Welcome to the AIB Style Guide! We hope you will find this to be a useful resource as you develop and improve your written communication skills during your study at AIB.
This AIB Style Guide articulates AIB’s expectations for the written work you submit for assessment. The modern workplace expects consistent and well-written communication, and use of a style guide is not uncommon. At AIB, some marks for assignments and projects are awarded for ‘communication’. Hence, it is important that we clarify the requirements for presenting your assignments and project work.
We have tried to keep the AIB Style Guide as simple and straightforward as possible. The AIB Style Guide is divided into four sections:
• Section 1 explains the principles of writing for AIB, including paragraph writing.
• Section 2 explains how to present your assignment in report format, which is the standard format for AIB assignments.
• Section 3 outlines how to style and present any documents you are submitting during your AIB study.
• Section 4 provides you with guidelines on author/date style referencing, paraphrasing and quoting to help you reference appropriately for your AIB assignments and includes an appendix of examples on how to reference in-text and in your reference list.
AIB endeavours to provide you with the required guidelines for your academic success. Should you find any omissions or suggestions for improvements or additions, please contact AIB Support.
This section is designed to help you develop your writing skills. In particular, it will help you to understand the different styles of paragraphs that can be used within any written documents such as AIB assignments, reports, projects or exams (‘assessments’), memos or speeches. Understanding how to structure your paragraphs will enable you to express yourself in a logical way. It makes you more convincing as a writer and speaker because it forces you to be clear about the point you want to make and justify it. Therefore, people will not only understand what you think but why you think it.
1.1 What is a paragraph?
A paragraph simply breaks up writing into discrete points that contribute to the main argument. Therefore, paragraphs can be seen as the building blocks of an assessment answer. If you look at journal articles and books, you will see that most consist of a series of paragraphs, one after the other, and each paragraph consists of three to eight sentences. Paragraphs can also be seen as units of meaning. Each paragraph focuses on an idea and contributes to the overall message or argument of the piece of writing. A key point to understand is that a paragraph is not a collection of unrelated sentences.
1.2 The basic structure of a paragraph
As you might know, many documents (including essays, reports and journal articles) are divided into three basic components: introduction, body and conclusion. A paragraph works in a similar way. Thus, there are three main components to a paragraph: the topic sentence (introduction), a number of support sentences (body), and a conclusion sentence (conclusion).
When planning your essay, it is a good idea to make a list of the points you want to cover and to write a ‘topic sentence’, for each. A topic sentence is a summary of the information to be presented in the paragraph. Then, write paragraphs to expand on these sentences. A good way to come up with ideas is to read your topic material and jot down the main points. Do not forget to record the source(s) and the page number(s) so you can go back to them. The first thing to do is be clear about the point you want to make. First, think about what you want to do — describe theory, compare theory or apply theory; what do you want to argue?
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