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Library Essentials

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Before starting an assignment, understand the deliverables


Deadline? Relative Value (McAdoo, 2015)

Enough time?

Marked your calendar?

Plan time well to prevent last-minute crams

Track deadline using 'countdown' on phone app

Any clashes with other tasks?

Spend more time on assignments with higher grade weightage

Prioritise and manage your time

Use a checklist to manage priorities and deliverables

 Assignment requirements?  For groupwork

Understand what is expected

Clarify doubts with your professor 

Avoid loss of time in the correction of errors 

Set up a collaboration and file-sharing platform (e.g. Google Docs) 

Plan schedules with your groupmates

Make sure that the workload is fairly allocated 



When doing your assignment, note the following depending on the nature of your assignment

If your topic is to be developed, ask yourself if your topic can be researched? 

  • It is important to choose a topic that you can find sources of information
  • There will be nothing to support your paper if there is no literature on the topic. For example, you would like to write about lampshades but a Google Scholar search shows 0 scholarly articles



Limited by Assignment Requirements

  • ​Make sure that your topic fits your assignment requirements
  • Remember to scope your topic to allow yourself time to develop and complete a quality assignment
  • If you are unsure, check with your professor

Apart from your lecture notes, your module will include readings (compulsory and supplementary)

  • The lecture notes and readings provide background information to do your assignment sufficiently
  • The more you know about your topic, the better you will be able to write knowledgeably about it
  • Where would you find the uploaded readings? See below!


 Online Readings

  • Lecture notes
  • Digitised book chapters or scanned pages
  • Journal articles
  • Links to readings

To find your online readings, go to Canvas: your module's Course Readings. Related FAQs can be found here.  


Physical Readings

  • Compulsory textbook(s)
  • Supplementary readings
  • Check module reading list
  • Available on a 2-hour loan 

To find your print readings, search for your course number via the library search engine. Your required readings will be located at RBR (Reserve Books and Readings), a section located at the library. Click here for example.

When embarking on a group assignment, consider adopting one of these collaboration tools to accomplish tasks together. Click the links below to find out more, or log in to access the platform directly.


Platforms that allow login using NUS email:

Platform that requires Gmail account:


Final touches before submission


Proofread?  Formatting? 
  • Check grammar and spelling 
  • Minimise mistakes 
  • Proof-read and be thorough
  • Be professional
  • Proper formatting for ease of reading
  • Insert page numbers 
  • Observe font size and type
  • Ensure citations are indented, if the style requires 
  • Check with your professor on the citation style to use
  • Cite all works and attribute sources to avoid plagiarism
  • Acknowledge copyrighted materials used
  • Check that in-text citations are in the bibliography
  • Do check your references for accuracy and completeness
  • [if applicable] Have you conducted a preliminary Turnitin check? 

Know When to Stop! 
  • Law of diminishing marginal returns
  • Excessive information may detract from your overall argument
  • Check that you have not gone off tangent in your paper
  • Ensure that your paper is within the assigned word count


15 foolproof tips for writing a great assignment. (n.d.). University of Essex Online. Retrieved March 19, 2022, from

McAdoo, M. L. (2015). The student’s survival guide to research (pp. 59-72). Chicago: Neal-Schuman.

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