When you receive an assignment’s instructions, it is important to really understand them. Your professor’s expectations must be clear because you must write the assignment. Thus, never hesitate to ask questions or to ask for clarification. Then, come and see us for further help.

Below are explanations of the different assignment types.

An annotated bibliographie is a type of assignment that is becoming more and more present at the university level. It requires that a student read one or more articles or books, and then the material is presented in a rigorously structured manner.

Annotated bibiliographies vary in length, depth, and range, depending on the professor’s instructions. Each scholarly journal article should be presented on one full page. They should be organized alphabetically, like you would in a standard bibiliography. An annotated bibliography consists of three parts:

Part 1: bibliographic record of the book, article or document read: author’s surname, first name, title, edition, place, pages, according to a particular bibliographic style (MLA, APA or Chicago).

 For example : Ionesco, Eugène et Emmanuel Jacquart. La leçon. Gallimard, 1994.

Part 2: A summary of your readings. Remember that summary’s must be objective, and the goal is to present the main points in chronological order. You must reformulate the text in your words, you should never copy and paste certain main ideas from your readings. This is paragraphe is longer that the bibliographique entry, but not as long as the critical commentary.

Part 3: This part requires a commentary from the reader. It follows the summary, thus the reader can understand your statement. This commentary is consists of an evaluation of the reading, and it indicates how this will impact the final long-form (research paper, essay, etc.). The commentaries can vary in length, the can span a few sentences to a few pages.

An annotated bibliographie is an assignment that requires synthesis and the ability to analyze. That is why this type of assignment becomes more and more popular in different university programs. Its structure (three paragraphs on one page) varies and each professor adapts from this format. Therefore, you have to follow your professor’s instructions.

An essay is a long-form assignment that requires the skill of analysis and the development of coherant reasoning. In an essay, one must prove and/or demonstrate something. This is called the hypothesis or thesis depending on the professor and the course type. This hypothesis will be supported by clear and organized ideas and complimented by citations.

Like all university all assignments, an essay is composed of 3 parts.

The introduction informs the reader of what the assignment is about (the subject is often in the form of a research question), the method of how you will examine the subject is then discussed, and finally, your conclusion will be presented (usually in the forme of a thesis).

The body of the assignment is made up of a detailed presentation, thus a detailed analysis of information, proof, models, and reasoning as to why you are taking a certain stance in the essay.

The conclusion reminds your reader of your analysis while proposing new challenges to your questionning and presenting an answer to a problem or the research question.

The research proposal is the initial step that then leads to a detailed research project that responds to a research question that is clearly defined by you or your professor. The length and structure of the assignment are subjective and depend entirely on the professor. Thus, it is important to understand the instructions and to book an appointment with us if you need more help.

A critical review is an interesting assignment because it combines to ways of proposing information. A critical review is an account of a reading or event. It can be written in any format.

A critical review is divided into three parts. First, a bibliographic reference (like in the annotatd bibliography). This part only takes two lines. Next, a paragraph that summarizes the reading, event, etc. This paragraph puts forward the main ideas of the reading. You must follow the strict rules of writing a summary, those being chronological order, objectivity and coherance. The last part is a critique. Your critique must have reflection that goes beyond a simple appreciation for the reading or lack there of. A well thought out critique demonstrates both the psitive and negative at the same time, which makes it a nuanced work. As a matter of fact, nothing is completely good or completely bad.

A lab report is the account of a scientific experiment that was conducted in a laboratory. It not only describes the experiment, but also explains its results and their possible significance.

View University of Toronto’s Guide for Science Writing

View uOttawa’s Guide for Lab Reports

In broad terms, a summary is a text that repurposes another text (original text) in a reduced fashion. The rule is that a summary be 25% of the length of the original text. Thus, for a one hundred word text should be reduced to 25 words.

Even though it can seem simple, a summary has strict rules:

  1. It must follow the chronogical order of the original text. It cannot start with the last point of the original text.
  2. It is objective. You must carefully select your words, adjectives and adverbs to avoid any subjectivity.
  3. It follows a strict word count.
  4. It leaves out anecdotes, secondary characters, if it acted as a novel or film, examples. It only concentrates on the essential.
  5. It exercizes the skill of analysis and synthesis. All of your writing skills have to be channeled since you have to reformulate using a new syntax. You must find the right word to formulate sentences.

When you write a summary, your mandate is for the reader to understand the essential of the text that is not written by you. It is a difficult mandate when you really think about it.

You cannot copy and paste the main ideas and rearrange them. This is a plagiarism and will result in a mark of 0.

An oral presentation is a general evaluation that adapts perfectly to all courses. Even though it is not the favourite assignment of students, it allows professors to evaluate multiple aspects of learning. Indeed, oral presentations allow for the evaluation of the mastering of a subject, a concept, and at the same time the ability to disseminate information in a coherant, structured and engaging manner.

Some tricks to succeed in oral presentations:

  • Be prepared. The more prepared you are, the more dynamic and spontaneous you will be. Preparation starts with writing, practice, creating cue cards, and lastly, the ability to present without notes.
  • Use an aid: Powerpoint and others. But, pay attention, your entire text does not need to be on the powerpoint. On your aid you can include a plan of your presentaton, key words, important dates, and images.
  • Memorize the structure of your presentation (3 parts, 4 parts). This way, if you forget a piece of information, you can find your way around it because you know where you are in relation to the other parts.
  • Look at your classmates from time to time to stay dynamic.
  • Ask questions. It allows you to keep contact with your audience.