Assignment research help

Write and cite


1. Create an outline of your essay - main points / sections

a) have a problem or a question that your essay will answer

b) add a structure to the essay - this will help the essay flow and provide a logical progression for the reader to follow

2. Develop the outline into a step-by-step plan

3. Fill in the plan quickly; do not worry about editing too much

a) your analysis turns the evidence into an argument

4. Write the introduction and conclusion

a) the introduction should introduce the topic and the basic argument of the essay

b) the conclusion should sumarise the argument without unnecessarily repeating information

5. Remember your citations & references - collect and organise them as you write

a) use evidence, quotes and paraphrasing will strengthen your argument

6. Review what you have written and edit

For more help see Student Learning - Te Taiako 


In an ideal world you would write the first draft of your essay, leave it for a day or two then return to it. However, that is not always possible but it is still important to make revisions to your assignment. Here is a checklist of things to think about after you have written all or most of your assignment: 

  • Read through your first draft and check that it makes sense, includes all the essential points
  • Look to cut unnecessary words or repetitive statements
  • Check that your arguments flow well from paragraph to paragraph
  • Compile your bibliography (reference list), check it, and check it again

Edit and proofread

Editing and proofreading will ensure that the work you submit is of a good standard. You do not want to lose marks for simple mistakes. Below is a checklist to think about before submitting your work:

  • Have you answered the question?
  • Check your assignment against the marking criteria
  • Does your assignment include all the relevant sections? e.g. a title page, introduction, conclusion, reference list
  • Does your assignment met the presentation requirements? e.g. a report has a different presentation than an essay
  • Does the assignment read well? Read it out loud to yourself or have someone else read it
  • Have you cited all your sources?


The university takes academic integrity and especially plagiarism very seriously. To avoid any issues it is vital that you learn to cite accurately. 

There are a few different citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago) so you should find out what style is required for your course and become familiar with the basic elements and expectations of the style.

Why cite?

  • to avoid plagiarism
  • to acknowledge the author
  • prove that you have done research
  • allow readers to follow up on your research
  • provide context for your research

When to cite?

Try to use at least one citation in every paragraph. This will add weight to your argument and help you get better grades.

Direct quotes - quotations should be in quote marks "..." and either cited in text or in a footnote. The sources will then be alphabetized in your bibliography / reference list

Paraphrasing when a direct quote will not work you can instead paraphrase someone else's ideas in your own words. This helps demonstrate your understanding of the material. Be careful not to lose the author's meaning and do not simply rearrange the words the author uses. Find synonyms for specific words if you are struggling.

General or common knowledge does not require a citation e.g. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand

How to cite?

  • find out what referencing style your assignment requires (check the course outline)
  • Te Waharoa, Google Scholar, and most academic databases have a tool by which you can copy + paste the citation details
  • find more information on our Referencing & Citing guide