Tertiary teaching in New Zealand/Academic skills/Academic writing

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Academic writing

  Topic Six

Being able to express yourself clearly in writing and according to the conventions of the discipline you are studying is important to your success whether you are a student, academic, researcher or a practitioner. As a student not only will it assist you to obtain good marks, it is the method by which you confirm your entry into the research process. Writing allows you to share your thinking to external readers, and it provides a clear mechanism for both developing and demonstrating a critical argument.

  • Writing helps you to clarify your thinking
  • Writing shows your thoughts to external readers

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On successful completion of this section, you will be able to:
  • Identify differences in academic skills required between educational contexts and develop skills not already held, necessary for the New Zealand context.

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Does writing intimidate you?

Many people are fearful of writing. Some people worry that they just won't be able to put what they are thinking on paper and say "what they really mean." Others have bad memories of marks received in secondary school, and simply consider themselves to be "bad writers." However, writing is like building a table. There are fine artisans who can craft beautiful pieces of furniture, but in a wood-working class with a good instructor, most people can follow rules and use tools so as to produce a serviceable piece of furniture. There are a number of important writing rules and tools that most hesitant writers don't even know about that will be covered in this wiki, as well as instructions about what your lecturers will expect from the written assignments you will hand in.

The writing process

The writing process is all about saying what you really mean, and knowing that your readers will understand what you intend them to. In order to be able to write well, you do need to have a grasp of the English language. This module is designed for students who already know the basics of Standard English. Some students may require extra assistance prior to undertaking this module. If you have concerns about your ability to manage the basics of English, like writing a complete sentence, you may wish to have your basic skills evaluated at the learning support centre while you are going through this module.