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Types of assignments

Assignment types indicate to you the style and structure which your teacher expects the information you are presenting to be in.

Typical assignment types include:

  • Essays
  • (Academic) Poster
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Reflection

For more information see the Guide Types of Assignment.


An essay:

  • Has a definite structure - all essays should have an introduction, main body and conclusion.
  • Is based upon researched fact not personal opinion - your tutor wants you to interrogate a range of experts and structure your essay on evidence based facts.
  • Is precisely and concisely written - you should make every word count and not include any distracting or irrelevant information.
  • Requires proofreading several times to check for spelling, punctuation, grammar, structure and (most importantly) meets your assignment criteria.
  • Will be assessed against set module learning outcomes. 


You have been asked to produce a academic poster as a method to display your research.  This is a common method used within many professions to publicise information and ideas.

  • Plan the content - identify the main message and key points.  Think about how you are going to capture and hold the attention of your audience.
  • Plan the visual content - think about whether the content works best as text or a graphic.  Plan your design noting the point of entry and the logical flow of the information.  How are you going to ensure your audience knows how to read your poster?
  • Create  - create your poster, for example using PowerPoint. 
  • Proof read the contents and edit as necessaryEnsure that your spellings, grammar and referencing are correct.  Check the print quality and readability of the poster.
  • Remember: academic posters contain academic information and therefore need to be formal, structured and include citations and references (the final box/image on your poster needs to be a reference list).


Delivering a presentation is a skill you are required to develop.  There are different visual aids you can use to help you to present; for example, Microsoft PowerPoint is frequently chosen by students and staff.

The key to delivering a confident and professional presentation is to:

  • Plan - what is the purpose of the presentation?  You need to have a clear aim and know what is expected from you.
  • Prepare - know what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.  Ensure that you have researched the topic and presented the information in a logical and interesting way.
  • Practice - double check everything to ensure it meets the requirements as this will increase your confidence.
  • Present - with knowledge and enthusiasm and continue to develop coping strategies to ensure nerves do not get the better of you.

Remember, you are the presentation - not the resources you choose to use.


Reports are usually written to record the methodology, results and conclusions of an investigation (this may be as a result of primary research (often practical and undertaken by you) or secondary (analysis of current literature and evidence)

They are written for easy reading and discussion so headings, sub-headings, numbering, bullet points, images, tables and graphs can all be used.  Use concise, business-like language so that the reader of your report can easily understand.

Reports can be written in a variety of ways, there is not just one correct way (check assignment guidelines). A report may consist of sections such as:

  1. Title  - be specific.
  2. Introduction – aim(s), objectives and why this is an important area for investigation?
  3. Methodology – what you did to investigate and/or research this subject?
  4. Findings and discussion – what you found out and what the findings mean?
  5. Conclusions – what conclusions you made? 
  6. Recommendations - if needed.
  7. References
  8. Appendices


What is reflection?  You reflect when you give ‘serious thought’ to a situation you have experienced.

Why reflect? Reflection helps you avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.  It gives you an opportunity to think deeply about a specific subject/issue and to investigate it, so that next time you encounter the same situation you can be ‘better’ in what you do.

What does reflection involve? Questioning – investigating – action planning.  Looking at events through the eyes of others.

Is there a structure to reflection?  Various models can be used to help you structure and clarify your ideas.  Popular ones are the Driscoll Reflective Model (2010) or Gibbs (1988) but there are many others.  The choice of model depends of the type of reflection (e.g. action orientated, process driven or personal feelings).

How does it support my development? Reflection should lead to action planning.  What have you learnt from your investigation?  How can you improve your performance in a similar situation next time?