Further Writing Guidelines



  • Coursework should be word-processed using Verdana font, point size 10, and double-spaced. You should be aware of the need to keep back-ups of your work, and to plan for delays and times when computers are greatly in demand if you are relying on University computing facilities. Computer failure and/or lack of backed-up work will not normally be accepted as extenuating circumstances.
  • Pages should be
  • Include a page header on every page with your Student ID number, module code and module title at the top. However, do not include your name, otherwise your work cannot be moderated or second-marked
  • Include the word-count: you will be asked to enter it on the coversheet when you submit your
  • Coursework can be printed double-sided, as per the default setting for University printing


  • In the text of your work, titles of books (fiction or critical), plays and long poems should be italicised (or underlined if you are handwriting in an exam): g. The Waste Land, King Lear, Great Expectations, etc.
  • Titles of short stories, short poems, essays and articles in books or journals should be in quotation marks: e.g. ‘The Dead’, ‘Among School Children’,


  • Quotations of less than four lines should be run into the text of your work, enclosed by single quotation marks: ‘The man spoke’.
  • Use double quotation marks for quotations within quotations: ‘He said, “I’m leaving now”, and went’.
  • Short verse quotations should have each line separated with a forward slash: ‘My heart is like a singing bird/Whose nest is in a watered shoot’.
  • Longer quotations in prose or verse should be set off (indented), and do not require quotation Be sure to quote exactly, even where the text you are copying does not conform to standard grammar, punctuation or presentation.
  • Where you need to shorten a quotation, or amend the structure to fit in with the grammar of your sentence, use ellipses and square Compare the examples below:
  • ‘Juliet is never extravagant in the way of Romeo, but she, too, undergoes a change’.
  • Unlike Romeo, ‘Juliet [was] never extravagant’.
  • In writing that ‘Juliet is never extravagant … but undergoes a change’, N. Other overlooks a significant episode.

Make sure that you have retained the original meaning of your quotation. If you ascribe to A.N. Other the quotation that ‘Juliet is … extravagant’, you are committing the academic and sometimes legal offence of misrepresentation.

Quotations should not be italicised, underlined or otherwise differentiated unless they appear in that form in the original


Dissertations follow exactly the same style of formatting, referencing and bibliography as a shorter essay, although the bibliography/references will be more comprehensive. Your text should include page numbers, and should have a title page with your Student ID number and Dissertation title on it. You will also need a contents page if the person reading your work will need to navigate various sections within it.

Many students like formally to bind their dissertations before submission. This is acceptable but not mandatory. However, please make sure that a normal assessment cover sheet is attached to the front of your dissertation.

Depending on the nature of your dissertation topic, you may wish or need to include an appendix. Appendices might include important information or data on which the argument of the dissertation rests, such as an interview with an author or subject, or statistical data produced in your research. The details of any appendices should be developed in dialogue with your dissertation supervisor. Note that they do not form part of the official word count and must not constitute an additional chapter or section of the main dissertation.

For more detailed information on writing a dissertation, please refer to the Dissertation Handbook available on Moodle.

References and bibliography

For the purposes of referencing, English is split into linguistic and literary categories and referencing conventions are different for each, reflecting the academic traditions from which these two strands of study arise. In general, coursework for English language and applied linguistics modules should be formatted and documented according to the Harvard style guide, while coursework for modules taught in drama, literature, medieval studies and creative writing should be formatted according to the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA) style guide. You should regard learning to use these different systems as a professional skill: most of your tutors will be familiar with at least two systems, as different journals and publishers have different preferences for referencing systems. If you are in any doubt as to which system you should use for a particular assessment, you should consult your tutor.

Think carefully about who has written the material you are referring to: one author or more than one author? Be careful not to confuse the author(s) and the editor(s)

The key referencing conventions of each system are given below.