Griffith College Library

Academic Writing

Develop your academic writing skills

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.

Why should I reference?

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.

  • Credit is given to the work of others that you have used.
  • Referencing allows you to clearly demonstrate the depth and the breadth of your own reading and research.
  • Consistently applying a particular referencing style allows those who grade your work to easily identify and locate the references you have provided.
  • You will avoid accidental plagiarism.

Good research practice = Improved academic writing

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.

How can I avoid plagiarism?

By taking care to reference your work correctly you will:

  • Avoid committing accidental plagiarism. You must acknowledge any work, or part of any work, that you quote, paraphrase, summarise or copy.
  • If you write a sentence and do not include a reference, it is assumed that it is all your own work. Therefore, if you have in fact paraphrased someones work it is considered to be plagiarised.
  • If you use a quotation, and reference it but not do use quotations, that is taken that you are representing that the words are your own and can be considered to be plagiarism.
  • Take care not to include too many quotations, too much summary or paraphrasing.  If most of an assignment is simply a listed presentation of other peoples work, you cannot claim it is your own work and this is considered a form of plagiarism.  Often it is a question of a lack of confidence in expressing personal thoughts and insights in an academic style that leads to this issue. We have recommended textbooks to help with this, and also some very useful guides to help you articulate your research.
  • You must treat websites in the same way you would any source.

For more help in understanding what constitutes plagiarism, take a look at our Avoiding Plagiarism section.

crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram