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Academic writing

Academic writing is the type of writing you are expected to use for assignments and assessment whilst you are at university. It is important to view this type of writing as a process; a series of stages you need to go through, to enable you as a student to develop the levels of knowledge and understanding required to achieve at the highest levels in your degree. 


Writing for assessment at university is known as academic writing. This, however, is an umbrella term for a range of genres of writing, from the less formal reflective or digital writing, to the more formal essay or report. Many of the resources in this section will help you to plan and structure your writing to help you to articulate your thinking, and achieve at the highest level.

Key resources for academic writing

Argumentation in academic writing

Using English for Academic Purposes

A basic guide to academic writing

Enhancing your writing

Understanding Assignment Brief

Before thinking about conducting your research, it is a good idea to understand what the question is asking you to do. You can for instance use the wording of the title to identify your approach, key search terms and key ideas.

Answering the question information sheet

Answering the question worksheet

Answering the question video

Instruction words in essay questions

Instruction words in maths questions

Critical Thinking

Have you ever received feedback on an assignment telling you to be less descriptive and more critical within your assignments?

Our resources will help you to gain a deeper understanding of what critical thinking is and why we use it at university.

Plymouth University - Critical Thinking

Let’s Get Critical

Critical thinking and reflection – Learnhigher

Critical thinking – London Metropolitan University

Critical thinking: animated guide


Writing essays at university will mean that you need to plan and structure a persuasive argument, which has a clear introduction and conclusion. These tutorials will help you to get started.

Writing for academic purposes video

Structuring an essay video

How long does an essay take?

Introductions, paragraphs and conclusions

Get going with academic writing


A report is a form of writng which has the purpose to inform. It often means that you will need to include different sectons, and frmat your writing in a different way. These tutorials will help you to get started.

Writing effective reports

Writing a business report

Guides to report writing from LinkedIn Learning

Writing effective reports checklist

An interactive guide to report writing


Do you have a poster presentation to do for an assignment?  Find out how to go about creating one, and some recommendations about designing them.

Poster Presentations

Creating a Poster in PowerPoint: Quick Reference Guide

Designing Poster Presentations

Literature Reviews

A literature review is an important part of a research paper or dissertation, and helps understand the current state of knowledge about a topic.  Find out what one is, how to approach doing one, and how to structure one.

Literature reviews

Writing a Literature Review

Digital writing

"The following guides are designed to enable you to use digital writing to practise, to share, to collaborate  and to critique the work of others in the public domain, in order to enhance your academic writing. Use these guides to help you choose a platform that suits you and your needs, and to start blogging as a way of exploring your thinking and practising your writing. "What is a blog?

What is a blog?

Why blog?

Suggested topics

Suggested blogging software


Writing a successful blogpost from LinkedIn Learning

Grammar and Punctuation

The way that we express ourselves in our writing can help others to understand what it is that we are trying to say. These tutorials will help you with basic grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.

Conquering basic grammar

Conquering basic grammar worksheet

British Council: Grammar

An internet of grammar

The art of effective punctuation

Proofreading and Editing

You’ve done the research, you’ve written the assignment and you know it’s a good piece of work. But what if your ideas are not clear to the person reading it? Spotting and correcting your own mistakes can make the difference between a near miss and hitting the target.

Interactive proofreading guide

Proofreading checklist

Learning to proofread video

Dissertation Writing

Your dissertation or final year research project may be the biggest piece of work that you do - don't panic!  Check out these resources to give you an idea of how to proceed, and find out where you can get further help if needed.

Practical Tips for Dissertation Research

Literature reviews

Dissertation and Thesis Support

Dissertations: NTUPass Resource List

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