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Assignment Presentation Formatting Guidelines

All undergraduate written essay and research report style assignments should be formatted using the following rules:

Margins: 2.54 left, right, top and bottom (this is the pre-set default margin setting).


Font Type: ‘Times New Roman’.


Font Size: 12 point font only with no larger fonts used for headings (if used).


Line Spacing: Double line spacing should be used throughout the assignment and on the reference list with no additional spaces between paragraph, assignment ‘sections’ or listed references. New paragraphs or sections are indicated by indenting of the first line of each new paragraph (see presentation format exemplar).


Indenting: Each new paragraph should be indented 5-7 spaces (or one Tab space).


Justification: No justification of text on right hand margin. Justify the left side of text in the body of essay/report except for indents required for the first lines of each new paragraph (see presentation format exemplar).


Page Numbers: Page numbers should be inserted in the upper right-hand side of the page header flush against the margin. Page numbers should start on the Title Page (starting at 1) and should be formatted with just the page number (see presentation format exemplar).


Assignment Title: Devise a suitably descriptive assignment title to include on the title page. Examples include: Managing Norovirus in Aged Care Facilities; Annotated Bibliography for Essay Question Four; Education Plan for the Long-Term Management of Type II Diabetes.


Footer: Your student number is to be inserted into the footer of the document (to assist with identification of lost pages if submission errors occur).


Griffith University Cover Page:  Complete and include the official university cover page. Assignment template documents for both INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP assignments that have the university cover page already merged are available for download on the Griffith Health Writing & Referencing Guide website.


Title Page: Include a title page with the following information. See presentation format exemplar for example.


  • Student Name:
  • Essay/Report title:
  • Word count: (excluding title page, reference list/bibliography and appendices)



Note: Your title page will also have a page number in the header (starting at ‘1’) and your student number in the footer (see presentation format exemplar).

Word Count: Word counts will comprise ALL text material contained in the body of the written assignment. This will include in-text citations, quotations, and any headings (if used). This will also include any information presented in tables or figures which are included WITHIN the body of the assignment.


Information included outside of the main body of the assignment (e.g. university coversheet, title page, reference list, preparation table) will NOT contribute to the word count.


Please Note: You must adhere to the stipulated word count for your assignment. Assignments which go over this stated limit will be penalised, with the marker ceasing to read your paper once the word count has been reached.


Headings: Headings are generally used more in research reports than in essays. The following rules should be followed to format headings if used.


Note: In general, if you are using headings in an essay, you will format them using ‘Level 2’ heading guidelines (see table below).



Level of Heading Format
1 Centred, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading


2 Flush left, boldface, Upper and Lowercase Heading


3        Indented, boldface, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period.


4        Indented, boldface, italicised, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period.


5       Indented, italicised, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period.


The above table has been adapted from the APA Style Guide to Electronic References (2012).


Note: In general, if you are using headings in an essay, you will format them using Level 2 heading guidelines. Headings in a research report will be mainly formatted as Level 1, 2, and 3 headings, however all five levels of headings can be used in research reports (depending on the size of your report and the nature of information you need to discuss in particular sections).

When using Level 1 and 2 headings, your paragraph text will commence on the next line, indented by one tab space. When using Levels 3, 4 and 5, your paragraph text will commence two spaces after the full stop at the end of the heading (i.e. continuing on the same line as the heading). See the APA Annotated Exemplars (Essay and Research Report versions) in the ‘APA Referencing Guidelines’ section of the Griffith Health Writing and Referencing Guide website for examples of how to format different levels of headings and associated paragraph text.

Important Tip: When writing research reports, do not include the heading ‘Introduction’ at the start of your report. The heading at the start of your Introduction should be the title of the report that you have included on your title page. It should be formatted as a Level 1 heading (see table above).



Serial Comma: APA conventions require the use of a comma between elements in a series of three or more items. This is known as a ‘serial comma’. For example:


Examining height, width, and depth indicated that ……..




Use of numbers in assignment text:

  • Numbers between zero and nine should be represented in words. For example:
    • There were five experimental groups in the trial.
  • Numbers ten and above should be represented in numerical format. For example:
    • A total of 47 participants took part in the pilot test.


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