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Assignment Essentials: Step 1: Plan

Study the requirements of the assignment:


Step 1

How many words?

Next step →

Step 2

Which font?

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Step 3

Which Referencing style?

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Step 4

Is a Bibliography required?

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Step 5

MOST IMPORTANTLY , When is it due?


Next, look at the title of the assignment, and try to understand what it requires. For example, is it an analytical title that requires researching the subject thoroughly and presenting the findings in a manner that reects both the negatives and the positives and includes your own viewpoint? For example: The role of the Church in Irish Education in the 20th century.

Or, it could be an argumentative title, where you need to present two opposing views, stating your own view and supporting arguments in favour of your viewpoint. For example: Banning abortion is not an effective deterrent.
Then identify the “Action words” and “Topic words”.
Action words are abstract terms such as "analyse," "compare," "explore reasons for," etc.
Topic words are “keywords” that can generate synonyms or alternative words - useful for searching forbooks and journal articles to help you write your assignment.
At this point you might need to use mind mapping, brain storming or clustering to structure your thoughts and ideas.

Mind Mapping

Creating a mind map allows you to put a structure on your thoughts and your assignment - identifying possible themes for your argument or topic, and grouping similar sub-topics together. Read more here:

Here's an example of a mind map on the subject of Water:

15 Creative Mind Map Examples for Students from Focus THE CREATIVITY & PRODUCTIVITY BLOG, MeisterLabs GmbH

Reading Lists

If you have been given a reading list with your assignment title read the prescribed (essential) sources. Also consult the additional (recommended) sources.

They will help you understand what your lecturer is looking for and help you structure your essay. You will then see what additional information you need to search for to provide evidence for your argument.

Even if your assignment doesn't include a specific reading list you will have been given one for the module, so examine it for relevant resources and make sure to read what your lecturer has recommended.

Start with the reading list, but don’t restrict yourself to the reading list.