Australian Institute Business

Australian Institute Business


Australian Institute Business provides you with an in-depth analysis of referencing and how to ensure you reference appropriately for your AIR assignments.

Australian Institute Business how to present your assignment in report format which is the standard format for AIB assignments.

Section 3 outlines how

Australian Institute Business

 to style and present any documents you are submitting during your AIB study.


This section explains in detail the referencing requirements for AIB assignments, business environment projects and theses. Firstly, a brief summary outlines the generic requirements; then, referencing details are presented to ensure you appropriately reference all written academic work submitted to AIB.

1.1Summary of referencing requirements

Refer to the following list for a summary of AIB referencing requirements:

  • ?AIB assignments, business corporation law projects and theses must contain proper referencing using the Harvard style. Your grade will be adversely affected if your assignment or project contains no/poor citations and/or reference list.
  • ?AIB assignments/projects normally contain the following number of relevant references from different sources in the reference list:

  • ?
    All references must be from credible sources such as books, industry related journals, magazines, company documents and recent academic articles. The number of references needed for a Research Degree Thesis will vary depending on the length of the Thesis. Your Principal Supervisor will advise you if you have too many or too few references.

Style Guide

  • ?AIB has chosen to use the Harvard style (author–date) referencing system. According to this system, assignments/projects need to include both of the following:
  • o In-text citations (or in-text references) of quoted and paraphrased materials to support your arguments/comments. These are brief citations included in the text.
  • o A reference list at the end of the assignment/project relating specifically to yourin-text citations. This reference list is presented in alphabetical order by author surname and presents full details of each publication cited in the text.

Australian Institute Business

1.2 In-text citation (or in-text referencing)

There are two main methods of in-text citations/references:

1.Author Prominent is when you name the author at the commencement of the sentence i.e. Hardy (2010) states that AIB has a number of goals for the research department in the 2012–2015 Research Plan.

2.Information Prominent is when there is no direct reference to the author’s name within the statement i.e. AIB has a number of goals for the research department in the2012–2015 Research Plan (Hardy 2010).

Each of these two methods is useful and appropriate. However, we advise you to focus on Information Prominent in-text citation as it demonstrates good practice. It allows you to clearly state your argument and then use the in-text reference as support.

Authoring Bodies with Long Names

If an authoring body has a long name, it may be abbreviated for citations but needs to be spelt out in full in the reference list.

Two/Three Authors/Authoring Bodies

If there are two or three authors of the work being cited, all the surnames are listed followed by the year i.e. (Hardy, Abraham & Markus 2010). If the citation is Author Prominent, use ‘and’ rather than an ampersand.

Four or More Authors/Authoring Bodies

If there are four or more authors of the work being cited, the citation will list the surname of the first author, followed by ‘et al.’ i.e. (Hardy et al. 2010).

Style Guide

Two or More Works Cited at One Time

If you are citing two or more works at the same point in the text, these are separated by a semicolon i.e. (Hardy 2010; Markus 2011).

More than One Work by the Same Author/Authoring Body

When you are referring to more than one work by the same author, you need to separate the years of publication with a comma i.e. (Hardy 2010, 2011). If a page reference is used it will be: (Hardy 2010, p. 5; 2011, p. 8). If the works were published in the same year, differentiate between them with ‘a’, ‘b’ etc. as follows: (Hardy 2010a, 2010b).

Authors with the Same Family Name

Where authors share the same family name, differentiate between them by including their initials in the citation.

An Edited, Compiled, Revised or Translated Work

These are noted with the abbreviations ‘ed.’, ‘comp.’, ‘rev.’ and ‘trans.’ as in the following example: (ed. Hardy 2009). In a reference list, this will appear in brackets after the name and before the year. If the author is still of primary importance, the editor/translator etc. can be acknowledged in the references, listed after the title of the work.

Different Editions

If the work is not a first edition the citation remains the same, but the edition will be noted in the references, placed after the title of the publication.

