This website provides general information for current students on conducting research for essays, reports, and other assignments in the Flinders Business School, and some Frequently Asked Questions about writing and referencing. It does not provide comprehensive information, but covers some of the main areas where students have queries. You must refer to the specific requirements of your topic assessment in addition to using this site.

The term ‘essay’ will be used on this site, but this is meant to cover all types of written assignments where the expectation is that independent library research will be undertaken.

Writing an essay/report/assignment

All essays should have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The introduction attracts the reader's attention and indicates the main points and structure of the essay. These main points are then developed in the body of the essay. The conclusion summarises the main points, and may make a particular recommendation or support a particular view - the conclusion does not normally contain any new material.

Make sure you are aware of what type of document you are required to produce:

  • Check the assignment guidelines for your topic.
  • An essay will have fewer headings than a report.
  • A business report normally has a series of headings, a table of contents and/or an executive summary and/or recommendations.
    Some useful information on writing buisness reports is provided by the University of NSW ( and the University of Wollongong (

Plan your essay before you start writing. Make sure you answer the question that is being asked.

Most essays are marked on both content and presentation. Your work should contain no spelling errors, and should use correct grammar and punctuation. You will be most likely be marked on good use of paragraphing, the use of headings where appropriate, the use of white-space and overall formatting. Check the requirements for your topic.

If English is your second language it is advisable to have your work proof read by an English speaker - this does not have to be someone with knowledge of the subject area, it just needs to be someone who can correct your grammar. There is a variety of help available to ESL students from the Student Learning Centre and within Flinders Business School.

Referencing requirements

Referencing your sources of information when producing essays, reports or other written material is a requirement of your academic studies. Failure to acknowledge or reference where you found information contained in your written work is plagiarism. See the University’s policy on academic integrity.

In the Flinders Business School, the Author-Date (sometimes called the Harvard system) of referencing is the preferred method for all BUSN topics, however, some Topic Coordinators may allow the use of other systems (such as the Cambridge, or footnote, system – check your topic guides for guidance). Students studying topics in Business Law and Taxation Law have different and often specific requirements – see your lecturers in these topics for details. For further detail, see the help and resources provided below.

Help and resources

The following references can be used to help you to find information about researching and referencing: