and to access useful resources, visit the  Referencing website.  

When including the ideas of others in your paragraphs, paraphrase them to demonstrate that you have understood what you have read, and use in-text references to acknowledge where those ideas came from. Your own voice should also be included in your paragraphs to let the reader know why these ideas are important and how they relate to the main topic and/or your argument.

Click through the slides below for examples of how to include in-text references in your sentences, and how to effectively integrate other people's ideas into your writing.

Visit the Referencing website to find out more about how to reference.  To find out about specific referencing style(s) you are required to use in your Program of studies, visit the Referencing style guides section of the Referencing site.    

Click on the information buttons below to learn more about what is covered in each section of the Referencing website or go directly to the Referencing website to explore: www.unisa.edu.au/referencing . 

Now it is time to proofread and edit your assignment to a professional standard. Proofread your writing with fresh eyes to avoid missing any careless mistakes and do this on several occasions, each time paying particular attention to a specific aspect of your writing.   Give yourself plenty of time to proofread so that you can ensure you have produced a well-structured paper which is relevant, developed, supported and convincing.  

  • Do a spelling, punctuation and grammar check before printing a copy for further proofreading.
  • Set your writing aside for a while and read with fresh eyes later.
  • Read your writing out loud so that you can hear it.
  • Ensure your argument is relevant by checking the task instructions and marking criteria.
  • Make sure your evidence is relevant, credible and sufficient.
  • relevance 
  • structure (overall and at paragraph level)
  • development of ideas in each paragraph
  • paraphrasing and in-text referencing
  • cohesion and flow
  • academic language
  • grammar, spelling and punctuation at sentence level
  • the reference list.

Note:  Before submitting your assignment, use the Editing your final draft  resource to help you check your assignment before you submit it.

  • the Interpret the task  section when proofreading for relevance of your argument and ideas
  • the Write your essay  or Write your report sections when checking your overall structure, paragraph development and expression
  • the Integrate references in your writing  section and the Referencing website when checking your paraphrases, format and integration of references in your paragraphs, and when editing your reference list
  • the English section on the Study Help site for guidance on grammar.

You can also submit your assignment draft to Studiosity or book a face-to-face appointment with a Learning Adviser to receive general feedback and advice before finalising and submitting your essay.

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Visit Workshops and more help  on the Study Help website  and find an option which suits your learning style and needs.  You can:

  • attend academic skills workshops
  • access the workshop slides and resources even if you can't attend the sessions
  • drop in and chat to a Study Help PAL
  • get 24/7 online support for your learning
  • book a 30 minute individual appointment with a Learning Adviser at UniSA
  • discover other useful resources to help you with your learning.

If you have any questions about searching for sources, you can Ask the Library .

Chat with Lwazi!

unisa assignment example

Submitting Assignments Using Turnitin

Turnitin is integrated within myunisa to uphold academic integrity by identifying non-original content in your assignments and to protect your intellectual property. here's what you need to know about using , turnitin for your submissions., when is turnitin used.

  • Selective Application : Turnitin is not used for all assignments. It is applied selectively for certain modules or types of assessments. If your assignment requires Turnitin, this will be indicated in the assignment details.

Accepting the End User License Agreement (EULA)

  • Mandatory Acceptance : If Turnitin is used for an assignment, you will be prompted to accept the Turnitin EULA. Accepting this agreement is crucial as it allows the system to check your submission for originality and protects your submitted work from being plagiarized by others in the future.

unisa assignment example

How to Submit Assignments with Turnitin

  • Submission Process : You do not need a separate login for Turnitin; it is fully integrated with your myModules and myExams. Simply go to the specific module on myModules, find your assignment, and upload your submission as usual. The system will guide you through accepting the EULA and completing your submission.

