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All content. Academic writing Types of academic writing Planning your writing Structuring written work Grammar, spelling and vocabulary Editing and proofreading Evidence, plagiarism and referencing Help and support. Types of academic writing. For example, in an empirical thesis: you will use critical writing in the literature review to show where there is a gap or opportunity in the existing research the methods section will be mostly descriptive to summarise the methods used to collect and analyse information the results section will be mostly descriptive and analytical as you report on the data you collected the discussion section is more analytical, as you relate your findings back to your research questions, and also persuasive, as you propose your interpretations of the findings.

Descriptive The simplest type of academic writing is descriptive. To make your writing more analytical: spend plenty of time planning.

How to Do Research for an Excellent Essay: the Complete Guide

Brainstorm the facts and ideas, and try different ways of grouping them, according to patterns, parts, similarities and differences. You could use colour-coding, flow charts, tree diagrams or tables. For example, advantages and disadvantages. Persuasive In most academic writing, you are required to go at least one step further than analytical writing, to persuasive writing.

To help reach your own point of view on the facts or ideas: read some other researchers' points of view on the topic. Who do you feel is the most convincing? Where is the evidence strongest? What are the real-life implications of each one? Which ones are likely to be most useful or beneficial? Which ones have some problems?

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Do you agree with their point of view? To develop your argument: list the different reasons for your point of view think about the different types and sources of evidence which you can use to support your point of view consider different ways that your point of view is similar to, and different from, the points of view of other researchers look for various ways to break your point of view into parts. For example, cost effectiveness, environmental sustainability, scope of real-world application.

To present your argument, make sure: your text develops a coherent argument where all the individual claims work together to support your overall point of view your reasoning for each claim is clear to the reader your assumptions are valid you have evidence for every claim you make you use evidence that is convincing and directly relevant. Critical Critical writing is common for research, postgraduate and advanced undergraduate writing. You need to: accurately summarise all or part of the work.

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This could include identifying the main interpretations, assumptions or methodology. Related links Learning workshops. Research skills for HDR students. Reading and note taking. The kind of notes you take depends on how detailed you want your notes to be. If you're writing a reminder to yourself to pick your brother up from sports practice, a reminder on a sticky note or on your phone alarm will do the trick, and probably takes about three words. If you're writing an outline from a book or a lecture of the causes of the American Revolutionary War , that's going to take a little more space and organization—so it's good to think about the depth of your notes ahead of time.

Many students look at the American Revolution example of note taking and think it looks pretty complicated, but it really isn't.

Academic Writing Course: Study Skills in English

Each section starts with a big idea, then includes examples or parts of that big idea. It's easy to get caught up in the Roman numerals, and the abcs used in note taking, but once you understand their purpose, you can adopt the traditional note taking method to your own style. Mapping offers visual clues to how ideas are related. Some people like the way the big circles and little circles are used to indicate big and little ideas, while others take one look at this and think, wow, what a mess!

It's important to understand that you need to find a method of note taking that really works for you. Some people are able to use all three of the methods we've discussed, while others develop their own. One of the key ways of checking the impact of your note taking skills is to see what you missed on a test or quiz. If your grade wasn't quite what you expected, review the answers and see if they exist in your notes. If they don't—or if they do, but you couldn't easily find them when studying—it's time to tweak your note taking skills….

Yeah—big mistake there. They all should be to the far left. Note taking from a book or a lecture is actually pretty easy, since a good author and a good speaker organize their thoughts in ways that are easy to follow in fact, some books put an outline of the major ideas at the end of each chapter. That isn't always the case with a meeting or a class discussion; there may be an agenda to try and keep things organized, but if you're talking about how to solve a problem, the ideas may not come out in any organized fashion. As an exercise, pull out a piece of paper, and try taking notes for this two minute meeting.


When you have to find a way to try and make sense out of a presentation that doesn't have much structure, consider these strategies:. Try the mapping approach. This approach allows you to put big ideas big circles anywhere, so if new ideas are coming at a fast pace, you can keep up. Some people will supplement the circles by putting stars next to big ideas, or by putting stars next to action items. This is a good way to separate ideas from activities you have to complete. As another exercise, go back to the two minute meeting, and try keeping notes using the mapping approach.

Was that easier for you? You need to give very careful thought to the approach you're going to take as you take notes. You may read or hear an idea that you like so much, you decide to write it down exactly as it was first written or said by someone else. On the other hand, you may come across an idea you really like, but it's so complicated that the best you can do is summarize the idea in your own words as you write it down.

You're going to want to develop a way to keep direct quotes separate from summaries that are in your own words, since using someone else's words and ideas in a paper or presentation and claiming them as your own is plagiarism, which is a huge no-no in the academic world. Since schools and colleges put a high value on original thought, any student who tries to cut corners by using someone else's words and ideas will find themselves in trouble, fast.

A good number of high school students who plagiarize will find it extremely difficult to get admitted to college; famous authors sometimes get tripped up in their note taking, sometimes putting them in tough situations, and even presenting an idea or musical melody that's close to another one can lead to legal action you want to avoid.

The best approach to staying out of hot water is to make some simple rules, and stick to them. Many students will put direct quotes in quotes—it's quick to write down, and easy to remember. This works even for note taking while reading; if you're writing down the idea as it's written in a book, write it the same way you would if the author was in the room, speaking to you. Some students are able to paraphrase and summarize as they're taking notes, but that's a talent that can often slow other note-takers up, which leads them to miss some of the key points of a class lecture.

It's best to develop the quote system for now, then learn how to summarize ideas when writing your essays or drafts. We'll talk more about how to study from your notes in the section on Study Skills, but there's a step you might want to take before you start to use your notes to study for the quiz or writing that first rough draft of a paper.

Many students will build in about twenty minutes after a class or meeting to review their notes. At first, this might not make a lot of sense. If you just heard what the professor had to say, or if the boss just recapped the meeting, you probably remember what was said.

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While that may be true, remember that the goal of notes is to remember what was said long after the meeting was over. Reviewing your notes gives you a chance to find that incomplete sentence and add in the two or three words that will finish the thought, or rewrite the key word that somehow has become a smudge. Some people will use this time to rewrite their notes completely, putting them in Roman numeral form, or using the mapping approach and putting the big idea circles closer together. You've probably heard of creative people who get incredible ideas in unusual places.

Whether those inspiring moments occur in class, while studying, or while walking the dog, it's important to find a way to record these small ideas, since they have the potential to become big ideas. In addition, it's wise to enter these ideas in a journal or notebook, so you'll have one place where all your ideas reside. Many students find this difficult, because reflective writing is quite different from other assignments and discussing your own feelings and performance in academic work can be tricky at first. This help guide will take you through the process of producing a reflective essay.

Proofreading You may think that proofreading is just a ten minute job which involves checking for typos and spelling mistakes. It is so much more than that, and done properly, can mean the difference between a pass and a fail. This guide explains all. Find information for my subject.

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