Unknown Dates

If the date of publication is unknown, the term ‘n.d.’ (no date) is used in place of the year. If a date is established but not certain, ‘c.’ (circa) may be used before the year.

No Author/Authoring Body

If no author name is available for the work it is both cited and referenced by the title.

Use of Short Title

If a work is better known by a short title, this may be used in citation, but the full title must be recorded in the references.

Contributions within Publications

To cite a preface, foreword etc., provide both author names e.g. (Markus, in Hardy 2010).

Australian Institute Business

Citations from Secondary Sources

As with citing contributions, if citing from secondary sources, quote both author names e.g. (Markus, cited in Hardy 2010).

Personal Communications

Information gained through personal communication (such as an interview) is not referenced, but does need to be cited in the text e.g. (Hardy 2010, pers. comm., 28 May).

Encyclopaedias and Dictionaries

No need to reference, but cite in-text as per the usual methods described above.

Acts and Ordinances (Legislation)

Use the short, formal titles of Acts. To clarify jurisdiction, either work this into the text or place abbreviated information in parentheses after the date e.g. the Copyright Act 1968(Cwlth).

Plays, Poetry, Holy/Sacred Books and Classics

When citing from plays or poetry, include information such as acts, scenes, verses and lines. These sources are not usually included in the reference list.

When citing from holy books, such as the Bible, set out as follows: Psalm 23:6–8. Do not include in the reference list.

When referring to the classics, the year of original publication is not required, only the year of the edition being used. In the reference list, this date appears at the end, rather than in the usual place. In-text citations use only the name and not the date.

Films, TV & Radio

Italicise the title and mention the year of release for in-text citations.


For in-text citations, include the author and the site date (date of creation or most recent update).

Page Numbers

Page numbers need to be used when quoting directly from published material. They can also be used for indirect quotes, paraphrasing and summaries when the material in question comes from a particular page in the published work. The use of page numbers is as follows:

Appendix A of this document provides a quick guide to referencing in different situations, including both in-text and reference list examples.

1.3Direct Quotation v. Paraphrasing

There are two ways to approach in-text citation/referencing—direct quotation and paraphrasing.

Direct quotation

Direct quotation is the insertion of the exact words of a source into your writing. Direct quotations should be used sparingly and should equate to no more than 10% of your paper.

Short Quotations

Incorporate short quotations into the text using single quotation marks and a full stop after the citation.


AIB is ‘keen to expand its research in the area of Work-Applied Learning’ (Hardy 2010, p. 5).

(Information Prominent)

As Hardy (2010, p. 5) states, AIB is ‘keen to expand its research in the area of Work-Applied

Learning’. (Author Prominent)

If a quote originally began with a capital letter, place square brackets around the first letter in the quotation.

Australian Institute Of Business

Long Quotations

If your quotation is longer than 30 words, write an introduction in your own words (ending in a colon); then, present the quotation by indenting from the left margin and using the same font type, size and line space as with the body of the text (Calibri size 12 or Arial size 12 and 1.5 line space). Do not use quotation marks around the quote. To omit words from quotations, use an ellipsis. An ellipsis is also used if the quotation does not begin at the start of a sentence.

Style Guide


Hardy (2010, p. 5) believes that AIB has strong goals with regards to the future of its

research department. He states that:

The Australian Institute of Business is keen to expand its research in the area of

Work-Applied Learning, with particular focus on Action Learning and Action

Research, and their impact on change in the workplace.

Incorrect terms

If the original text is incorrect in terms of grammar or spelling, insert [sic] to show it is part of the original text and not an error.


Many writers, including Hardy (2010, p. 10), argued that, ‘…the world was round and to

suggest that it is flot [sic] is purely absurd’.

Double Quotations

For a quotation within a quotation, use double quotation marks within single quotation marks.


Hardy (2010, p. 10) explained, ‘Markus and many others have said “citation is the key to all

good academic writing” (Markus 2009, p. 34) and I heartily support their view’.

