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General Requirements for Assignments - Bible/Theology and Counselling/Chaplaincy

This guide outlines the College’s expectations for written assessments in Theology, Counselling, and Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care.

Writing Academic Assignments

Academic writing has several key features. If you need advice with writing assignments, please contact our Academic Tutor.

  1. Stay on topic! Remember and write to the parameters of the question. Lower-graded assignments often show that the author deviated from the question onto a tangential issue, did not answer the question, or did not adequately discuss the main thrust of the topic.
  2. Show your understanding of the topic. Assignments should clearly show your comprehension of the question by using information accurately and effectively to support your discussion and analysis.
  3. Structure and logic. Consider whether your material is organised in a logical sequence, and whether the transitions between sections and topics make sense. Clear concluding and introductory sentences for each paragraph aid logical flow. Remember, you are guiding the marker through your understanding and research, so take them on a logical journey.
  4. Originality and engagement. Show in your evaluation and use of source material that you have thought about the issues for yourself, and use your research to inform and present your own ideas.
  5. Use a range of perspectives. For assignments written at AQF levels 8 and 9, you are expected to engage with a range of perspectives. Consider theological, academic, and historical perspectives etc.


Referencing LibGuides

You will find other LibGuides focused other aspects of research and writing on our LibGuide Homepage.

This includes guides to both Chicago Footnote Referencing and APA Referencing.

How Many Sources?

Unless specifically outlined in your assessment outline, all Morling College assignments require research using academic resources. There are no set rules for how many sources you should use; however, a rough guide is 5-10 per 1000 words, e.g. 2000 word essay = 10-20 sources. You may use these sources more than once, depending on their usefulness.

The number of sources used depends on the level of study, how weighty each source is, and how well and deeply you are able to analyse their content. Using more sources does not always make for a better essay. An essay with a very large number of sources may not have space to engage deeply and critically with any of them. Find a balance between demonstrating that you have read widely (number of sources) and deeply (critical analysis).

If a particular assignment has different expectations around sources, it will be made clear in the assessment outline.

Titles of published works 

When referring to the titles of published works and periodicals, italics should be used.

Direct Quotations

As a guide, any exact reproduction of 3 or more words that form a unique or specialist phrase is considered a direct quotation. These phrases should be placed in quotation marks (" ") and reproduce the original text exactly, including punctuation, capitalisation and spelling. (This will allow the quote to be categorised as a direct quotation in a Turnitin Originality Report.) Include page numbers in the citation, whether footnoted or in-text, so the quotation can be checked if necessary.

Use direct quotations sparingly, and avoid lengthy quotations unless they make an obvious and irreplaceable contribution to the assignment. The ACT stipulates that direct quotations should not exceed 10% of the word limit of an assignment.

  • Too much direct quotation often indicates a lack of understanding of a topic and an overreliance on the words of others. 
  • Superficial treatment of source material or the topic itself generally indicates a lack of depth in comprehension.

Lengthy quotations of more than 30 words should be set as block quotations.

A block quotation starts on a new line, is single spaced and indented 1cm from both left and right margins. Block quotations should not be placed within quotation marks. The citation should be placed at the end – by using a Footnote (Bible & Theology) or an in text reference (Counselling/Chaplaincy).

If you need to change the text of a direct quotation, follow these guidelines:

Change Correct convention
Leaving out some words because you may not need all of the words in the middle of the quote Use an ellipsis signal . . . (three full stops with a space before, between, and after)
Changing the capitalisation of a letter Use square brackets [ ] around the letter e.g. [J]
Adding words to the quote (without changing the meaning) Use square brackets [ ] around the added words
Indicating an error in the quote (e.g. spelling or gender exclusive language) Insert [sic] in square brackets & italics after the error

Quoting in different languages

If you are quoting phrases in other languages than English, italics should be used for the quotation. Please also include a translation in a footnote.

Using Paraphrases and Summaries

Throughout your Assignments you will most likely want to paraphrase (rewrite a short section of text in your own words) or summarise (outlining the main ideas in a longer section of work, such as a few pages, chapter or even a book). More information about how to write paraphrases and summaries can be found on the MC101 Study Page in Moodle.

When using paraphrases, you should:

  • Maintain the same meaning as the author’s own words
  • Ensure that what you rewrite reflects the context of the passage
  • Use appropriate citation to acknowledge the author
  • Include page numbers in your citation (footnote or in-text) so that the quotation can be checked if necessary.

When using summaries, you should:

  • Ensure that what you rewrite reflects the context and ideas of the original author.
  • Use appropriate citation to acknowledge the author
  • Include page range numbers in your citation (footnote or in-text) only when practical (you might if summarising a few pages but do not need to for the whole book).

Citing Scripture

The majority of assignments will require you to cite scripture. At Morling we have decided that students should use the NIV2011 as their primary English language Bible. You do not need to cite the Bible in your Bibliography or Reference List.

  • 'Bible' and 'Scripture' are normally capitalised when used in assignments.
  • The names of individual biblical books are capitalised. For example: 'in the book of Genesis ... ', or 'in Romans 8 ... '.
  • Where chapter and verses are supplied use the approved abbreviation for biblical books. 'In Eph 5:21 Paul makes the point...'.
  • Where you are supporting your argument with biblical references, include them in parenthesis at the end of your sentence. For example: 'When comparing the synoptic reports on the calling of Jesus' first disciples, a number of fascinating differences can be identified. (Matt 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11).
  • If you are using a translation other than the NIV2011 you should include the abbreviation of the translation within your biblical reference. You might want to use a different translation to highlight a nuanced meaning or translation difference.
© 2016 Morling College. Morling College is an affiliated institution with the Australian College of Theology (CRICOS Provider 02650E). Morling College Counselling (CRICOS Provider 03265F).