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.
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.
There are many useful guides to help you get started with your academic writing. Often learners are under pressure for time and a well placed guide or short, interactive lesson at key points can save a lot of time in the longer term. We have a compiled a number that we recommend, which many students have provided very positive feedback on.
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.
The Manchester Phrasebank is an excellent resource for all those looking to develop their academic writing at all levels, be they undergraduate, Masters level, or academic staff. It presents lists of phases broken down into areas such as “introducing a topic,” “being critical,” “comparing and contrasting,” “classifying and listing,” and much more. It will help you to articulate your research, by prompting critical analysis of your research.
All Aboard Higher Education / Conducting a search strategy:
Zotero - Supporting Research and Academic Writing
Zotero has many strengths that can support each stage of your research journey. It can act as a bookmarking tool for your initial research stage, you may also add notes to each record to allow you to retrace your research and to make connections between sources. In the written stages of your work it can help you with your academic referencing, providing an easy to use Word plug in for in-text citations. This can create automatic bibliographic records for the Griffith College Harvard referencing style.
The Library provides training guides and online videos to support you as you learn to incorporate Zotero into your academic work. We can also offer face to face support or remotely. Contact us to find out more.
To get started, visit our Zotero Referencing Software section