Explaining Meaning

If you need to explain the meaning of a word in your quotation, place that explanation within square brackets after the word in question.


Hardy (2008, p. 9) stated that, ‘citation is de rigueur [strictly required] for all professional



Paraphrasing is rewriting another person’s ideas in your own words—summarising them and attributing the ideas to the original author(s). Paraphrasing is preferable to direct quotation as it demonstrates your understanding of the ideas and concepts.


Many writers, including Hardy (2010), believe that paraphrasing is preferable to direct quotation and that accurate citation can help the author avoid allegations of plagiarism.

  • 1.4Reference list
  • There are two ways of presenting references at the end of your work:
  • 1.Reference list notes any sources you have actually cited within your document.
  • 2.Bibliography lists all sources you consulted while writing your document, whether they were cited or not.

Note that AIB assignments, projects and theses all require you to present a reference list (i.e. the first of these).

Arranging Your Reference List

Arrange your list alphabetically by author surname, without using bullet points or any other list marker to begin your entry. If the reference begins with a number, it will precede the alphabetical listing. Keep the names of the authors in the order they appear on the publication, even if not alphabetical. If there is no author, list according to sponsoring body or title (as applicable).

If there are two or more works by one author, list the oldest first. If there are two or more works by one author published in the same year, differentiate with ‘a’, ‘b’ etc., listing them alphabetically by title.

References should be single line spaced with a blank line in between each reference.

The Harvard system prefers minimal capitalisation, so only the first word of book titles has a capital letter. Author names and initials are always capitalised; however, for journal titles, capitalise any word that is not a preposition or conjunction.

References follow the sequence: Author?Date?Title?Publisher?Place of Publication.

Appendix A of this document provides a quick guide to referencing in different situations, including both in-text and reference list examples.

Style Guide


This section describes the standard report format which should be used for most (if not all) AIB assignments. First the main sections of the report format are identified and then each section of the report is explained in more detail.

2.1Sections of the report

Assignments at AIB should be submitted using a standard report format. The following is the basic report format of an AIB assignment. You are required to follow this format–unless the assignment details for a particular subject specifically ask you to use a different format.

Title page – Please include:

  • ?Word count
  • ?Student name
  • ?Student number
  • ?Subject title
  • ?AQF level Executive Summary Table of contents
  • 1.Introduction
  • 2.<heading >
  • 3.<heading>
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.Conclusion
  • 7.Recommendations (where relevant) References
  • Appendices

2.2 Content within each report section Title page

Give your assignment a title and type out the main words from the assignment to remind the marker what the assignment is all about. Include the name of the business (or country) investigated if you are writing about a particular organisation (or country/region). The title of the assignment should be comprehensive enough to give the reader an idea about the coverage of the assignment.

In addition, include on the title page your name, student number, the subject’s title and AQF Level. Also, remember to place the word count (which includes all text from the start of the Introduction section to the end of the Conclusion or of the Recommendations section) on the title page.

Executive summary

The executive summary gives your reader an overview of the report. Before going through the entire report, readers first want to see the summary. In fact in many busy business situations, decisions are sometimes made solely on the basis of the executive summary– particularly if it is persuasive.

Your executive summary should include what you did, how you did it, what were your main findings and what are your key recommendations. Although the executive summary appears as the first section of the assignment, it should be written last after completing the assignment.

An executive summary does not have any sub headings and should not include in-textcitations (references). An executive summary in an assignment report is usually one or two paragraphs in length and normally should not be more than 250 words; an executive summary of a project can be longer but should never be more than a page in length. The executive summary is not included in the word count.

Table of contents

After the executive summary, you should show a table of contents with a list of the numbered sections and subsections of the assignment, with their page numbers. Numbered appendices, tables and figures with their titles should also be presented in the table of contents.

