Producing written work as part of a university exam, essay, dissertation or other form of assignment requires an approach to organisation, structure, voice and use of language that differs from other forms of writing. Understanding more about the conventions of your discipline and the specific features of academic writing can help you develop confidence and make improvements to your written work.
Breaking the writing process down into several smaller stages might help to make it more manageable (see the essay workflow). There are lots of resources available to help you develop your skills around all stages of the process including the following:
- Reading and Note Taking
- Literature Searching
- Critical Analysis
- Mind Mapping
- Essay Structure and Planning
- Editing and Proofreading
- Using Feedback
Try our Academic Writing Overview Prezi to find out more.
Language and Register
Academic writing uses a more formal register than everyday communication. There are a number of conventions to follow that will help you to hit the right level of formality in your writing:
1. Use 'Latinate' verb forms and avoid casual language
2. Avoid contractions and abbreviations
3. Appears neutral and impassive
4. Uses Evidence
All facts and theories should be referenced using a standard system:
5. Has a clear overall structure
The skill of structuring your writing and building effective connections between paragraphs is one that will allow you to develop and sustain a compelling argument in your written work. By setting out your ideas and evidence with a natural flow, you will make your work much more readable. This important technique will help you work towards higher levels of attainment in assignments and help to improve the quality of your everyday writing.
A paragraph will usually discuss only one idea as outlined in the first sentence, the topic sentence. If you find a paragraph drifting away from this controlling idea, it is time to split it into more than one paragraph.
For more information about essay structure, visit the essay structure and planning pages.
|Want to know more?||
Manchester University - Academic Phrasebank