Academic Writing

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Learning Outcomes

There are a number of skills involved in writing effectively at an academic level. This learning module aims to help you develop skills in the areas of

  • Academic writing microskills
  • Academic structure
  • Writing paragraphs
  • Essay writing

Academic writing micro-skills

There are some writing skills that are very important as a student. Some of the most important academic writing skills are summarising and paraphrasing. Complete these online tutorials, and take notes of the key points.

Academic structure

While sometimes when answering questions it may seem to you as if merely writing the information which answers the question down on the paper is enough, in many cases it actually is not. There are several good reasons for trying to write using good academic structure. Firstly, good structure makes your message and information clearer and easier for the reader to understand. Secondly writing in this way is required within your course of study.

You should consider academic structure whenever you are writing a long-answer question (otherwise called a paragraph) or an essay.

Writing a paragraph

In your assignments you will commonly be asked to write a paragraph or a long-answer question. It's advisable to write your answer with good academic form to improve the readability of what you have written.

  • This tutorial will help you to understand how to structure a paragraph effectively. Remember to take notes of the key points.

Essay writing

You will be required to write essays during your programme of study. An essay is essentially a series of related paragraphs which are sit within an introduction and a conclusion. Victoria university have produced an excellent handout which illustrates how to structure an essay.

Understanding how to structure an essay is not all you need to write a good essay. There is a process which you will go through which involves considering the question, researching the topic, collating key findings, structuring your essay, writing, reviewing and rewriting your essay. The Online Information Literacy tutorial will take you through these steps. Don't be put off by the fact that the tutorial mentions "the area of 'Social Work and Community Development' as the discipline for your essay topic". This is just an example. Remember to take notes.

Becoming good at academic writing is an ongoing process. Even professional academics need to work on improving their writing. It's advisable to review this learning module and the notes that you've taken from this learning module whenever you need to complete a piece of writing of reasonable size.

Further skill development

If you would like further writing skill development then the two following tutorials may be of benefit

Try It

Apply what you've just learned to your first essay.

Additional Resources


--David McQuillan 2008, 2009