MS Word provides a function for inserting an automatic table of contents. Please ensure the table of contents is updated before you submit the completed assignment. To update the page numbers in the contents table, when you have completed your assignment:

  • 1.Left click on the table
  • 2.Right click and select ‘Update Field’
  • 3.Ensure ‘Update page numbers only’ is also selected
  • 4.Click ‘OK’.


The introduction tells your reader what you are going to tell them in the body of your assignment. The first paragraph of your introduction gives the background to the assignment and why it is useful. Then your second paragraph should state the aim, purpose or objective of the assignment, should mention any limitations and should present a very brief summary of the sections. The whole Introduction section in an assignment report should not take more than about half a page or so; the Introduction for a project can be longer.

Discussion (covered in several sections)

The sections after the Introduction are where you begin the discussion, outlining relevant facts, presenting relevant concepts and theory and including analysis and evaluation. A rule  of thumb is that there should be at least one section or subsection heading per page. These sections after the Introduction will follow a logical pattern of thought. Make your headings longer than just one or two cryptic words (but not too long), so that they also help the reader to quickly understand the sections and flow of the assignment. Present information in a logical order. Use information from a number of credible sources to support your findings and try not to include numeric calculations in the main body of the assignment. Instead, include these as an appendix to the assignment. This is to prevent interrupting the flow of the assignment.

The start of each section should make obvious its link to previous sections; for example, ‘The previous section discussed strengths; this section turns to weaknesses’. Transition words are especially useful for this linking of paragraphs; for example, ‘moreover, furthermore, in addition, consequently, so, on the other hand, in contrast, but, however, nevertheless etc’. After this linkage has been established, the purpose of the section should be made clear in a theme sentence at the start of each paragraph; for example, ‘This section aims to discover those areas where threats could affect strategies’.

The main body of the report will include headings, sub-headings and sub-sub-headings such as in the example below:

  • 2. Heading
  • Under the primary level heading, the first paragraph of the section begins on a new line (like this).
  • 2.1 Sub-heading
  • Under the secondary level heading, the first paragraph of the section begins on a new line (like this).
  • 2.1.1 Sub-sub-heading. Following this tertiary level heading, the first paragraph of the section starts on the same line as the heading (as shown here).
  • 3. Heading
  • Under the primary level heading, the first paragraph of the section begins on a new line (like this). Etc…

Tables and figures

Tables and figures are an excellent way of illustrating and justifying your argument. However, they must complement the written words discussed in the sections above and should not replace that discussion. Make sure all the important points in your arguments are in your text and that the reader does not have to search in a table or figure for those points. A figure such as a pie chart, a bar chart or a line chart is especially useful for showing relationships between variables.

Style Guide

Each table and/or figure should have:

  • ?A number and a title at the top. The title should be long enough to make the table or figure self-contained so that its conclusion can be grasped without referring back to the text of the assignment; for example, ‘Figure 3: plume path for a nuclear power plant incident based upon wind blowing from the top.’
  • ?A legend clearly showing what each line or symbol in a figure stands for.
  • ?Axes titles and column headings that clearly describe the variables involved, including the scale used; for example, ‘sales revenue in $00s’.
  • ?Axes scales which are clearly marked, and which have a clear break if the scale is not continuous from zero.


The conclusion should be brief and to-the-point. The conclusion in an assignment report usually has two paragraphs or so; it takes up to three quarters of a page and no more. The conclusion for a project may be longer.

The conclusion should summarise and tie together the whole of the assignment or project, without introducing new material. The conclusion should briefly describe the recommendations (unless they are detailed separately in the next section). A final sentence should demonstrate that the purpose of the assignment that was stated in the Introduction section has been achieved.


In some assignments, you may be asked to make some recommendations or you may think that you will get more marks if you do so. These recommendations are drawn from your conclusions above. Your recommendations outline the specific actions that are required and should be justified. The priority that you place on each recommendation may also be required.


A listing of all relevant references, assembled in alphabetical order by author surname, should be provided. The reference list is not included in the word count. Details of referencing are included in section 1 of this Style Guide.


