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Considering the additional assignment notes

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Often you will be provided with some additional information about an assignment topic. You should read these details carefully, as they will provide you with valuable clues as to how to approach the assignment and how to complete particular sections.

Additional assignment notes

Make sure you fully understand the requirements of the assignment. If you are unsure, ask your tutor/lecturer to explain. The main purpose of this assignment is to gather current facts and well-informed opinion, and to summarize these in your own words.

Sources of information

Text books may provide you with background information, but they will not be a major source of information for this assignment. You will find that journals and internet sites provide you with more up to date information in the field of computer technology. You should use information from a range of recently published sources: for example, do not use several articles from the same journal or by the same author. You should also consider the reliability of the information you use and make sure it is central to your topic.

Referencing

You are being asked to summarize the opinion of experts in the field. This will involve quoting, paraphrasing and acknowledging the sources of these opinions. You should use the Harvard Referencing System. Remember that you must substantiate any claims you make with supporting references and that you should indicate any assumptions you make. Marks will be deducted for poor referencing.

Guidelines for presentation

Report writing is an important aspect of Information Technology and you are expected to prepare and present all assignments in a professional manner.

Attention to the basic elements of expression such as spelling, punctuation, grammar is essential. Care must be taken to use quotations and referencing correctly where appropriate. You must also avoid plagiarism.

You must word process your assignment (handwritten assignments will not be accepted). In addition, you must keep a file copy of your assignments until the printed copy has been marked and returned to you.

The assignment should have:

  • a title page
  • an abstract
  • a table of contents
  • a reference list
  • appendices

In summary

  1. Where should you obtain information to complete this assignment?

    The assignment description states that you should use articles from a range of different journals and internet sites published over the last two years which provide reliable information relevant to one of the four areas of computer technology listed: primary memory, touch screens, hard disk drives, or scanners. As part of the assignment, you are expected to find articles in computer magazines, for example PC World or Computer World, and academic journals, for example publications by the IEEE Computing Society or the Association for Computing Machinery (AMC). Magazine articles will provide you with opinions about individual products in an area of computer technology. In contrast, articles in academic journals will provide you with a more in-depth analysis or overview of an issue such as an area of computer technology, future developments, etc. You may also use textbooks for background information and definitions. You are recommended not to use several articles from the same journal or by the same author.

  2. How should you include information you have read in journal articles and internet sites in the assignment?

    The assignment requires you to gather current facts and well-informed opinion, and to summarize these ideas. You will therefore need to analyse the ideas and to consider how they relate to each other. It will be easier to do this if you summarize each author's ideas in your own words.

    The assignment description emphasises that it is important to always indicate to your reader where the information you have used comes from, that is, acknowledge the source of the information. You are asked to do this by using the Harvard Referencing System.

  3. In what format should you present the assignment?

    The assignment description states that you are required to present the assignment in the form of a report as opposed to an essay. You will therefore need to become familiar with a typical report format which will involve the division of your assignment into appropriate sections and subsections. These sections should be organised logically and given clear section headings. They may also numbered using a decimal numbering system. You are directed to complete the assignment on a word-processor and to edit the assignment for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar (see Writing the Assignment for further information).

Reliability of the information

Reliability refers to the quality of the information you use. If the information is reliable, it will be from an authoritative source and without bias. The author, intended audience, purpose, and bias of information will indicate its reliability.

Central to your topic

The information used in the assignment needs to be relevant to the topic.

Quoting

To write a "word for word" transcription of an extract from a text written or spoken by another person.

Paraphrasing

To rewrite, in your own words, an extract from a text written or spoken by another person.

Acknowledging the sources

To identify the source of ideas or the exact words of another author that you have used in your assignment.

Harvard referencing system

A method of referencing which involves including an abbreviated reference in your assignment. Example: "Lewis (1999) suggests..."

Referencing

The process of acknowledging the source of ideas or the words of another person. There are many different methods of referencing; one method is the Harvard Referencing System.

Report writing

A report differs from an essay. The typical report is organised logically, structured in sections and subsections with headings, and uses decimal numbering.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the presentation of the ideas or words of another person as your own. If you acknowledge where you obtain information using a referencing system, for example the Harvard Referencing System, you will avoid plagiarism.

Title page

The first page of an assignment which provides information such as the subject name and code, student name and number, tutorial time, tutor's name, and assignment title.

Abstract

A brief summary of the contents of the report, including a description of the purpose and conclusions of the report.

Table of contents

A list of the section and subsection headings and page numbers of a report.

Reference list

A list of all the sources refered to in an assignment. The list is arranged alphabetically by author surname.

Appendices

The appendices are located at the end of a report and consist of extra supporting evidence that is not possible to incorporate in the main body of the report, such as raw data, detailed tables, questionnaires, interviews, etc. In the case of this assignment, you have been asked to include a copy of three of the most frequently used references in your assignment.

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