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Help with writing assignments

You can improve your skills at writing assignments for your subject area in a number of ways: 

  • Read the guidance or view the online tutorial on this page.  They both go through the TIME model (Targeted, In-depth, Measured, Evidence-based) to explain what's required in academic writing.
  • Attend one of our Succeed@Tees workshops. We run a workshop on academic writing, as well as on other types of writing (including critical writing, reflective writing, report writing).  See Succeed@Tees workshops for more information, including a list of dates and times.
  • Book a one-to-one tutorial with our learning and development team. We can provide guidance on your structure and writing style.

Guidance on academic writing

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Time Model

  • Writing an assignment takes time, more time than you may expect.  Just because you find yourself spending many weeks on an assignment doesn’t mean that you’re approaching it in the wrong way.
  • It also takes time to develop the skills to write well, so don’t be discouraged if your early marks aren’t what you’d hoped for.  Use the feedback from your previous assignments to improve.
  • Different types of assignments require different styles, so be prepared for the need to continue to develop your skills.

We’ve broken down TIME into 4 key elements of academic writing: Targeted, In-depth, Measured and Evidence-based.

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Your assignment needs to be targeted.  It should:

  • Be focused on the questions and criteria
  • Make a decision
  • Follow an argument


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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.

You should:

  • Identify topic areas
  • Research
  • Plan your assignment
  • Think about your introduction and conclusion

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An academic writing style is measured. By this, we mean that it’s:

  • Cautious
  • Emotionally neutral
  • Formal – written in the third person and in full sentences

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Your assignment needs to be evidence-based. You should:

  • Reference all the ideas in your work
  • Paraphrase your evidence
  • Apply critical thinking to your evidence

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.

W is for What

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.

E is for Evidence 

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.

E is for Examples

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.

D is for Do

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.

Online support for academic writing

We have a LibGuide dedicated to academic writing, with an online tutorial and a Spark visual guide to support you.

LibGuide with tutorial

Link to academic writing LibGuide which includes online tuorial

Spark visual guide

Link to visual guide in Adobe Spark

School Guidelines for Academic Writing and Presentation of Assessed Written Work

Tutorials for academic writing and study skills support

For help with writing or academic skills, book a tutorial with one of our learning development team: Yvonne or Sue. We can offer support face to face at our Middlesbrough campus, via email or Teams. 

Please book a time via the link below. Please indicate on the form what type of appointment you would like. 
If you want email support, you don't need to be free at that time, but we will use that time to read through your work and then send feedback for you to review. Please send your work before the time slot.

If you want Teams or face-to-face support, please send the work the day before, so we can read through it and then we will use the appointment time chatting to you about the work.

Book a tutorial at


  Yvonne Cotton  Sue Myer  

If there are no convenient times available please contact: or