Becoming an academic writer 10 steps to assignment success
Step One Prepare to research Open a research folder – old envelope, file, smart new briefcase… Read notes on “preparing to study” from Debbie Holleys homepagehttp://homepages.unl.ac.uk/~holleyd
What is being asked?Know the format: Write out the whole question Essay Underline all the key Report words. Presentation Look at the asking words – describe, Seminar? analyse, evaluate, discussIf in doubt – ask your Any other key words? tutor Like “using examples” or “illustrate with…”
Then: Analyse the question – all of it Have the overview – and fit the task to the learning outcomes these will be in the module booklet or available from module line via the university web site Be creative – use creative brainstorming and notemaking strategies Don’t know how? Go to a Learning Development Unit workshops and find out http:learning.unl.ac.uk/ldu
Action Plan Tip: research one word from theWhy? question at a time Where? When?What?
Step TwoFollow the action plan –undertake targeted research and active reading Make pattern notes Write on one side of the paper only Build paragraph patterns Put notes in folder – write bibliography on the outside
Tip: index cards Index cards are useful – and will save time writing up a bibliography at the end Author Date Title Publisher Place of publication A few key points
Step Three – stop! Stop reading Review your findings Re–read the question What gaps are there is your research?
Step Four Plan the outline of essay, report, presentation, whatever……. Use a study skills book to give you some ideas or collect a hand out from the Learning Development Unit Or self register on webCT for the online Writing and Communication workshop See the IT helpdesk if you need assistance to create a webCT account
Step Five Prepare the first draft…. A rough draft has gaps and mistakes Leave gaps – do not search for the right word – do not check spelling, tenses, (not this time)
Step Six Leave a time lag: the brain will work to close the gaps… How about a night out? Your action plan should leave you some time to enjoy yourself…..
Step Seven Review Revise Edit Struggle to write! Settle on a final draft
Step Eight Get a friend, Proof read colleague,Look for one type of to read over mistake at a time your work, or read it Think SPAG from back to front, Spelling bottom to top Punctuation to spot errors And Grammar
Step Nine Finished! Take a copy AND keep a copy Hand work in or before the deadline Check you have correctly completed the coursework documentation (module code, tutors name) Leave time to queue at the assessment unit and get a receipt
Step TEN and mostimportant! Review your progress – see article “your grades and what they mean” from Debbie Holleys homepage SWOT – then see a learning development tutor! Tutor feedback – read it, review it, plan what you will do with it! Ask if you can swap and read other peoples work