Guidelines for Visual Diaries Assignments and Workbooks

Guidelines for Maintaining Your Visual Diary

As part of your studies, you will be required to maintain a visual diary. This may be done in a digital or physical form.

A visual diary is an essential tool for recording your creative research. You should use it for idea development, material and process investigations, idea and material extensions and, artist and other research. It is a place in which you can brainstorm ideas, attempt quick sketches, try different processes, document material tests and experiments, attach exhibition invites, magazine or newspaper clippings, jot down extracts from books or quotes you like, insert postcards and images, plan ideas for future sculptures and so on. Essentially, anything that you source which may be relevant to your current or future work should go into the visual diary. It is the place to record your thinking and doing.

The visual diary should not be completed the night before an assessment is due. Nor is it the place to simply paste copies of the work you are presenting for assessment.

In each assessment task you will be asked to complete exercises that may require preparatory work and ‘outcomes’. An ‘outcome’ can be a final completed piece, a work-in-progress or a starting point for future development. It is the preparatory work which should be included in the visual diary.

Guidelines for Preparing and Submitting Written Assignments and Unit Workbooks


It is important that you submit written work of a good standard. The assessment requirement for some units is the completion of an interactive learning guide. The guide provides all submission requirements. For all other units, the following guidelines will assist you in presenting work that will clearly show your level of learning, will be easy for your tutor to mark and will follow academic conventions.

Submission Requirements

Assignments are to be submitted via the School’s Student Management System unless prior arrangements have been made with the School.


The main consideration in presenting written work is ease of reading for your tutor who has to mark a number of papers. The following layout conventions make your essay more accessible:

  1. Margins - use wide margins all around the page to allow for comments
  2. Spacing - use double spacing which makes your paper easier to read and allows for corrections and comments and write on one side of the page only
  3. Cover page - your paper must be submitted with a cover page (typed) which contains the following or using the Assignment Cover Sheet, which can be down-loaded from the School’s website:
    1. your name
    2. your postal address
    3. your email address
    4. your contact telephone number
    5. the course name and number
    6. the module name and number
    7. the date of submission

  4. Section labels - clearly label each section of your response, using the numbers and subheadings provided in the assessment task.

Editing and proofreading

Carefully edit and proofread your paper. Leave a few days after you have finished a final draft before you proofread and do a final edit. It is difficult to pick up mistakes when you have not had time to distance yourself from the assignment. If possible, ask someone else to read it. This will give you an idea of whether it is clearly written.


Plagiarism is using the work of other people and not acknowledging it. Plagiarism is unacceptable and full acknowledgment of other people’s work is an essential characteristic of writing. Plagiarism can lead to you being asked to resubmit your written work. For further information on this issue, visit:


There are three current straightforward conventions to show that you have used other people’s ideas or words. 

  1. Referring to broad ideas

Sometimes we refer to ideas in a broad way without direct quotations. We can do this in two ways:

a)      We can refer to the person directly within the sentence putting the year in parentheses after the name e.g:

Noble (1991) states that work which people are forced to do cannot be classified as volunteering.

b)      We can refer to the person in parentheses with the year after the idea has been presented eg:

Work which people are forced to do cannot be classified as volunteering (Noble 1991).

  1. Direct quotations

Sometimes we use direct quotations from other writers. We can do this in two ways:

a)      We can use an extended quote. In this case we insert the quote as an indented and separate paragraph with no inverted commas. We put the author’s name, the year of publication and the page number after the quote in parentheses, eg:

It is important to clarify what we mean by the term voluntary sector:

The voluntary sector refers to non-government organisations or non-statutory as they are often called. These organisations might or might not involve volunteers in service provision.  (Noble 1991: 7).

b)      We can use a short quote which we insert into the middle of a sentence. In this case we put the quoted words inside inverted commas. We then put the author’s name, the year of publication and the page number directly after the quote in parentheses eg: 

Stereotypes of volunteers often depict them as “women (middle aged with too much time on their hands) working in the areas of health and welfare” (Noble 1991:7). This stereotype means that .....

