In conclusion: the process of academic writing - The nature and process of academic writing

Success in Academic Writing - Trevor Day 2018

In conclusion: the process of academic writing
The nature and process of academic writing

Academic writing begins with understanding the nature of the task you have to undertake. Your writing assignment is normally set within a discipline that has certain conventions for the writing you are expected to do. This, in turn, shapes the research you carry out, the reading you do, and the writing style and document structure you will fashion. Writing an assignment usually involves planning the structure of the assignment you are going to submit, in order to build an argument. Planning shapes the act of composing (writing flowing sentences). Writing is normally done in stages, with text gradually being improved through reviewing and editing. Ultimately, the text and its presentation are polished to create the final version.

Key points in the chapter

1Different kinds of academic writing have their own features, including specific forms of structure and style.

2Writing is important in study because it helps you to: remember; observe and gather evidence; think; communicate; and above all, learn. Through writing, you also develop key skills that enhance your employability.

3Academic writing has certain features that apply generally but that also need to be tailored to your specific discipline. Features of academic writing include: the use of argument; being critical; being formal; and using words with precision.

4Different people write in different ways and the same person may write in different ways depending on the nature of the task.

5The process of academic writing normally involves: planning, researching, reading and note-taking; composing (drafting); and reviewing and editing.

Cited references

Barrass, R. (2007). Students Must Write. 3rd edn. London: Routledge.

CBI (2016). The Right Combination. Education and Skills Survey 2016. London: Confederation of

British Industry/Pearson. Available from: skills-survey2016.pdf [accessed 2 August 2017].

Creme, P. and Lea, M. R. (2008). Writing at University: A Guide for Students. 3rd edn. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Narduzzo, A. and Day, T. (2012). ’Less is More in Physics: A Small-scale Writing in the Disciplines (WiD) Intervention’. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, 4, Case Study 5.

Paton, G. (2014). ’OECD: UK Graduates “Lacking High-Level Literacy Skills”’. Telegraph

newspaper, 9 September 2014. Available from: literacy-skills.html [accessed 2 August 2017].

Ryan, R. M. and Deci, E. L. (2000). ’Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions’. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, pp. 54-67.

Further reading

Elbow, P. (1998). Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process. New edition.

Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Zinsser, W. (2006). On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Non-Fiction. 30th anniversary edition. New York: Harper Perennial.

Zinsser, W. (2009). ’Writing English as a Second Language.’ American Scholar, Winter 2010.

Available from: [accessed 8 August 2017].

Answers for Chapter 1

Activity 1.2: Which of these is an argument?

(a)Yes, this is an argument. The writer has sought to use evidence and reasoning, and careful wording, to shape an argument that leads to a conclusion.

(b)No, this is not an argument. It is essentially a description or statement of fact.

(c)No, this is not an argument. It is a description, followed by the expression of an opinion.

Activity 1.3: Words and precise meanings



Activity 1.4: Avoiding ’look at’

Possible answers include: analyses, ascertains, assesses, challenges, critiques, deconstructs, determines, establishes, explores, introduces, investigates, judges, ponders, proposes, reflects, reveals, reviews, synthesises, verifies.