The question of how much information is required is a matter of judgement; however, criteria sheets will provide guidelines.

Assignment criteria usually consider aspects of an assignment, such as content, critical thinking, structure, and presentation. Often different marks are allocated to each section. Look at the content (or research) component of the criteria sheet to help determine how much information you need. The length, weight, marks, and task should guide the amount of information required.

Example assignment criteria

Assignment 1: Inducements to gamble

Due: Week 7
Length:1000 words

Task: There are many forms of gambling, including casinos, lottery, poker machines and TAB. Write an essay which discusses the practice of offering inducements to encourage people to gamble. Examples of possible inducements include: free alchohol, free food, free accommodation, free chips or tokens, increased jackpots. In essay style, apply two ethical theories to explore whether these practices are ethical.

Criteria 7 High Distinction 6 Distinction 5 Credit 4 Pass 3 Fail
Research and Referencing Well judged selection of range of sources; all sources approp­riately acknowl­edged; referencing consistently accurate. Substantial number and range of sources; all sources approp­riately acknowl­edged; high level of accuracy in referencing. Significant number of sources with attempt to give a range; all sources acknowl­edged; only minor inaccuracies in referencing. Adequate number and range of sources; most sources acknowl­edged; some minor inaccuracies in referencing. Unsatisfactory number and range of sources; many sources not acknowl­edged; major inaccuracies in referencing.

Some assignments will state the number of sources required, but many will not. The example above, being only a 1000 word essay, would need significantly less information than an assignment requiring a formal literature review.

For guidance, check with your tutor - for more information see Understanding criteria sheets.

Let’s now consider the types of information sources you might use in assignments.