  1. Broken quotes           Sometimes we do not want to use all the words of the author but selections from across one quote. Sometimes we do not want to finish the quote. In these cases we need to insert a series of dots to mark the omitted words eg:

The Hillary Commission in New Zealand, whose interests cover recreation and sport decided to continue to use the word ‘volunteer’ following a survey in 1990 .......... It was found the word ‘volunteer’ best described the overall nature of those engaged in a variety of activities. (Noble 1991: 7)

The Hillary Commission in New Zealand, whose interests cover recreation and sport decided to continue to use the word ‘volunteer’ .....  (Noble  1991:7)

Inserting your own words into a quote Sometimes we need to insert words into a quote for it to make sense to the reader. In this case we need to insert the words in square brackets eg:

He [Governor Phillip] dealt with it several times during his career (Terita 1960 : 150).

Referring to the author’s name When you use the author’s name you only use their surname eg:

Noble (1991) describes volunteering as ...

  1. Referencing    The contemporary approach to referencing is to follow the Harvard convention which means that we reference every time we quote someone directly or use their ideas. This is done directly after the reference in parentheses in this way:

(Noble 1991 : 150)

If you quote across pages you need to show this in this way:

(Noble 1991 : 150-151) Two or more authors If the book or article has been written by two authors then you need to list both eg:

(Burns and Jones 1997)

If the book or article has been written by more than two authors then you need to list the first one in your reference and add et al eg: (Burns et al 1997)

Using two books by same author written in the same year If you reference two books by the same author which were written in the same year then you need to label one a and the other b eg: (Noble 1991a) and (Noble 1991b)


The current approach to footnoting is to keep it to a minimum within essays. References to people’s ideas and referencing of direct quotes is now done after the item in the body of the paper.

Footnotes are now used primarily to add extra information that you feel would be intrusive within the body of the essay. If you use footnotes frequently then they should be numbered consecutively on the page.


A bibliography is a list of all the reference materials you have used to write your paper. It is an essential part of your writing and failure to include a bibliography means that your paper is incomplete. The references are listed in the alphabetical order of authors’ surnames. 

The conventions for presenting source information have been simplified over the past few years and the current accepted approach by most institutions is the author-date system. This means presenting the entry in this sequence:

1 Author’s or editor’s surname followed by a comma 2 Author’s or editor’s initials followed by full stops 3 The year of publication followed by a full stop 4 The title of the book or article in italics or underlined followed by a full stop 5 The place of publication followed by a colon 6 The publishers name followed by a full stop

Noble, J. 1991. Volunteering - a current perspective. Adelaide SA : Volunteer Centre of South Australia.

Use of capital letters The titles of books and articles are given in sentence case with one capital letter at the beginning unless they contain words which would normally have a capital letter eg:

A concise history of Russian art.

  1. Multiple authors If the book or article has been written by multiple authors then you must list them all in you bibliography. You must:
  • put the authors’ names in the order they appear on the book or article
  • put the first author’s surname followed by initials
  • put subsequent authors initials first followed by surname
  • put full stops after initial and a comma between authors but put and before the final author 

eg: Luke, G., C. Cameron, H. Tomlinson and K. Greenbaum. 1998.

Sourcing two books by same author written in the same year. If you have used references from two books by the same author which were written in the same year, then you will have labelled them a and b in your paper. The entry in your bibliography should use the same numbering eg:

(Noble 1991a)

(Noble 1995b)


Sourcing an article If you need to source an article in your bibliography then you must:

  • put the name of the author and initials of author as above
  • year of publication followed by a full stop
  • title of article in normal type followed by a full stop
  • title of journal in italics followed by a comma
  • details of journal volume number followed by a comma
  • details of journal issue number followed by a colon 
  • page numbers on which the article appears in the journal eg: Willing, K. 1996. Form and function in the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. The architecture review, 7, 3 : 57-97.

Internet If you need to source an item from the internet, include as much identifying information as possible, set out as for a book. Always include the web address. 

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