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Report Unavailable: Unable to generate a report, check that the file has enough text and that it is of the correct file type.

unisa assignment example

Error: A problem occured with the file. Resubmit the file or contact student support.

unisa assignment example

Result: Indicate the percentage originality.

unisa assignment example

  • Originality Report : After submission, Turnitin will generate an Originality Report. This report will show a percentage that represents the similarity index of your work compared to other sources. This percentage helps identify how much of your work matches content from other documents, including internet sources, previous submissions, and academic publications.

unisa assignment example

Important Notes

  • Draft Submissions : You can submit draft versions of your assignment to check the preliminary Originality Report. This allows you to make necessary revisions before your final submission without affecting your originality score.
  • Permanent Record : All submissions are stored permanently on Turnitin to ensure that future submissions do not mistakenly flag your original work as plagiarized.

This integration of Turnitin in myModules aims to support your academic journey by providing a tool that encourages original writing and ensures fair academic practices. Always ensure to adhere to the guidelines set forth for each assignment and utilize Turnitin as a resource to help maintain your academic integrity.

  • Assignments & Examinations

Assignments

  • Assignment submission with myUnisa
  • General information about assignment submission
  • How to submit multiple-choice assignment using the Unisa mobile application

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Assignments help lecturers to see whether you understand the module, and they help you to learn the work and prepare for exams. They’re critical and compulsory – you won’t be allowed to write the examination unless you’ve completed the relevant assignments.

Last modified: 2023/08/07

Library buildings are open for UniSA staff and students via UniSA ID swipe cards.   Please contact us on Ask the Library for any assistance. Find out about other changes to Library services .

  • Develop your research question
  • Search for your assignment
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  • Find government and organisation information
  • Forgotten Australians
  • Children and Youth

Finding resources for your assignment

  • REHB 6006: OT Field Practice 4: Critical Appraisal Topic
  • Evidence-Based Practice

The search process

You’ll complete a variety of assessments while at UniSA, including essays, reviews, reports and more. While assessment types may vary, the essential search process stays the same.

This page will guide you through that process, from question interpretation and search strategy creation to resource evaluation and referencing.

Understand your task

Begin by clarifying the assessment requirements. Read the assignment instructions and marking criteria supplied on your course site. The video below explains more about writing assignments at university.

If you need to develop a research topic/question, visit the  Develop your research question tab on this guide to learn how.

Key points from the video

  • Doing an assignment isn't a linear process.
  • Start by reading the task in detail, so you know what you need to do.
  • The assignment instructions and feedback sheet will explain the structure of your assignment.
  • You can find out more about different assignment types on the Study Help website.
  • You might need to revise your assignment plan as you go - this might happen a few times before you write your final draft!
  • As you read more, your argument should evolve to incorporate new information.
  • Make sure you use reliable resources to support your argument.
  • To interpret your task you will need to identify the content words and phrases - these show what you have to focus on.
  • The instruction words tell you how to approach the content, for example, describing something is different to comparing.
  • Identify the limits of your assignment by looking at keywords, word limits and other instructions.
  • Start the process early to get ahead.
  • Understanding assignments and instruction words - PDF (285 KB) The next step is to try and focus your question as much as possible. This makes it easier to identify what to search for later, to actually do the search, and to determine whether the resources found are relevant.

Think about your topic

You’ll need a broad understanding of your topic before searching. Brainstorm what you already know and what you need to investigate.

Searching for background information can build your understanding of your assignment. Find this through the Library Collection or the web (see step 6).

Select the plus symbols below to learn more about background information.

A mind map can also be helpful in organising your thoughts at this point.

Prepare your search strategy

To search effectively it is important to prepare a search strategy.

Identify the key concepts (main ideas) in your assignment. Terminology used will vary, so be sure to consider alternative terms for each. These will be your search keywords.

Have a look at the example question below to see how to start preparing your search strategy.

Example question: is it ethical for a health care professional to refuse to treat a patient? 1. Identify concepts: ethics, health care professional, refusal to treat. 2. Think of alternative terms for each concept. Include synonyms or similar words.