The appendices include appropriate, relevant materials. Appendices are not included in the word count.

Appendices are optional for the reader, that is, the reader can choose whether they look at an appendix or not. So you should explicitly refer to an appendix in the text of the body of your assignment, with a very brief outline of its contents. That way you encourage the reader to look at the additional materials in the appendix.


This section describes the way in which you should format and present your written work for submission to AIB. It is based on the following text:

Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers 2002, 6th edn, revised by Snooks & Co., Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

3.1Details of Word settings at AIB

AIB’s preferred Microsoft Word settings for academic work are as follows:

  • ?12 point Calibri (which is the font used in this document) or 12 point Arial;
  • ?line spacing of 1.5 lines;
  • ?language set as English (Australian);
  • ?masters and doctoral theses only, since these theses need to be bound, appropriate inner margin (normally 3.17cm); and
  • ?left aligned.

3.2 Use of capital letters

All sentences should start with a capital letter. Capitals should also be used for the first letter of proper nouns or proper names, and to mark titles and honorific names used in direct address (unless they have been abbreviated to their generic element or unless it is a reference to a previous incumbent or the office itself).

Initial capitals should always be used for names that identify:

  • ?nationalities
  • ?races
  • ?clans/tribes
  • ?inhabitants of a region
  • ?official names of countries
  • ?geo-political designations
  • ?topographical features
  • ?buildings/structures/public places
  • ?deities
  • ?adherents of a particular religion, and
  • ?speakers of a particular language.

Style Guide

In the full names of organisations,  company law all words except articles, prepositions and conjunctions receive first letter capitals, e.g. the Australian Institute of Business

This capitalisation is maintained for minor abbreviations of the name, but disappears when the name is abbreviated to a generic element.

Time Indicators and Periods

The names of days and months are always capitalised; whereas, the names of seasons are lower case. Capitals are also given to institutional holidays or holy days.

Titles of specific historical periods are capitalised (unless abbreviated to a generic element).

Broad historical descriptions are left as lower case, e.g.Scientific Names

In botany and zoology, the names of taxonomic groups are capitalised down to the genus level. The epithet is not capitalised. They are usually presented in italics. Common names of plants and animals are lower case (unless they contain a proper name), e.g.

Eucalyptus marginate

Chemicals and compounds are lower case, unless they contain a proper name. The same is true of viruses and diseases. Proprietary names of drugs are capitalised, e.g.paracetamol but Panadol

Commercial Terms

Trademarks, proprietary names and brand names are always capitalised. To print without a capital may infringe any registered status. Brand and model names should also be capitalised.

Computing and the Internet

Names of computer software and hardware are usually capitalised. Dictionaries also capitalise ‘Internet’, ‘the Net’ and ‘World Wide Web’; although, website is usually lowercase.

3.3Textual contrast


Headings are signposts for readers and should be carefully distributed and worded. A clear and logical hierarchy will show the importance of different sections of information. Make

sure to number headings and sub-headings. Keep the titles of headings brief and informative.

Indented Material

Use indented material in a systematic way, maintaining the same amount of indentation each time to keep the document balanced. Have a different level of indentation for quotations as opposed to itemised material.

Itemised material should be done in bullet form unless numbers or letters are required to show priority or chronology. However, use itemised lists sparingly as they can disrupt the hierarchy and make readers lose track of connections.

Punctuation of dot points is a matter for each individual author to decide as there are many different views on the issue. Whichever choice you make, just be sure to remain consistent throughout the document.


Avoid the use of underlining in your document as, these days, it implies the presence of a hyperlink.

3.4 Shortened forms

Avoid using grammatical contractions in your document—write the words out in full e.g. ‘do not’ rather than ‘don’t’.

 Style Guide


These consist of the first few letters of a word but not the last letters (e.g. Mon.). Always use a full stop at the end of an abbreviation and follow the usual capitalisation rules.


