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Instructions for Written Work

Academic writing

Academic writing may seem difficult, especially when you are just getting started. The start and progress or written work can be made easier  with proper planning. One of the main benefits of planning is that you do not have to write the whole text in order, from start to finish, nor does  the end result need to be perfectly polished from the start. Writing can be seen as a gradual process with several stages. This work method is often called process writing (e.g. Basic Writing).

The main stages of the writing process are planning, drafting, writing, editing and polishing. In the planning and drafting stages, the main  focus is on gathering information on the topic and delimiting, specifying and structuring the topic. Planning can follow e.g. the mind map  technique. At this stage, you think about the main chapters of the text, their contents and headings. Information from different sources, as well as ideas and thoughts should be written down systematically, including bibliographical data. At the drafting stage, you should not get too  caught up on the style of the text; focus instead on having the main points structured and tentatively expressed.

The different parts of your text can be written in overlapping stages. If you cannot get on with a specific section, focus on something else for a while. That means the work will progress constantly. Even when a text seems finished, it usually still requires some polishing. Be sure to take feedback you receive on board. Editing and finalising completed texts takes time and patience but it improves the end result.

Style and language

The style of academic texts should be relevant and professional. The language must be clear, intelligible, and linguistically flawless. Refrain from using colloquial expressions. Statements and claims must be justified, and the key concepts should be defined. Also make sure you use concepts consistently in accordance with the definitions you have given.

 

Your text should progress logically from one thing to another. Sentences and paragraphs should link to each other naturally and firmly, so that it is easy for the reader to follow the writer’s train of thought. Remember that the reader is not aware of the connections between things or of your opinions and perspectives, and so you must express them in your text.
Be consistent in the use of verb tenses in your text. When reporting on the progress of a study, the preferred tense is the past tense.

 

Bad grammar and spelling can label the whole academic text as bad, even if its content is good, so remember to make an effort at writing well. For instructions on writing and proper language use, refer e.g. to the bibliography appended to these instructions.

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