You can use quotation marks (“ “) to find an exact match, e.g. “healthcare professional”.

Combine your terms to form your search strategy (you'll type this in the search box):

  • combine all the search terms for the same concept using  OR This will search for any of the words included
  • combine different concepts using  AND This will search for at least one word  from each line

Search strategy: ethics or ethical or moral or morality and health care professional or health professional or health care provider or practitioner or clinician and refusal to treat or refuse to provide care or conscientious objection or patient abandonment.

This list doesn't show every possible search term, just a few examples.

Know what you need

Now consider the types of resources needed to complete your assignment. As information comes in many different formats, some types may be more appropriate to your assessment requirements.

Select the plus symbols below to read more about some of the main resources.

Peer reviewed resources

You may be asked to use 'peer reviewed' or 'refereed' references. These are evaluated by subject experts before publication, so can indicate higher quality and more authoritative information. Not all 'scholarly' or 'academic' resources are peer reviewed.

  • Study help: Scholarly sources explained (Video length: 2 min 22 sec)
  • How to find peer reviewed journal articles (PDF - 273 KB) This resource discusses scholarly articles, peer reviewed articles, scholarly books and grey literature.

Start your search

  • Where to search
  • Library Collection
  • Google Scholar

You can search for information using a range of tools, including the Library Collection and databases, Google Scholar, and internet search engines. Choose the sources that are best suited to your needs.

Select the plus symbols below to learn more about different search options.

  • Choosing where to search video (2 min 31 sec)

Basic search This is the default option when searching in the Library Collection.

1. Add in one keyword  for each concept, combining them with AND.     Note:  Searching for more general terms will find more results.  2. Select  Search . 3. Swap your keywords with your alternative terms to see different results.

Basic search containing the search strategy: ethics and health and refusal to treat

Advanced search If you would like to do a more comprehensive search, use the Advanced search.

1. Put each concept on a new line 2. Add your  alternative words , combining them with OR. 3. Select  Search.

Advanced search strategy containing ethics or ethical on the first line, and health or health care professional or practitioner on the second line, and refusal to treat or refuse to treat or conscientious objection on the third line.

Use the filters on the left to limit and refine your results. You could try limiting to:

Tick box

Medline Searching in Medline is different to searching in the Library Collection.

1. Type your first concept and alternative words into the search box. 2. Untick the box labeled  Map to Subject Heading .

Search box containing the search strategy: ethics or ethical or moral or morality.

Scopus You can do a basic or advanced search, just like in the Library Collection.

1. Type all your keywords for your first concept into the search box. 2. Select the plus symbol to the right to add a line for your next concept. 3. Add all your keywords for your second concept into the search bar. 4. Repeat steps 2-3 until you have used all your concepts. 5. Select Search .

Advanced search with search strategy: ethics or ethical or moral or morality on the first line, and health or health care professional or clinician on the second line, and refusal to treat or refuse to treat or refuse to provide care on the third line.

More useful databases:

  • Web of Science

Google Scholar You can search Google Scholar in the same way as a  basic search on the Library homepage.

  • Access Google Scholar on the  Library website
  • Follow the instructions to link your session to UniSA
  • Use the basic Collection search on the Library website
  • Look for the PDF links or Fulltext at UniSA links to access the resource

Basic search containing search strategy: ethics and health and refusal to treat.

Relevant websites

To find relevant websites that are recommended for your area of study, have a look at the Find evidence: government and organisation information  tab in this guide.

You could also visit the following resources:

  • Aboriginal Health page
  • Aged Care and Mental Health page  
  • Data and Statistics page
  • Grey Literature Guide
  • Mental Health 0-65 page
  • Migrants and Refugee Health page
  • Rural and Remote Health page

You can use Google to search for information from professional bodies, governments, and non-government organisations. This might include reports, clinical guidelines, professional standards, codes of conduct, and more.

