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The Humanities Manual:
A Guide for Students

This Manual has been prepared for the guidance of students enrolled in Programmes of study in the School of Humanities at Murdoch University.

Editor: Garry Gillard
School of Humanities
Murdoch University
HTML edition 1996 (third edition 1995)
© Murdoch University 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996



Documents are cited both to acknowledge the source of quotations, facts or ideas and so that readers can identify and trace the works being cited. If you do not cite your sources, you may be unwittingly claiming authorship of ideas or statements not your own. This is plagiarism which is not tolerated in academic circles. The following pages outline certain basic rules for referencing and contain examples of two common citation formats.

Students reading for assignments are often confused by the terms citation, bibliography, reference and footnote.

Citation formats

There are a number of accepted formats for references but with all of them there are certain specific elements which must be present. These are the elements.

For books:
* name of author or editor
* title (underlined or in italics)
* edition (if not the first)
* place of publication
* publisher
* year of publication

The inclusion of publication details indicates that the reference is to a book, not a journal, since the publisher is only given for books.

For journal articles:
* name of author of article
* title of article
* title of periodical in full
* volume number (the issue number is only given for very recent articles which are not likely to have been bound into one volume, or in journals in which the page numbering starts from page 1 in each issue)
* year of publication
* inclusive page numbers.

The order in which these elements are given in a reference will vary according to the citation system being used. See below under Endnote System and Harvard system.

NOTE: Authors may be persons (e.g. Charles Darwin) or institutions (e.g. Murdoch University).
Encyclopaedias are cited under title (not editor) with date, edition, publisher and place, and page number/s.
Newspapers . The title of the newspaper is given with the date of publication. Page number/s are given and column numbers are often included as well, particularly when back issues are in microform.

Two formats, the Endnote System and the Harvard System, are recommended as being widely used and generally accepted in academic writing. The endnote system preferred by the School of Humanities is the MLA Style, the style of the Modern Language Association of America. However, there are other formats and there are also variations of the two outlined here. Whether you choose one of these or some other should depend on the preferences of individual Unit Coordinators. However, once you have chosen a format for an essay, it is important to be consistent in the use of that format throughout the work.

Three steps to referencing

Step 1: Take down the full bibliographic details, including the page numbers, from which the information is taken. In the case of a book, bibliographic detail refers to author, title, edition (if not the first), volume number, publisher, place of publication and date of publication. In the case of a journal article, it refers to author of the article, title of the article, journal title, volume number, issue number, date and page numbers on which the article appears.

Step 2: Cite the reference at the appropriate place within the text of the essay.

Step 3: Provide either a reference list or a bibliography at the end of the essay.

Steps 2 and 3 involve listing citations according to accepted practices, which are outlined below.

Citing books and articles in reference lists or bibliographies

With lengthy works such as dissertations and theses, it is customary to include a bibliography as well as the list of references. Whether or not a bibliography is included depends on the intended scope of the work and on the system of referencing used.


The most usual arrangement for a bibliography is a single alphabetical sequence. However, a long bibliography can be divided into sections, either according to type of material (e.g. books and articles listed separately) or according to subject category. List all references in alphabetical order with the author's surname first, followed by the initials or given names. List references to books, journal articles, reports, etc. in one sequence by the author or title as appropriate. Separate the elements of each reference (e.g., author from title, title from publisher) by full stops rather than commas. Where an item has up to three authors, each is named. Where more than three authors are responsible for a work, the term 'and others' or ' et al .' is used after the first named author. (Where an item is unsigned, it is usual to cite it by its title, and to file it in the reference list or bibliography in sequence by the first significant word of the title.) Titles should be underlined or in italics.

The MLA system

Citing references within the text of an essay

Footnotes are listed at the bottom of the page on which a reference is made. A numeral is placed in the text to indicate the cited work and again at the bottom of the page in front of the footnote. Footnotes are used when there is only a small number of references. When there is a large number of references, endnotes (either at the end of the chapter or the end of the whole work) are used.

Indicating the relevant reference in the text

Numbers in brackets, e.g. (1) or in superscript indicate the relevant reference in the text of the work.

Here is an example of this kind of referencing.

Breaker Morant has been described as, '... a hard-fisted bushman, a versifier, womaniser, drunkard, gambler, a brilliant horseman, social success, brave soldier, and a ruthless adversary ...' (1). However, it is the circumstances which led to his trial and execution, which most concern the average Australian. Morant and his fellow soldier Handcock have been viewed as 'scapegoats of the Empire' (2).

At the bottom of the page the references are cited as follows:

(1) K. Denton, Closed File (Adelaide: Rigby, 1983): 68.

(2) B. Bridges, 'Lord Kitchener and the Morant-Handcock Executions', Journal of the Australian Historical Society, 73 , (June 1987): 37.

Later references

The citations given above are all examples of the first citation of a work. Subsequent citations of the same work can be abbreviated.

For example:
(1) Denton: 77.

If you are citing more than one work with the same author, it is necessary to include the work's title as well as the author's name in repeat citations.

This way of citing later references is now more common than using the Latin abbreviations op.cit (for previously cited works) and ibid (for a repeat of the preceding reference). A list of standard abbreviations is given on page 16.


The following examples demonstrate the format for a variety of types of references, listed alphabetically as they would be in an essay.

corporate author
Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. Annual Report 1983-84. Melbourne: ATI, 1984.

government publication
Australia. Department of Administrative Services. The Commonwealth and You: Compulsory Acquisition of Land . Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1984.

Encyclopaedia Britannica , 15th ed. 1987.

Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought . Ed. A. Bullock & O. Stallybrass. New & rev. ed. London: Fontana, 1988.

journal article
Guy, J. S. 'The Inhabitants of Utopia'. Literary Studies , 4, 3 (May 1966): 1-19.

no author given
'House Fire-bombed'. The West Australian November 22, 1989: 15.

conference proceedings
S.V. Szokolay ed. Solar Energy Coming of Age: Proceedings, 21st Annual Conference, International Solar Energy Society . St. Lucia, Qld.: University of Queensland, 1982.

edited work
McIntosh, A. L., ed. Lyrical Poems of Burns . Edinburgh: Buchanan, 1985.

article in a book
Oliver, H.J. 'Lawson and Furphy'. The Literature of Australia. Ed. G. Dutton.
Ringwood, Vic.: Penguin, 1964: 288-305

newspaper article
Penglase, J. 'Women and Aging'. National Times 12-16 January 1984: 15-18.

Stow, R. The Merry-go-round in the Sea . Ringwood, Vic.: Penguin, 1965.

The Harvard system

Citing references within the text of an essay

The Harvard System is also known as the Author-Date System or Adjacent Referencing.

Instead of placing a number in the text that refers to an item in a numbered list of references, the author's surname and the year of publication are inserted in the text and full references are listed alphabetically at the end of the work or at the end of each chapter.

If the work has two authors, both names are given, linked by an ampersand, e.g., (Smith & Jones, 1975). If there are more than two authors, all the names are given when cited for the first time, and thereafter the first name only, with the addition of et al ; e.g., (David et al , 1971).

If there are two or more publications by the one author in the same year, a distinction is made by adding a, b, etc. to the date, e.g., (Smith, 1978a).

This sample piece of text illustrates the Harvard System of referencing:

Holden (1987) focussed attention on the control of behaviour by the removal of portions of the human brain, a procedure usually called psychosurgery. ... Psychosurgery has been recommended for curing or ameliorating various psychiatric problems, including depression (Knight, 1969) and criminal behaviour (Koskoff and Goldhurst, 1968), and has also been used in the treatment of anorexia nervosa (Anorexia Nervosa, 1969) and epilepsy (Valenstein, 1973: 284-289). Recent studies on the functional role of the frontal lobes (Pribram, et al. , 1964; Thorne, 1972a) have shown that ...

Concluding a review of the medical and ethical aspects of psychosurgery, Brown Wienckowski and Bivens (1977: 257) stated that '... the answers to the issues of psychosurgery will depend heavily upon scientific advances ...'

Full bibliographic details of references cited within the text are given in the list of references or bibliography.


The following examples demonstrate the format for a variety of types of references:

no author given
Anorexia nervosa. (1969) British Medical Journal. 1 :529-530.

corporate author
Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. (1984) Annual report 1983-84 . ATI, Melbourne.

article in a book
BROWN, B.S., WIENCKOWSKI, L. and BIVENS, L. (1969) Psychosurgery: perspectives on a current issue. In KIMBLE, D.P. (Ed) Contrast and controversy in modern psychology . Goodyear, Santa Monica: 239-259.

journal article
KNIGHT, G. (1969) Stereotactic surgery for the relief of suicidal and severe depression and intractable psychoneurosis. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 45 (1):1-13.

book--two authors
KOSKOFF, V.D. and GOLDHURST, R. (1968) The dark side of the house . Dial Press, New York.

article in an encyclopaedia
STAFFORD-CLARK, D. (1987) Mental disorders and their treatment. In The New Encyclopaedia Britannica . 5th ed. Vol 23. Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., Chicago: 956- 975.

book other than first edition
STRUNK, W. and WHITE, E.B. (1978) The elements of style . 3rd ed. Macmillan, London.

more than one item by the same author published in the same year
THORNE, B.M. (1972a) Brain lesions and effective behaviour in primates: a selected review. Journal of General Psychology. 86 (3): 153-162.
THORNE, B.M. (1972b) The red nucleus and olfactory discrimination in the rat. Journal of General Psychology . 86 (4): 225-229.

newspaper article
SUMMERS, A. (1975) How women live. National Times , Dec. 22-27:12-14.

book with a single author
VALENSTEIN, E.S. (1973) Brain control: a critical examination of brain stimulation and psychosurgery . Wiley, New York.

If you wish to cite an article from a unit reader, remember that it is the article itself that is cited, not the fact that it has been reproduced in a unit reader.

Further information

The best way of finding out how to cite correctly is to follow examples. These examples of endnote references have been adapted from the Style Manual of the AGPS--the Australian Government Publishing Service.

There are several guides to citation and bibliographic format. These can be located in Murdoch Library in the ALIEN subject search option under: AUTHORSHIP HANDBOOKS MANUALS ETC. MANUSCRIPT PREPARATION (AUTHORSHIP)

Some of the most useful of these guides are:

R 686.2252 S 938 3
Style Manual For Authors, Editors and Printers. Fourth edition. Canberra: AGPS, 1988.

R 686.22 U58 1
The Chicago Manual of Style: For Authors, Editors, and Copywriters . 13th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.0

X 808.02 M689 2
Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations . New York: MLA, 1977.

R 808.02 A512 1 (copy for loan at X 808.02 A512) American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . 3rd ed. Washington: APA, 1983.

Some standard abbreviations

app. appendix
ch. chapter
ed. editor/edition
eds editors
N.B. please note
n.d. no date
no. number
p. page
pp. pages
rev. revised
trans. translated/translator
vol./s volume(s)

Latin abbreviations

et al. (et alii) and others
ibid. (ibidem) in the same work
op. cit. (opere citato) in the work cited

Plagiarism and Collusion

Adapted from material prepared in the School of Education

Students coming on to the university from other educational institutions are sometimes surprised at the serious view that is taken of certain practices relating to the submission of work for assessment. For example, having perhaps been encouraged at school or in some other institution to build up essays by stringing together quotations from sources such as reference books and encyclopaedias, they find that in a university not only is more emphasis placed on personal critical analysis, but failure to identify the source of every quotation used is regarded as a serious offence. Another mistake is to suppose that attempts to improve one's marks by submitting work done by another person will, if detected, be treated lightly, as though it were just the luck of the game to be found out.

The two examples given above are cases, respectively, of plagiarism and collusion. The university takes a serious view of both and imposes drastic penalties. The following comments will help you to understand why, and will indicate how you can steer clear of these offences.

What are plagiarism and collusion? Isn't it reasonable to get help from others ?

The word cooperation is used to refer to any form of joint effort, between students, or between staff and students, which this unit permits and encourages. It can be a valuable way to learn. It may even be acceptable to make joint submissions for assessment, if the tutor clearly specifies conditions which allow this. Cooperation, where the rules permit it, and it is practised openly and honestly, is not an offence but a good thing.

Collusion refers to any form of joint effort, between students, or between students and other persons, intended to deceive an assessor as to who was actually responsible for producing the material submitted for assessment.

Plagiarism refers to the practice of borrowing from the work of another scholar without indicating by a reference, and by quotation marks where exact phrases are borrowed, when the ideas expressed are not one's own. This can sometimes occur unintentionally, but it is frequently a deliberate attempt to deceive.

It should be noted that in the cases of both collusion and plagiarism it is because an individual fails to acknowledge the help obtained from another person that these practices are considered offences. The attempt to claim credit for work that is not your own is the enemy of true scholarship.

What's so wrong with collusion and plagiarism?

Students sometimes ask: why does the university treat these things so seriously? The answer has to do with what universities see their functions to be. In particular, they are charged to advance knowledge by sound scholarship. This requires, amongst other things, the correction of error and the exposure of falsehood. Academic staff who might otherwise be tempted to produce dishonest work are usually restrained by the knowledge that their work will be publicly reported in academic journals where both their methods and their results will come under careful scrutiny. Cases where academics have cheated make headlines, but the reason for this is precisely because they are fairly rare and universally frowned upon.

Universities have several functions, including training for various vocations. But at all times they are expected to teach in a way which helps and requires students to acquire the skills of intellectual inquiry. To this end, universities are expected to assess their students to see whether this expectation has been met. By the awarding of a degree the university is guaranteeing to the public, amongst other things, that the graduate has made the grade in this respect.

Where students attempt to deceive their assessors as to the level of achievement they have actually reached, this is not only immoral but puts the university's reputation at risk. It is therefore in the university's interest to treat such offences severely. Part of the immorality in such behaviour, incidentally, is that it is unfair to other students who have attempted to do honest work. Staff members at Murdoch University have been asked to make the university's expectations quite clear to students (as we are doing in this statement) and to report instances of such deception to the university administration for further action.

As we have said, however, students are sometimes ignorant of what really constitutes plagiarism or collusion.

Examples of plagiarism

Consider the following. Three students are writing essays on the subject of school discipline. Each discovers a definition in the 1972 Dettman Report on school discipline. This is what they wrote:

Student A: 'Discipline' refers to the state of order or good behaviour in a school. This, with the omission of two words and changes in the last three, is taken directly from the Report. It is bad writing because the student gives no sign of realising that there could be other ways of regarding school discipline. But it is also dishonest, because it involves plagiarism.

Student B: 'The discipline of a school is the state or condition of order or good behaviour among the students.'

The quotation marks indicate correctly that the definition has been borrowed, although the quotation is inexact because the word 'discipline' was underlined in the original, and the source of the quotation is not given. Since quoting from other sources is not the only reason why writers may put quotation marks around words, the present example is therefore ambiguous, and open to the charge of plagiarism. Not only that: the student does not demonstrate that he understands a topic by simply repeating a quotation.

Student C: One definition says that 'The discipline of a school is the state or condition of order or good behaviour among the students' (Dettman, 1972, 7). This definition emphasises the external signs of control, but makes no reference to the state of mind of the students.

Correct. This student has quoted accurately and acknowledged the source as required. She has also given signs of independent thinking by indicating what she considers to be a shortcoming of the definition. She has not assumed that the mere fact that it is printed in a book makes it right.

It is surprisingly easy for assessors who know their subject to detect instances of plagiarism, sometimes running to long quotations which the student takes from a work not cited by the lecturer. Most assessors regard the offence as sufficiently serious to warrant their searching for the original in their own time to confirm their suspicions. It can lead and has led to an automatic fail in that subject or even exclusion from the University.

Examples of collusion

Whereas plagiarism is occasionally unintentional, collusion is always deliberate. It involves, as we have said, the submission for credit of work that is not your own. Sometimes students have attempted to have a friend sit an exam on their behalf, or they have copied essays written by friends and submitted them for assessment. Assessment by written assignments tests skills which formal exams miss, but if a lecturer discovers cases of collusion, then this puts pressure on that lecturer to revert to the more traditional, and often less effective formal exam. This, again, is unfair to the honest students.

It is one thing for close friends who are studying the same unit to investigate and discuss a topic together. This is cooperation, and can be a valuable learning experience. It is another thing, however, for them to submit separate essays which are almost identical or mostly the work of one of them. Alert assessors usually find this sort of thing easy to pick up, and they are then obliged to take disciplinary action. Whatever help you get from discussing your topic with other people, write up your own thinking in your own way.

Policies on plagiarism and collusion

The University regards all forms of cheating very seriously indeed. All such cases are reported directly to the Dean who, in consultation with the University Registrar, decides what action to take. The current University policies on dealing with cheating are as follows:

1. Students are herein advised of these policies prior to submitting work for assessment. The plea of ignorance will not be accepted.

2. As an educative measure, students will be encouraged to adhere consistently to a standard referencing format when submitting written assignments.

3. Tutors will assist students if they are having difficulty in writing at an academic level.

4. All cases of suspected cheating have to be reported to the unit coordinator. If the unit coordinator believes that there is a prima facie case of cheating having occurred the unit coordinator must report that to the Dean.

5. If the Dean believes that the circumstances warrant action, the Dean will require the student to attend a meeting at which the nature of the offence will be discussed and the student will be given a chance to explain their actions.

6. The standard of proof required in cases of cheating is that "on the balance of probabilities" the misconduct took place.

7. Penalties for cheating can range from a warning up to expulsion.

8. Penalties are more severe for second and subsequent offences.

9. See also page 25 of the Murdoch University Handbook and Calendar 1996.

Note : when formal University policies are seen to be in conflict with those set out here, University policies must be adhered to.

Discriminatory Language

Adapted from the A105 Structure Thought and Reality Reader, and Lorraine Marshall & Frances Rowland, A Guide to Learning Independently.

The recent focus on discrimination has been concerned with stereotypes based on sex, sexual preference or race. Some other stereotypes commonly perpetuated in our culture relate to a person's age, physical or mental handicap, religion, politics, class or occupation.

Using language which depicts people according to stereotypes is undesirable because it shows:

For example:

The use of the phrases 'a career woman' to describe a woman interested in her work, and/or 'a dole bludger' to describe someone who is unemployed. Why have these cliches been used?

In this section we look at sexist language and attitudes as an example of avoiding discrimination.

Avoiding sexist language

Sexist language is based on stereotypes which assume that being biologically male or female implies a whole range of associated characteristics. Occasionally it is relevant to describe an actress as 'polite' or an actor as 'husky', or to describe a female character in a film as someone's wife or mother, but all too often adjectives such as these form part of a description in which they are irrelevant.

One useful test for sexist language is to substitute mention of a woman where a man is mentioned and vice versa. Would you talk about a 'boy Friday' or write 'Fred Smith, a tall redhead who is married to a typist, was today awarded his second gold medal'? How do you react to reading 'The stockbroker should at all times protect her clients' interests'?

'He', 'him', 'his'

'He' is commonly used to refer to both females and males; for example, 'He (the often refers to his audience as a 'Doreen' with a low IQ.' Convention limits our view of reality. Children may literally think of a male when they read or hear the word 'he' and many people who argue for the use of 'he' as a convenient shorthand to include both sexes object to the suggestion that 'she' might serve the same purpose.

The English language does not have a single pronoun which covers both 'he' and 'she' (or 'him' and 'her', or 'his' and 'hers'), but some alternatives to using only 'he', 'him', and 'his' are these.

Replace the masculine pronoun with 'he or she', 'him or her', 'her or his'; or with 'he/she', or 's/he', or with 'one' or 'you'.

Alternate the use of 'he' and 'she'

'This film is for the teacher who is concerned with improving her communication with her students ... the intention of the directors is to share experiences with the reader so that he may find some of them helpful in his own situation.'

Change from singular to plural

'This film is for teachers concerned with improving their communication with their students ... the intention of the producers is to share experiences with readers who may find some of them helpful in their own situations.'

Reword to eliminate unnecessary gender pronouns

'This film is for teachers concerned with improving communication between teachers and students ... the intention of its producers is to share experiences so that readers may find some of them helpful in teaching situations.'


The word 'man' has a double usage--to refer to a male person and to describe humanity in general. As with the use of 'he', the word 'man' creates a male image for us; when we read of 'man the hunter' or 'the descent of man' we may visualise a male person and forget about the women who are also part of the total picture.

Instead of:Consider:
man or mankind humanity, human beings, people, the human race, men and women
manpower human resources, human energy, workers, workforce
the man in the street a typical person, the average person, lay person
manmade synthetic, artificial, manufactured
chairperson the chair, leader, coordinator, head


Different attitudes to men and women are reflected in the inconsistent use of forenames and surnames, for example, 'Humphrey Bogart and Miss Bacall', 'Bogart and Lauren Bacall'. The use of titles also reveals attitudes, for example, 'Dr Bordwell and Kristin Thompson' (instead of Dr Thompson). One or the most common examples of discrimination by title is the emphasis placed on a woman's marital status by the term 'Mrs' and 'Miss' when the title 'Mr' refers to both married and single men (thus assuming marital status should be identity). Be consistent in your reference to men and women by name. Refer to both sexes equally by forename and/or surname.

Instead of:Consider:
'Humphrey Bogart and Ms Bacall' 'Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall'
Dr David Bordwell and Ms Kristin Thompson recently published a book on film Dr David Bordwell & Dr Kristin Thompson recently published a book on film
Kristin is now doing further research on this topic Ms Thompson is now doing further research on this topic

'A man's job'/'A woman's work'

Our language is based on assumptions, frequently outdated, about the occupations of women and men; for example, nurses are assumed to be female and doctors male. Men are often categorised according to their occupation and income. Women are categorised primarily as mothers and wives; for example, 'Rebel mum of three suicides in cell' to describe the prison death of a prominent political activist and journalist, or 'Dr Samuel Keep, a leading physician, and his wife Margaret' used to introduce two doctors who are married. Women should be treated as people in their own right' and women in traditionally masculine fields (or men in traditionally feminine fields) should not be described as if they are freaks.

Change 'Anna Clarke, career girl' to 'Anna Clarke, teacher' or 'Anna Clarke, engineer'

Instead of:Consider:
'male secretary' 'secretary'
'lady executive' 'executive
'workmen' 'worker', 'labourer', 'employee' or staff member
'authoress' 'author'
'waiter or waitress' 'steward' or 'attendant'
'The lady of the house' 'home maker', 'consumer', 'housewife'
'cleaning lady', 'cleaning woman' 'housekeeper', 'domestic help'


Instead of:Consider:
'the girls', 'the ladies', 'the fair sex', 'the weaker sex' 'the women'
'chicks', 'birds', 'girls' (for younger women) 'women'
'bitch', 'shrew' 'woman', 'angry woman'
'libbers' 'feminists', 'women's liberationists'

Issues that concern women should not be considered trivial or funny, for example:

Male and female characteristics

Unless it is relevant to a film to describe a woman's or man's physical and/or sexual attributes, omit them. Women are often described as 'blonde' or 'brunette', curvaceous' or 'slim' or men as 'tall', 'dark' or 'handsome' when such a description is unnecessary.

Instead of assuming that only women can be gentle, compassionate, sensitive, and only men can be decisive, logical, assertive, strong, or adventurous, think of these qualities as human rather than sex-based. Similarly, avoid the assumption that only women are passive, helpless or emotional and only men are insensitive, angry or ruthless.

Instead of: Women characters who don't comply with the stereotype of a passive female and men who don't conform to the image of an aggressive male are often described In a negative way. Consider:

Instead of:Consider:
'a pushy woman' 'a forceful woman'
'a gossiping woman' 'a talkative woman'
'an effeminate man' 'a gentle man'
'an hysterical woman' 'a woman who's upset'
'an aggressive woman' 'an assertive woman'

'The token woman'
Individual women are described because they are unusual but the majority of women are still ignored.

Documentary films may include descriptions of the life of a woman who is a social reformer (such as Elizabeth Fry) or a pioneer in a traditionally male field (such as Elizabeth Blackwell) but neglect the female contemporaries of these women.

'The patronised woman'
A special section is allocated to women without a corresponding section for men.

'Women's programs' on radio and TV may carry the implications that women aren't interested in the rest of the programs, that men don't have gender-based interests, or that men don't share 'women's' concerns.

A book index may have an entry under 'Women' but none under 'Men'.

In your writing, reading and speaking, being aware of discriminatory attitudes or language in yourself and in others requires that you question and evaluate what is being communicated.

The discriminatory habits of many academic disciplines need to be redressed, but these changes are not just exercises to be followed in the interests of scholarly precision. They are changes which involve an awareness of the biases we bring to our learning, changes in who who are and how we see other human beings with whom we live. Such changes can only be achieved by consistent and conscious effort because our discriminatory attitudes and language are part of who we have learnt to be.

References for this section

Curriculum Development Centre. 1975. Guidelines for writers , Canberra, CDC.

International Association of Business Communicators. 1977. Without bias: a guidebook (for for nondiscriminatory.guidelines . San Francisco, CA., IABC.

Lakoff, R. 1975. Language and woman's place , New York, Harper Colophon Books.

McGraw-Hill Book Company. 1974. Guidelines for equal treatment of the sexes in McGraw-Hill Book Company publications , New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company.

Random House, Inc. 1976. Random House guidelines for multi-ethnic/nonsexist survey , New York, Random House, Inc.

Deferred Assessment

The following guidelines on deferred assessment are adapted from the University's Regulations for the Degree of Bachelor.

What is deferred assessment?

Approval of deferred assessment allows a student to postpone an exam or compulsory coursework (essays, laboratory work, etc.) until after the assessment period at the end of the semester. A student who needs an extension for an essay until some time later within the semester, does not need to apply for deferred assessment, but should instead approach the tutor to request an extension.

Who is eligible?

A student can apply for deferred assessment only on the grounds of illness or exceptional personal circumstances which prevent the student from properly completing the unit on time. The student must also have been up-to-date with his or her work on the unit at the time the circumstances requiring deferred assessment arose.

Deferred assessment will not be granted on the grounds that an examination is during working hours (the student should take a half-day's leave); that an examination was missed because the student misread the timetable, forgot, slept in etc.; where the student had a stable pre-existing condition but chose to enrol and remain in the unit; where the student has submitted none of the work due at the time the grounds for deferred assessment arose; or where a student simply is behind with work. Deferred assessment also will not be granted after a student has attempted the examination. Students who have applied previously are given extra scrutiny.

How to apply

Applications must be submitted in writing to Student Administration , using the required form. Please substantiate your case.

If your application is on medical grounds, then it must be accompanied by a medical certificate on the standard (blue) Murdoch University form, and will not be processed until one is provided.


Any application for deferred assessment must be received no later than the Friday of week 13 of semester . This is a strict deadline; later applications will not be considered unless the grounds for seeking deferred assessment arose after week 13, or became more serious after then. (Any such application must be submitted before the examination--or, if the unit does not have an exam, before the end of the semester.) It is in your interest to submit your application as early as possible , as it usually takes up to a week for the University to reach a decision.

How long is the deferment?

Students granted deferred assessment can be given up to eight weeks extra to complete the unit. A letter confirming approval of deferred assessment will specify the type of assessment which is outstanding and the due date. It is the responsibility of the student to be fully aware of due dates and/or times and venues for assignments and exams. (In cases of extended illness, students can apply for an extension of deferred assessment; this can be up until the end of next semester.)


The following guidelines on deferred assessment are adapted from the University's Regulations for the Degree of Bachelor.

A student may appeal against the final grade awarded in any unit.

Informal appeals

It is preferable to exhaust informal avenues of appeal before lodging a formal appeal. If you cannot negotiate an acceptable result through informal means, you may use your right of formal appeal.

Informal appeals should be made by contacting the Unit Coordinator for your subject and requesting a review of your assessment. This review may involve another academic looking at the work submitted and re-marking it. You may ask at the School office for the name of the Unit Coordinator. Informal appeals must be completed before final submission of marks for the unit concerned: normally by the end of week 13.

Lodging an appeal

You must lodge your appeal in writing within 14 days from the date your final results are posted on the University noticeboard, not 'postage of mail', but the date the results are pinned up on the University noticeboard outside the library. The person to write to is the Dean of the School in which the unit is located—not the Dean of your major programme.

In the School of Humanities, once the appeal is received, the appeal letter, together with a standard Appeals form, are passed to the Unit Coordinator and to the Programme Chair for their comments. You then have the opportunity to read these comments and add your own, if you believe this will assist your appeal.

Meanwhile, an appeals committee is established consisting of the Dean, academic staff members appointed by the School Board, and the student representative of the School Board. All the members of the committee individually examine the appeals, then meet to decide the outcome. Once a decision has been reached, you will be notified in writing. You will be told the reasons for the decision, irrespective of the outcome.

The Committee/Dean can only work on the material they are given, hence the way you structure your appeal is of utmost importance. Also, it is important to contact the student representative before the Appeals Committee meets to familiarise them with your appeal. Contact the Guild to find out who your student representative is.

The grounds for appeal regarded as valid and invalid by Academic Council (as approved 11 March 1992) are as follows.

Valid grounds for appeal

* The student's grade is not based on the agreed assessment methods.

* A piece of work handed in on time has not been marked.

* The student's progress in the unit has been disadvantaged by not obtaining feedback on assessed work within a reasonable time.

* Alleged bias affecting the assessment.

* Alleged wrong advice from staff teaching the unit, for example concerning the content of the examination or approval of an extension of time for the submission of an assignment.

* Any other grounds which the School Appeals Committee accepts as reasonable.

Invalid grounds for appeal

* An appeal may not be considered against the objectives of a unit, the type of assessment employed or the level at which students are required to achieve the objectives of the unit.

* Because you got HDs in your other two subjects you deserve an HD in your third.

* The fact that your fail will entail an extra semester at University, more HECS, more visa charges, a tongue lashing from your parents, anything else unpleasant. Only appeal if you have a legitimate reason, otherwise you are handicapping people with genuine complaints.

General hints

* Be polite. It can work against you if you're not, especially when you would like your work reassessed.

* Outline your grievance and the circumstances surrounding your appeal. If you would like a specific action taken--say so.

* Include all relevant pieces of work.

* Don't be blatantly offensive, even if you have a right to be--it only works against you.

* The whole appeals process usually takes about twenty-eight days.

* If you cannot compile all the relevant information within the 14 days provided, lodge your appeal by the due date with 'further information pending'. Make sure you lodge this further information as soon as possible.

Honours appeals

The guidelines for appeal regarding valid and invalid grounds also apply to Honours students, with the additional guideline that alleged inadequacy of supervision is not a valid ground.

Honours students come under Bachelor Degree Regulations. The regulations for honours students state:

A student may appeal against the class of honours awarded only if it is shown that the procedures established by Academic Council have not been followed. An appeal must be lodged within fourteen days of the release of the honours results by the University.

However, this does not preclude a student appealing against an individual component (course work or thesis) as for an undergraduate unit.

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