This section will help you to read and understand DCFE's Briefs for your assignment work.

The look and layout of briefs may differ from Tutor to Tutor, but there are essential and common elements to all briefs. We will explore them in some detail here.

Sample Brief

When issued a brief, look at and highlight the following:

Plagiarism Declaration

By submitting your assignment work through Moodle, you are asserting that any information that you have used as part of the work, or work that influenced you, has been credited and the author's name and information about where it came from is included in two places: 

1. Immediately after where you used the information in the text through citing the source i.e. (Surname, Year) or (Company Name, Year) 


2. The full reference is in Bibliography on a separate page at the end of the assignment 

Chapters in Books

Author's surname, initials. (Year). "Chapter Heading", Full Title of the Book, publishers location: publishers name.

Web sites

Company Name or Author's surname, initial. (Year). Name of web page. Name of web site. Available at: full URL. Accessed on Date/Month/Year.

More information about referencing in Harvard Style will be on the Research & Referencing page on this site.

Commonly Used Terms


Break down a subject. Look at it from all angles. What’s involved in it? What’s good about it? What’s not so good about it? What would you like to continue as good practice? What would you change and why? 


Make a case based on appropriate evidence for / against a point of view.


Determine the solution using Maths.


Arrange into classes or categories.


Find the resemblances or similarities between items; you are to emphasise similarities, although differences may be mentioned. 


Point out the differences between items. 


Express your judgment on a topic. Give the good points, the negative points, what would continue to do for good practice and what you would improve and in what way.  


Say briefly what the word/phrase means.  


Explain using examples.


Fully say what the topic is like. Give as much detail as possible. (Imagine you are telling someone who knows nothing about the subject as much information as you can so they can understand it.)  


Make a preliminary plan or sketch.


Expand on a statement/idea to include more detail.


Invent or plan based on existing knowledge or information.


For a question which specifies a diagram you should present a drawing, chart, plan, or graphic representation in your answer. Generally you are expected to label the diagram and in some cases add a brief explanation or description. 


Discuss the differences between items. Differentiate can also relate to the mathematical term meaning to find the derivative.


This is common in essay style questions. You should be detailed in your answer with a full explanation of the topic. Explain the topic, give the pros and cons of the topic and analyse the topic. 


To show a difference between two or more areas / headings.


Look at the topic from all angles. What are the advantages and limitations? Say how valuable this topic is in the subject. What would you recommend as good points to continue and what would you recommend should change and why? 

This term is used in Maths to mean: “find a numerical answer”.


Make clear exactly what is involved in the topic. Give reasons for any ideas in the topic and analyse it.   


Look at a topic in greater detail.


A question which asks you to illustrate usually requires you to explain or clarify your answer to the problem by presenting a figure, picture, diagram, or concrete example. 


Associate the topic with a specific but separate topic.


Examine in detail.


Give good reasons to back up the opinion or answer you have given.

List (or enumerate)

Give a numbered list of items in concise form – not too much detail. Be clear and logical in your list. 


An outline answer is an organised description. You do not have to be very detailed, just give the main points of the topic. 


Give details and evidence which shows an argument to be true without using your own opinion.


Provide reasons in favour of a given topic.


Highlight the connections between two or more items.


A review specifies a critical examination. You should analyse and comment briefly in organised sequence upon the major points of the problem. 


Just give the main points.  


When you are asked to summarise or present a summarisation, you should give in condensed form the main points or facts. 


Put the information into a table.


When a question asks you to trace a course of events, you are to give a description of progress, historical sequence, or development from beginning to end.