Google has a number of useful search features that can make your searching more efficient:

  • Google Search Tips

LibKey Nomad

If you are looking for information on the internet, it's worth downloading LibKey Nomad. It's a browser extension that will look for full text PDFs of journal articles from websites outside of the Library Collection. This is helpful when looking on pages such as Wikipedia, because you can easily access and read the articles from the reference list. Instructions to download LibKey Nomad are available here .

Select appropriate references

You should critically evaluate all resources found to determine their appropriateness for your assignment. The video below explains more.

  • Having access to a lot of information can be overwhelming.
  • Evaluating information helps you decide what resources you should use.
  • One technique you can use is the  CRAAP test .
  • Currency:  How recent is the information? Does it suit your needs?
  • Relevance:  Is the information relevant to your assignment?
  • Authority:  Who wrote the information? Are they an expert?
  • Accuracy:  Is the information accurate? Is it supported by evidence?
  • Purpose:  Why was the resource created? Is there any bias?
  • You can use the CRAAP tool to think about these issues when evaluating your resources.

Correctly reference your sources

You must appropriately cite (‘acknowledge’) all references used in your assignment to avoid plagiarism.

  • Referencing hub

Write it up

  • Written assignments
  • Oral presentations
  • Videos / Podcasts

The  Study Help: assignment writing  page has lots of information to help you with writing various types of assignments, including

  • Study help: Writing essays
  • Study help: Writing reports
  • Study help: Writing case studies
  • Study help: Writing literature reviews
  • Study help: Writing annotated bibliographies
  • Study help: Reflective writing

The following resources will help you prepare for oral presentations:

Watch:  Building great business presentations  (1:08:00) Read: Oral presentations (Study Help page) Read: Ten simple rules for making good oral presentations

The following resources will help you formulate your debate:

Visit:  Toastmasters International website Read: Debating: a brief introduction for beginners (Debating SA) Watch:   Debate skill: argument building (11:08) Watch:   Debate lesson: refutation and rebuttal (11:11)

The following resources will help you create videos:             Watch: How to write a script  (3:51)

The following resources will help you create podcasts:             Watch:  Producing podcasts  (1:42:00)             Watch:  How to start a podcast (14:26)

Open source (free) software:

  • Sceencast-O-Matic

Navigate to the report and feedback survey.

If you need help, just ask!

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The text within this Guide is licensed CC BY 4.0 . Image licenses can be found within the image attributions document on the last page of the Guide. Ask the Library for information about reuse rights for other content within this Guide.

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  1. PDF Structuring an assignment

    2.1 Plan Schedule your work on a particular assignment over a specific period, such a three weeks. Stick to the schedule. 2.2 Consult the prescribed study material- Tutorial letter 101, appropriate study guide and other relevant sources. 2.3 Study the instructions of the assignment and the guidelines- look at the type of an assignment.

  2. Do your assessments

    To check that Unisa has received your assignment, login to myUnisa, click on "myAdmin", "Assessment Admin" and then "Assignments submission". Types of assessments. ... If descriptions are required, for example, then mere artefacts/specimens/photos are inadequate. Please adhere to format and submission requirements.

  3. Writing your assignment: Write your essay

    The Writing your assignment resource is designed and monitored by Learning Advisers and Academic Librarians at UniSA. Write your essay. Use your essay plan to develop your introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion in full. Your completed essay should have a clear argument which is relevant to the assignment task, logically organised so that ...

  4. PDF DO YOUR ASSIGNMENTS

    that your assignments are received by Unisa (preferably 72 hours before the closing date). To enquire whether the university has received your assignment, go to myUnisa or send an e-mail to [email protected] (include your student number in the subject line). Assignments may be • submitted via myUnisa (online) • placed in a Unisa assignment box

  5. PDF LAYOUT AND FORMATTING GUIDELINES FOR PRINTED ASSIGNMENTS

    The information contained in this brochure was correct at the time of publication (20 November 2019) | STUDY @ UNISA | Section 3 47 Set the paper size to A4, default tray, auto feed or auto select Set the left margin to at least 2,5cm and the right margin to 5cm Use black ink Font size: 16 for headings 12 for normal text Use common fonts, eg

  6. Writing your assignment: Write your report

    The Writing your assignment resource is designed and monitored by Learning Advisers and Academic Librarians at UniSA. Write your report. The purpose of a report is to investigate an issue and 'report back' findings which allow people to make decisions or take action and depending on your course. The report may require you to record, to inform ...

