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Types of assignments

This guide will explain the types of assignment required at USW. Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn a Gymraeg

Writing at University books

How to Write for University

Online edition also available on FINDit.

Just Write

This is a basic, short guide that helps students make the transition to writing at college or university as simple as possible, providing them with the basic skills they need to write in an effective academic style.


Writing skills
A short guide from USW Study
Skills on writing skills.


A short guide from USW Study
Skills on reports.


A short guide from USW Study
Skills on reflective essays.


An essay is a short piece (typically between 2000 to 4000 words) focused on a topic, normally structured in three sections:

  • an introduction where the question or questions to answer and the structure are laid out, including any boundaries; this section also offers a rationale: in other words, it tells the reader why that particular question is being asked and any background.
  • the main body, divided into themes that answer the questions laid out in the introduction;
  • a conclusion, with final conclusions, limitations and any proposed future work.

Some of the most important elements of good essay writing include:

  • presence of evidence;
  • precision;
  • a flow, so that ideas move from one paragraph to the next;
  • each paragraph begins with a topic sentence;
  • proofreading.


Some useful resources:



A report is a piece of writing that focuses on presenting facts and figures while essays concentrate on discussing arguments and presenting opposing views. Additionally, reports have a table of contents and are organised into numbered sections and sub-sections.

The structure of a report is largely dependent on its themes, but this generic template is used by most reports:

  • Table of contents
  • Abstract or Executive summary
  • The Introduction describes the purpose of a report, offers a rationale (i.e., why it is necessary) and lays out its aims and objectives.
  • The Literature Review offers a summary and critical appraisal of relevant literature.
  • The Methods or Methodology describes and justifies how data has been collected.
  • The Results or Findings section presents the data.
  • In the Discussion, the results are analysed and discussed.
  • The Conclusion offers a summary of the report, especially in relation to the aims and objectives. It might also include a discussion on limitations and recommendations for future work.
  • Appendices with additional information
  • References


Some useful resources:

Reflective essays

A reflective essay consists in a piece of writing with reflections on an event, an activity or even a work project. They are an essential element in portfolios of practice or work placement reports.

In reflective essays, descriptive sections (what, who, where, when) set the scene and explain what the event or experience was. However, for this type of essays, most sections should aim to answer how and why something happened: they include reflections of why something went well or wrongly, what learning occurred during the experience and what might be done differently next time.

These are well-known models for reflective writing:


Some useful resources:


Case Studies

A case study is a focussed analysis of a person, organisation, group or event. The most important aspect of case studies is that they are informed by theory and set out recommendations for solutions and improvements.

A case study usually include:

  • A description of the facts;
  • a list of events;
  • a list of people involved in the case;
  • the main issues related to this case;
  • links to theories (for example, organisational or leadership theories);
  • solutions.


Some useful resources: