You can improve your skills at writing assignments for your subject area in a number of ways:
We’ve broken down TIME into 4 key elements of academic writing: Targeted, In-depth, Measured and Evidence-based.
Your assignment needs to be targeted. It should:
Your assignment needs to be in-depth. You should consider your questions and criteria thoroughly, thinking about all possible aspects, and including the argument both for and against different viewpoints.
An academic writing style is measured. By this, we mean that it’s:
Your assignment needs to be evidence-based. You should:
Once you’ve found all your evidence, and have decided what to say in each section, you need to write it up as paragraphs. Each paragraph should be on a single topic, making a single point. A paragraph is usually around a third of a page.
We find Godwin’s (2014) WEED model very helpful for constructing paragraphs.
You should begin your paragraph with the topic or point that you’re making, so that it’s clear to your lecturer. Everything in the paragraph should fit in with this opening sentence.
The middle of your paragraph should be full of evidence – this is where all your references should be incorporated. Make sure that your evidence fits in with your topic.
Sometimes it’s useful to expand on your evidence. If you’re talking about a case study, the example might be how your point relates to the particular scenario being discussed.
You should conclude your paragraph with the implications of your discussion. This gives you the opportunity to add your commentary, which is very important in assignments which require you to use critical analysis.
So, in effect, each paragraph is like a mini-essay, with an introduction, main body and conclusion.
Allow yourself some TIME to proofread your assignment. You’ll probably want to proofread it several times.
You should read it through at least once for sense and structure, to see if your paragraphs flow. Check that your introduction matches the content of your assignment. You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve been concise in your writing style.
You’ll then need to read it again to check for grammatical errors, typos and that your references are correct.
It’s best if you can create some distance from your assignment by coming back to it after a few days. It’s also often easier to pick out mistakes if you read your work aloud.