These usually include the first and last letters of a word but have letters missing in between (e.g. Mr). Capitalise as per the full word but do not place a full stop at the end.


These are strings of initial letters that are pronounced as a word (e.g. TAFE). Acronyms usually take all capitals, unless they are ones that have become familiar, everyday words (such as ‘scuba’), and no full stops. Write them in full the first time they are used with the acronym in brackets. After that, the acronym may be used.


These are strings of initial letters that are not pronounced as a word (e.g. SA). They are fully capitalised and do not have full stops.


Any recognised unit of measurement and any recognised words and concepts do not take full stops and are capitalised only if they represent a proper name.

3.5 Use of first person

Academic writing uses a formal style and minimal reference is made to the author. This means that your writing should not contain first person references (e.g. I, me, my). The reason for this is that academic writing should be presented objectively with the research and facts representing arguments, put forward to the reader. Exceptions to this rule occur when an assessment asks for personal reflection, personal examples or your opinion. In these instances, the use of first person is expected and essential to convey your message.

3.6 Numbers and measurements

If a number is used to open a sentence, that number should either be spelt out or the sentence rearranged. Never open a sentence with a number accompanied by a symbol (i.e. money). Numerals are always used for numbers accompanied by a symbol. However, these numbers may be spelt out in discursive text.

In general, spell out numbers lower than 10, but use numerals for those above. Thousands do not need a comma, but large numbers should be expressed with spaces rather than commas e.g. 56 000.

Use hyphens when expressing fractions in words and use the fraction bar rather than a forward slash when expressing them numerically.

Ordinal numbers should be spelt out unless the text is dense and space is an issue. Percentages can be shown either way, but the percentage symbol should only be used with numerals.

Parts of a document, such as Chapters and Figures, should be capitalised and followed by numerals. If Roman numerals are used, keep them upper case for titles of book elements but lower case for page and paragraph numbers.

Use an en rule and not a hyphen to link spans of numerals, including years and dates of birth and death e.g. 1990–1999. However, a hyphen is used if the spans follow the words ‘from’ or ‘between’. (- = hyphen – = en rule — = em rule)

Expressions of Time

Shortened forms of eras (e.g. BC) are shown without full stops and before a space between the year and the era. Centuries may have the number spelt out or in numerals, but remain consistent throughout the document.

Dates should be written with numerals for the day and year but with the month written out. There should be no commas used. Restrict numeral only presentation of dates to tables and instances where space is limited.

Times of the day can be expressed in words, unless the exact time is important. If using ‘am’ and ‘pm’ these are lower case with no full stops and a space between them and the time.


Temperature can be written in words, unless the exact temperature is important. Numerals can also be used to save space or in tables.


Amounts of money are usually expressed in numerals combined with symbols; to differentiate between currencies use either ‘A$’ or ‘AUD’, ‘U$’ or ‘USD’.

International System of Units

Names of units can be expressed either in words or by their symbol. In general, non- technical documents will use the words, but either is acceptable as long as consistency is maintained. Symbols may be preferred in tables and words in body text, for example.

Style Guide

Except for Celsius, units and their prefixes are not capitalised when shown in words. Symbols are also mostly lowercase, except for: the symbol for litre (L); and symbols for units named after people.

Unit symbols never take the plural ‘s’, but names of units do when associated with numbers greater than one.

The word ‘per’ can only be used with spelt out names, whereas the forward slash representing ‘per’ can only be used with symbols.

3.7Tables and figures

Maintain clarity when constructing tables. Keep titles short and restricted to one line, and internal headings should be brief and clear. Place tables directly after the paragraph that refers to them, or as close as possible.

Table and Figure titles should include the table/figure number, a title and, where necessary, data qualifiers and a date/time span. The title is placed above the table/figure with only first letter capitalised and no full stop. The same font is used as for the body copy.

Notes and sources should appear below the table in 11 point font with a full stop at the end.

Tables that run over onto a second page should include continuation indicators.

David Marks

Dear sir/Ma'am

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