Developing your academic writing
- Many students tend to worry that their academic work might not be of the required standard; and it’s true that a common problem with many students is that they tend to write in a very casual and informal manner, particularly at first. Generally speaking, assignment writing at university needs to be relatively ‘formal’ in tone, professional, well structured, as well as clear.
- It can take many months of hard work developing your writing skills to get to this ‘preferred level’ of writing. However, there are many resources and materials which can help you improve your writing to this desired standard. For help and information, take a look through the resources mentioned on the Learning Support page of this Business School website, as well as the recommended reading on this site also.
- As a general rule, look at the style and tone of the articles and journals you are reading in your subjects. Whilst you may not be able to (nor wish to) write in the same manner, trying to adopt some of their features (such as formality, vocabulary use, professional tone and well referenced and properly formatted citations) will help your writing to sound and become more 'academic'.
- The UTS library has many useful texts on how to develop and better your academic writing skills. Search through the catalogue or ask a librarian. Many of these books include samples of academic essays, paragraphs, sentence structures and sample report writing which can give you a sense of how to develop your own academic writing skills.
- Look at some of the recommended texts in the Further Self Study Resources / Further Reading folder for more useful books to help you.
Using Academic Sources Of Information
During your research and background reading, you will inevitably read through a large amount of information. However, it is also important to be aware of the suitability and reliability in 'academic terms' of what you are reading.
Use of Popular Sources:
Generally speaking, popular websites such as Wikipedia, yahoo forums, tabloid newspapers (e.g. Daily Telegraph) and discussion boards etc. are not seen as credible and reliable 'academic sources of information'. As such, (unless instructed) you should generally not be using this type of information source in your written work (as references)*.
As a general rule, try to have the bulk of your reading and research from peer reviewed sources of information*. That is, from professional and academic journals, academic papers, research reports and from professional and reliable organisations and institutions. A very good place to start looking for information is through one of the dedicated databases through the UTS Library.
Also in your reading, engage your critical thinking skills in assessing the information for relevancy, clarity, bias, timeliness, authority, objectivity and whether it is backed up and underpinned by reliable research.
Primary or Secondary Data:
You may also wish to consider whether you are reading primary research (i.e. original research methods or findings) or secondary research (i.e. evaluating or discussing previosuly presented material/data).
* These are general rules only. Please be advised and follow the instructions given to you by your lecturers and tutors regarding use of sources.
Guide to Writing Assignments
This guide is intended to assist students prepare assignments and develop research skills and an effective writing style. These skills will be helpful during both their university studies and business careers.
UTS Business School Guide to Writing Assignments 2020