Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business)



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1. Introduction

The written word is the basis of business communication today, whether in a formal business report, a letter, informal memo or email. As a business professional, you will be judged by how well and how clearly you use words to communicate.


As well as teaching technical business skills in a broad range of disciplines, RMIT Business is also committed to help you develop appropriate business writing skills for the University assessments you will be required to submit.
This document is intended for RMIT Business TAFE and undergraduate students, although postgraduate students are encouraged to use it as a starting point. It details how to format your written work and demonstrates:

  • the differences between academic essays and business reports;

  • guidelines for their preparation;

  • how to ensure you meet the technical requirements;

  • how to cite references;

  • how to avoid plagiarism.

You will find a set of broad guidelines to help overcome common problems with grammar, formatting, and use of abbreviations. This document is intended as an integral reference on matters of style and method. It will also help you further develop your written communication skills.


The RMIT Business Guidelines are based on the Style manual for authors, editors and printers (2002), referred to here as Style manual (2002) which is published on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia, and is the Commonwealth Government’s preferred style. The Style manual (2002) can be used to provide guidance on areas which are not covered in the RMIT Business document, but if there is any inconsistency you should follow the RMIT Business document.
There may be certain other style requirements published in a course guide or indicated by the lecturer in charge.
Examples used in this guide are presented in text boxes to make them easy to follow.


Example of correct in-text reference using quotes


‘Whilst this work has been developing in the USA it had very different beginnings in Britain ‘ (Wright 1982, p. 51).

Additional support and assistance with essay writing, writing style, and referencing can be found by viewing the Learning Lab <www.dlsweb.rmit.edu.au/lsu>.



1.1 Getting started

Do not leave the task until the last minute. You are urged to consider the following advice in relation to written assessments:

  • Start thinking about the topic as soon as it has been selected and list the questions you believe you should try to answer.

  • Do background reading, but keep checking the set topic to ensure that you stay focused.

  • Place the topic of your answer within the appropriate context. For example, an essay question on the macroeconomic policies of a particular country will require you to define ‘macroeconomic’ before you can write about policies in different countries. So you may need to complete background reading before commencing the specific reading related to your written task.

  • What do you need to fully answer the question? Do you need to collect data, source more reading materials, analyse new or existing data? Where will you source this information?

  • Allow time to secure essential references, remembering most libraries often do not have sufficient multiple copies of references. Learn quickly to get the relevant information for your assignment, using the table of contents, chapter summaries, indexes and reviews. Always record the details of the publications in full for inclusion in your notes or plan in case you decide to refer to a source in your essay.

  • You should use all available research resources including the Internet and other electronic sources, to both save time and allow you to conduct international research and data gathering from home or work. However, in using these new technologies you must ensure that database resources, web pages, email, electronic discussion lists, etc. are properly acknowledged (see chapter 3 for electronic document referencing).


1.2 Editing

Do not leave editing until the last minute, but leave sufficient time to rewrite work to improve your expression. Remove irrelevant or redundant material. Refine arguments to be more concise and forceful, and to remedy any other deficiencies.
Hint:

Often, the best way to ensure your writing flows systematically is to read your work aloud. Your natural pauses become your punctuation and paragraph breaks, and sometimes, while reading aloud, it becomes obvious what needs to be deleted and what is missing from your analysis.
1.3 Confidentiality

If you include confidential and/or controversial material and do not wish your essay or report to be viewed by people other than RMIT staff, you should discuss this with your lecturer or course coordinator.
1.4 Referencing



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