  7. PDF TUTORIAL LETTER 201

    The following tutorial letter contains the ideal solutions for the first assignment. The answers are not exhaustive but provide you with an example of an approach to the assignments that would have gotten you a distinction grade. 3. The Ideal Solutions for Assignment 1. Questions: For a value of 20 marks each please discuss briefly what your ...

  8. Writing your assignment

    Sample Essay Plans. Here we provide you with a number of example essay plans. Choose the style that suits you best when creating your own. If you are set an assignment task that asks for an essay plan, be sure to check the assignment requirements before creating one. Sample Essay Plan - Simple (pdf) Sample Essay Plan - Linear, structured (pdf)

  9. What my UNISA assignments look like

    Hi !Here is one of my assignments. I try and keep it as simple as possible. I will share the feedback from this assignment as soon as I receive the marked as...

  10. PDF 3.C ASSIGNMENTS Assignments should include CONTINUED

    • Post each assignment in an individual Unisa C4-sized assignment envelope (extra postage is required for C4-sized envelopes). • Include your module code, assignment number and student number on each page. Due to delays at the South African Post Office, we advise you to submit assignments via myUnisa (online), by courier or at

  11. General information about assignment submission

    Assignment submission methods. All Assignments should be submitted online (via the Internet) using the myUnisa site. Join myUnisa. Before you can use the online assignment submission functions on myUnisa, you have to join as a myUnisa user and allocate yourself a password. Only students who are registered for the current academic year may use ...

  12. Take-Home or Portfolio Exam (File Upload) On myUnisa

    Login with your student number and myUnisa password. Find the module code for which you want to submit a take-home or portfolio answer file. The link will only display if the examination session is still open for submissions. Click on the link to submit your answer file. A new screen will open that will guide you through the steps to upload ...

  13. myModules Guide: Submitting Assignments Using Turnitin

    Turnitin is integrated within myUnisa to uphold academic integrity by identifying non-original content in your assignments and to protect your intellectual property. Here's what you need to know about using ... If your assignment requires Turnitin, this will be indicated in the assignment details. Accepting the End User License Agreement (EULA)

  14. Assignments

    Assignment submission with myUnisa Deadlines General information about assignment submission Plagiarism Results. Assignments. Assignments help lecturers to see whether you understand the module, and they help you to learn the work and prepare for exams. They're critical and compulsory - you won't be allowed to write the examination unless ...

  15. Finding resources for your assignment

    Begin by clarifying the assessment requirements. Read the assignment instructions and marking criteria supplied on your course site. The video below explains more about writing assignments at university. If you need to develop a research topic/question, visit the Develop your research question tab on this guide to learn how.

  16. UNISA Assignment submission

    UNISA Assignments Submission. User Name: Password: University of South Africa UNISA Assignments Submission. User Name: Password ...

  17. Do your assessments

    To check that Unisa has received your assignment, login to myUnisa, click on "myAdmin", "Assessment Admin" and then "Assignments submission". Types of assessments. ... If descriptions are required, for example, then mere artefacts/specimens/photos are inadequate. Please adhere to format and submission requirements.

  18. Assignments

    For example, if your year mark is average (say 60%) and you gets 80% in the exams, your year mark will be disregarded. TYPES OF ASSIGNMENTS: Informal Assignment for students with Internet access ... Put your assignment in a Unisa envelope and post it to Unisa. (Use the services and procedures booklet, that you have received with your ...