A large part of your academic studies will be spent communicating your work through writing. By putting effort into developing your academic writing skills, you are taking the opportunity to express the range of reading you have undertaken, and your critical analysis of that research.
Often, when we put our thoughts down on the page, it does not accurately reflect the level of understanding that we have gained in the course of our study. For the person marking your work, they have no way of attributing marks other than by what is presented on the page. So it really is important to commit to developing your academic writing skills from the start. But as with all skills you will develop over the course of your studies, do remember your writing will develop over time. You are not expected to be an expert from day one. You are however, expected to engage at a minimum with using the relevant referencing system as directed by your faculty, and attribute all your sources appropriately and avoid plagiarism.
For library guides and recommendations on resources to help you develop your academic writing, take a look at our Guides & Resources for academic writing section. You can also access further guides in the Library Moodle.
When writing and submitting assignments you are expected to support your arguments by providing evidence from other published works. These references can come from a variety of sources – academic journals, textbooks, newspaper articles, websites, reports etc.
By engaging in good research practice and taking the time to understand the referencing system your faculty expects you to use, you will avoid accidental plagiarism. You will also get into good habits that will allow you to engage with the subject and get a better understanding of both the topic and develop your own critical thinking.
Get into the habit of noting down where you have read something that interests you, where you found an article, a page number where you got a quote from. There are many approaches that you can take, finding the approach that works well for you is well worth some time and thought in the long run.
The library is here to support you in your studies and will assist you with understanding referencing styles and academic writing. We offer a range of workshops on how you can best use a range of academic databases and research software to assist you in your studies and assignments. If you wish to make an appointment for one to one guidance or to arrange a group workshop please contact us.
By taking care to reference your work correctly you will:
For more help in understanding what constitutes plagiarism, take a look at our Avoiding Plagiarism section.