Style Guide for Written Assignments on courses using APA 6
Name (style: Front Sheet)
Module Name and Code
Contents Page (style: Heading 1)
Page Start and End5
References and Bibliography6
Printing and Binding10
Introduction (style: Heading 1)
This is a template developed to demonstrate the ideal format for written assignments at University Campus Barnsley (UCB). It describes the elements that typically make up a written assignment and how they are best presented. The styles mentioned are listed in the Microsoft (MS) Word quick style set that are included in the home ribbon. Users of other word processing software should replicate the styles described here. Page size is A4 and the margins are the standard word 2.54cm for top, bottom, left and right. A contents page is recommended for assignments that are 5000 words or more, but not necessary otherwise.
Please use (style: Normal) for body text. The sans serif font Arial should be used throughout the assignment using 12 point double line spacing. This document can be used as a template for you to Save As under a different name and then type over.
Sub-Headings (style: Heading 2)
There are three levels of headings used in this guide to be used as required.
Sub-Sub Headings (style: Heading 3)
There are three levels of headings listed here. Sections or Headings do not require numbering.
Page Start and End
Do not end a page with a heading or sub-heading and avoid starting a page with an incomplete line.
You should include page numbers on the bottom right of the page. In Word page numbers can be added under the Insert tab > Page number > Bottom of the page > Plain number 3. See Figure 1 below:
Figure 1. Screen print showing how to include page numbers in a Microsoft Word document
You should use the referencing style APA 6, the style detailed in the American Psychology Association’s Publication Manual 6th edition. In text, you should put the name and date of the reference in parenthesis after the sentence (Pears, 2013). Referencing is essential in academic writing as it gives the work validity and reliability. Lack of references or incorrect referencing is one of the most common reasons for marking down a written assignment.
You only reference what you yourself have read. If you use someone else’s description of another’s work, for example you read a textbook which describes the views of an important theorist, you should make clear in your work who the original writer was but only reference the source you have read. For example:
According to Kolb learning is a circular activity which proceeds from concrete experience through reflection and abstraction to experimentation (as described by Illeris, 2007, pp.53-54).
This is called secondary referencing. If possible, it is better to go back and read the original source.
Please note that except for referencing, this style guide is not based on the APA 6 publication guide, it is created for assignments at UCB.
References and Bibliography
The Reference section should be included at the end of the paper, but before any appendices. It lists in alphabetic order full details for all the sources you have cited in your text. Further help with referencing is available from Sheffield Hallam University of Huddersfield have a reference builder which can take the details you type in and create correct references: . You may also like to try:
- A free reference generator like The Citation Machine
- A free reference manager like zotero or Mendeley
- Courses validated by SHU have access to Refworks a web-based reference management software:
- A basic version of Microsoft Endnote is also available for free online
- The UCB library online search Heritage, which gives a full citation of the selected book at the bottom of the page in the preferred APA6 style
You should aim to use a range of sources in your work, both print references (books, journals and magazines) and website references. It is a common mistake to not use enough print sources.
You may also be asked to provide a bibliography. A bibliography is a list of sources looked at and relevant to your topic, but not necessarily used and cited by you in your assignment.
You can either include the references you have used into your bibliography or keep them separate.
Reference lists and bibliographies should be set out in alphabetic order. They are not included in word counts for written assignments.
If the quote comprises fewer than 40 words, incorporate it into the text and enclose the quotation with double quotation marks. For example:
It is suggested that “references are items you have read and specifically referred to (or cited) in your assignment” (Neville, 2007, p. 24).
If the quotation appears mid-sentence, end the passage with quotation marks and cite the source in brackets immediately after the quotation marks and then continue the sentence.
For quotations of 40 or more words, do not use quotation marks. Display the quotation in a separate paragraph which should also be double-spaced and indented (style: Long Quotation as below). For Example:
Hakim explains the impact of women in full-time work.
The percentage of women in full-time work is a better indicator of a serious involvement in paid work than the overall workrate, especially in Britain, where part-time jobs are beginning to outnumber women’s full-time jobs. Full-time jobs are a fair indicator of commitment to employment as a central feature of lifestyle and personal identity, and are an indicator of commitment to being a major contributor to family finances, rather than financially dependent. (Hakim, 1996, p.136)
Points about quotations:
- Note the details of the material you use at the time you are using it. It may be difficult to remember the details or find the item later on.
- Be precise in recording page numbers for quotations.
- Remember to use ‘p.’ for a single page and ‘pp.’ for several pages.
- If you need to change the odd word within a quotation to fit it into the flow of your text, indicate any omitting by three dots … and any additions in square brackets [ ].
Quotations should be used sparingly. For example, you might quote if an author expresses an idea with particular poignancy or if you are analysing their argument. You need to make sure that you discuss the quotation. (It should not speak for itself!)
Generally, it is preferable to paraphrase, that is express others’ ideas in your own words. There are many good sites on the Internet where you can learn more about paraphrasing and test your skills (Leeds University Library, 2015; Open University, 2012). Changing the odd word is not paraphrasing! Just as with quotations, always include references when you paraphrase to avoid plagiarism.
Figures are images (for example photographs or diagrams), included in your work. If the image is copyrighted to someone else (you should assume that if you do not know, then it is), then you need to reference them as the author. To demonstrate this, on the next page is Figure 2, a photo of Jimi Hendrix.
Figure 2. Jimi Hendrix at Royal Albert Hall (Redfern, 1969)
As a general rule, visual aids for presentations (for example a Power Point presentation) should have as few slides as possible and convey the main points of your talk. Ensure that you reference as you would in a written report to maintain academic standards and avoid plagiarism.
Printing and Binding
Please print one sided. If you are on campus that will mean changing the printer settings which are otherwise set for double sided printing to save trees and your money. Print options for Microsoft Word are shown on the next page in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Screen print showing print options in a Microsoft Word document
Bind if there are more than 10 sheets of paper. The library will heat bind or spiral bind, please enquire for prices.
Hakim, C. (1996). Key issues in women’s work: female heterogeneity and the polarisation of women’s employment. London: Athlone.
Illeris, K. (2007). How we learn: learning and non-learning in school and beyond (2nd ed.). Abingdon: Routledge
Leeds University Library. (2015). Academic writing: using others’ work. Retrieved from:
Neville, C. (2007). The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Open University. (2012). OpenLearn: paraphrasing text. Retrieved from: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/languages/english-language/paraphrasing-text/content-section-0
Pears, R. & Sheilds, G. (2013). Cite them right: the essential referencing guide (9th ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Redfern, D. (1969). Jimi Hendrix at Royal Albert Hall in 1969 [photograph]. Retrieved from:
American Psychological Association. (2012). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Assocaition (6th ed.). Washington: American Psychological Association.
Cottrell, S. (2013). The study skills handbook (4th ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Crème, P. and Lea, M.R. (2008). Writing at university: a guide for student. (3rd ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Leeds University Library. (2015). Skills@Leeds: academic writing. Retrieved from:
Levin, P. (2009). Write great essays! (2nd ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Open University. (2015). Being digital: skills for life online. Retrieved from: