Topic Guide: Business Writing

Business & Economics Information Services (BEIS)

This introductory guide provides access to resources covering various types of business writing. The Catalogue has a wealth of resources on these topics. Search the Catalogue by using the headings below as keyword terms.
Business writing

How to:

Useful links:

Student Learning Services
for guides, including taking tests and exams; memory and thinking skills; time management

Library workshops and guides
for free library workshops and handouts

English Language enrichment (ELE) - Student Learning Services
for improving your English

The Owen G Glenn Building

The University of Auckland Business School, Owen G Glenn building

Abstract or executive summary

An abstract is a brief, stand-alone summary of the content or essence of an article, conference paper, report, or dissertation, usually no more than a few sentences. Although an abstract appears as the first section of a paper, it should be written last.

An executive summary is a condensed version, usually 1-10 pages, of the content of a longer document, previewing the main points, key results and recommendations. Readers often look at the executive summary when deciding whether or not to read the entire document.

back to top

Bibliography or reference list

A bibliography is a list of references or citations that appears at the end of a paper, article, chapter or book, or as a book in itself on a certain subject. In an annotated bibliography each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph or annotation. The annotation informs the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

See also the section on How to use References and Citations below.

back to top

Business communications, letters

back to top

Business plans and proposals

How to write a business plan Mike McKeever. 8th ed. Berkeley, Calif.: NOLO, 2007

How to write a business plan Brian Finch. 3rd ed. London: Kogan Page 2010.

The entrepreneur's guide to writing business plans and proposals K. Dennis Chambers. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2008.

Powerful proposals: how to give your business the winning edge David G. Pugh and Terry R. Bacon. New York: American Management Association, 2005.

Writing a business plan and making it work Brian B. Brown. Hayling Island: Rowmark, 2006.

back to top

Case study

Case studies are written summaries of real-life business situations which are analysed in a group setting to stimulate reflection, discussion and learning. 'Case method' is particularly associated with the Harvard Business School, where it was pioneered as a mode of learning; they are now widely used in business and management education.

Case studies (University of Auckland Library): a guide on how to analyse, write, study and discuss case studies.

The case method (Harvard Business School)

The art & craft of case writing William Naumes and Margaret J. Naumes. 3rd ed. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2012.

Teaching and writing case studies: a practical guide John Heath. 2nd ed. Wharley End: ECCH, 2002.

back to top

Essay or assignment

The business of writing: written communication skills for business students Emmanuel Manalo, Glenis Wong-Toir, Julie Bartlett-Trafford. 3rd ed. North Shore, N.Z.: Pearson, Prentice Hall, 2009

From great paragraphs to great essays Keith Folse, Elena Vestri Solomon, David Clabeaux. 2nd ed. Boston, Mass.: Heinle, Cengage Learning, 2010.

Planning the essay Part of an online tutorial created by University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services on academic writing. Also includes a module Building the essay and Checking the essay

Writing guidelines for business students edited by Lisa Emerson. 5th ed. Southbank, Vic.: Thomson Dunmore Press, 2013.

Write that essay Ian Hunter. Macquarie Park, N.S.W.: McGraw-Hill, 2008

Essay writing from Business Information Skills Online tutorial. (University of Auckland Library).

back to top

For publication (journal articles, books)

Academic journals and academic publishing editor: Goran Svensson. Bradford, England: Emerald Group Publishing, 2006

The academic's guide to publishing Rob Kitchin and Duncan Fuller. London: SAGE Publications, 2005.

From dissertation to book William Germano. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Getting published: principles, processes and pitfalls: a guide for researchers Bev Webber, Paula Wagemaker, Ruth Kane. Wellington: NZCER Press, 2006.

Publishing advice for graduate students Thom Brooks. SSRN, 2008

Strategies for revising and resubmitting papers to refereed journals Yochanan Altman & Yehuda Baruch. British Journal of Management 19(1) , 89–101, 2008

Writing for academic journals Rowena Murray. Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press, 2005.

Writing for publication Debbie Epstein, Jane Kenway, Rebecca Boden. London: Sage, 2005.

Writing for publication: road to academic advancement Kenneth T. Henson. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, 2005.

back to top

Literature review

The purpose of a literature review is to explore, compare and critically analyse what has been written before in your chosen subject area, either as a piece of work in itself, or as a start when engaging in primary research. A literature review is often a chapter in a thesis or dissertation and is also required for grant and research proposals.

Conducting a literature review (University of Melbourne)

Conducting research literature reviews: From the Internet to paper Arlene Fink. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2005.

Doing your literature review: Traditional and systematic techniques Jill K. Jesson with Lydia Matheson and Fiona M. Lacey. Los Angeles, Calif.: SAGE, 2011.

Effective literature searching for research Sarah Gash. 2nd ed. Aldershot, Hampshire: Gower, 2000.

The literature review: A step-by-step guide for students Diana Ridley. London: SAGE, 2008.

back to top

Marketing plan

How to write a marketing plan: from; step-by-step approach with sample plans.

How to write a marketing plan John Westwood. London ; Philadelphia: Kogan Page, 2013.

The marketing plan William A. Cohen. 5th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley & Sons, 2006.

The marketing plan handbook Marian Burk Wood. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008

The marketing plan workbook John Westwood. London ; Sterling, VA: Kogan Page, 2005.

back to top

Note taking

back to top

Presentation or conference paper

back to top


Research reports are written to communicate the results of research, field work, and other activities. Often, a research report is the only concrete evidence of your research or activity so it is important to get it right.

Contemporary business communication Scot Ober. Edition: 7th ed. Boston ; New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2009.

Contemporary business reports Shirley Kuiper. 5th ed. Cincinnati, Ohio: Thomson/South-Western., 2013.

How to write reports & proposals Patrick Forsyth. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Kogan Page Limited, 2006.

How to write technical reports: understandable structure, good design, convincing presentation Lutz Hering, Heike Hering. Heidelberg ; New York: Springer, 2010.

The business report From Business Information Skills Online (University of Auckland Library).

back to top

Research paper

In a research paper, you develop an argument of your own in relation to the work of others. A research paper imitates the form of the research article published in a journal in your chosen discipline, for which it is good practice.

McGraw Hill's concise guide to writing research papers Carol Ellison. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.

Principles of writing research papers James D Lester, James D. Lester, Jr. New York: Penguin Academics: Pearson/Longman, 2007.

Writing for academic success: a postgraduate guide Gail Craswell. London: SAGE, 2005.

Developing an outline (Online Writing Lab, Purdue University): guidelines with examples.

Writing a research paper (Online Writing Lab, Purdue University) detailed information about how to write research papers including discussing research papers as a genre, choosing topics, and finding sources.

back to top

Research project

A research project is usually one of the requirements of a taught degree and incorporates elements such as research design, problem formulation, data gathering, analysis and interpretation, as well as writing-up.

Business research projects A.D. Jankowicz. 4th ed. London: Thomson Learning, 2005.

Designing and managing a research project: a business student's guide Michael Jay Polonsky, David S. Waller. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2011.

Doing research projects in marketing, management and consumer research Chris Hackley. New York: Routledge, 2003.

Essentials of business research: a guide to doing your research project Jonathan Wilson. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2010.

Understanding research methods Donijo Robbins. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2008.

back to top

Surveys and questionnaires

Questionnaires and survey design ( downloadable online tutorial.

Asking questions: the definitive guide to questionnaire design Norman M. Bradburn, Seymour Sudman, Brian Wansink. rev. ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.

Designing surveys: a guide to decisions and procedures Ronald Czaja, Johnny Blair. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Pine Forge Press, 2005.

Methods for testing and evaluating survey questionnaires Stanley Presser et al. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2004.

back to top

Thesis or dissertation

Dissertation and scholarly research: recipes for success; a practical guide to start and complete your dissertation, thesis, or formal research project Marilyn K. Simon. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co., 2006.

Guide to theses and dissertations (School of Graduate Studies, University of Auckland) General guide to the presentation of theses and dissertations, with additional information about related policies and procedures at the University. Your department will also have their own guidelines and requirements to be consulted.

The action research dissertation: A guide for students and faculty Kathryn Herr, Gary L. Anderson. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications, 2005.

Doing your dissertation in business and management: the reality of researching and writing Reva Berman Brown. London: SAGE, 2006.

The elements of an effective dissertation and thesis: A step-by-step guide to getting it right the first time Raymond L. Calabrese. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.

Researching and writing a dissertation for business students Colin Fisher. Harlow: Pearson, 2004.

Succeeding with your doctorate Jerry Wellington et al. London: SAGE, 2005.

Thinking to thesis: A guide to graduate success at all levels Emmanuel Manalo & Julie Trafford. Auckland: Pearson Longman, 2004.

Your undergraduate dissertation: The essential guide for success Nicholas S.R. Walliman. London: SAGE, 2004.

back to top

How to avoid plagiarism

back to top

How to improve academic writing skills

back to top

How to improve information skills

back to top

How to read critically and improve reading skills

Critical reading techniques Useful resources from the Open University

The difference between academic and popular articles (Business Information Services, University of Auckland Library)

Fundamentals of critical reading and effective writing (Dan Kurland) How to think about what you read.

Guide to reading and analysing academic articles (Yukon College)

Seven steps to effective reading (

Strategies for reading and analyzing (Thomson Nelson)

back to top

How to reference and cite

APA referencing: A guide to business students: accepted style for the Business School.

Interpreting references (University of Auckland Library): how to distinguish between the different types of publications in a bibliography or reading list.

RefWorks: A web based tool for storing and managing bibliographic references.

NoodleBib Express: generate references in NoodleBib Express in MLA, APA or Chicago style and copy and paste what you need into your document.

Referencite: University of Auckland academic referencing resource. Includes useful referencing 'wizard', Quickcite.

BibMe bibliography maker - developed by Carnegie Mellon University.

Son of Citation Machine - enter parts of the citation and this tool will format the reference for you.

OttoBib - a free citation maker. Enter an ISBN or URL and OttoBib will create the APA citation.

back to top

Copyright©The University of Auckland Library
Comments and suggestions to: Margaret Tibbles
Last updated: 18 May, 2017