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Writing for University

The following resources are designed to help you assess and develop your students' understanding of writing for university.

All our resources are available for free educational use under a Creative Commons licence. You are welcome to link to them, use them and adapt them if necessary for your students, but please acknowledge Learnhigher as authors.

ACADEMIC WRITING FOR EXAMS PODCAST

This resource features a podcast which focuses upon academic writing technique. The podcast particularly concerns lecturer feedback regarding the importance of focusing on the essay title given.

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ACADEMIC WRITING FOR REPORTS

A group editorial activity aimed at highlighting examples of bad practice in academic writing. Presents the opportunty to make selective changes in order to develop academic writing skills.

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ADVANCED REFERENCING EXERCISES

Set of 3 short exercises, complete with answers and tutor comments. Provides a set of scenarios and challenges students to give the correct referencing protocol in each situation.

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APPROACHING THE QUESTION

This resource highlights the importance of fully considering an essay title and offers guidance on essay title interpretation. The resource suggests how identifying directive words, the topic area and limiting words may help students to organise and structure their essays effectively, and thus obtain higher grades.

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ASSIGNMENT PARAPHRASE

Based on the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) approach, this resource prompts students to consider the assignment question and discuss the ways in which they would answer it prior to beginning writing. A full understanding of the assignment title or question is crucial to obtain the best possible mark.

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CHECKING YOUR ASSIGNMENTS’ REFERENCES

This resource highlights the importance of referencing to the overall assignment quality. The resource directs students to proof-read their work and identify correct use of referencing in the main body of the essay, as well as in the reference list itself.

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COMMAS

This resource identifies how attention to punctuation, particularly standard comma use, may improve coherence and grades. The main uses of commas are identified, such as listing, bracketing and joining. Explanations and examples are given for the context in which they are most commonly correctly utilised in academic work.

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EASY PROOFREADING WINS WITH MICROSOFT WORD

By completing these learning resources, students will be able to:
Appreciate the limits and uses of Microsoft Word in aiding proofreading beyond built-in spelling and grammar checks.
Use A-Z sort, Find, and Find and Replace to eliminate common proofreading errors efficiently.
Find further free sources of developmental support for proofreading skills.

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ESSAY WRITING PACK

A downloadable workbook for students which can be tailored to different essay questions. The workbook structures enables the essay to be structured in an orderly way, allowing for the process to be learned as the assignment is completed.

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FREE WRITING

A resource which would be particularly useful for staff teaching on a creative writing programme. Includes two structured writing exercises and information on free writing.

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FREEWRITING

This resource encourages students to write on a given topic for a set amount of time. It is is designed to test information recall ability as well as help students improve their confidence in their writing ability.

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GETTING STARTED WITH WRITING

This resource includes ideas for initiating discussions about writing with students, and facilitates the opportunity to begin writing assignments during the activity.

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GRAMMAR BEAGLE

This post provides an interactive resource testing knowledge and application of grammatical issues commonly identified in students' work. This resource aims to help students improve their spelling and grammar.

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HOW TO START WRITING

An overview of some techniques to get started with writing after conducting research for an assignment. Includes information about planning, freewriting, structuring and writing paragraphs.
Includes a worksheet for students to download and keep for reference.

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HOW TO STRUCTURE A PARAGRAPH

This resource highlights the importance of clear and effective paragraphing to essay coherence. The resource explains the basic aims and structure of a paragraph, along with a checklist of features. Signposting words and phrases can be particularly useful for introducing theory, linking or concluding an essay.

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HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR WRITING

Highlighting the importance of structure to constructing clear and effective communication, this resource offers advice on improving structure and planning in academic writing. The resource offers techniques, particularly essay focus and basic structures, which may help to improve student work.

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IDENTIFY THE AUDIENCE AND PURPOSE

A classroom activity showing the importance of tailoring writing for a specific audience. Downloads can be adapted to be subject specific.

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IDENTIFY THE SECTIONS OF A REPORT

A classroom activity which helps to develop understanding of the reasons why reports are organised as they are. Further to this, it highlights the differing writing styles appropriate for each section.

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IS A DISSERTATION JUST A LONGER REPORT?

This guide is designed to show you how to adapt your current report writing practices for doing a longer independent research project like a dissertation. If you are planning to do a dissertation project that involves some kind of primary data...

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ORGANISE YOUR REPORT

A classroom activity in which the participant must rearrange a jumbled list of report sections. Includes two list examples.

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PLANNING YOUR WORK

This resource highlights the importance of planning work, and how this may improve essay coherence and structure. According to personal preference, the resource offers the linear, cornell or mindmapping approach to planning as guidance for achieving higher grades.

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REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHIES BOOKLET

This 71-page booklet explains when to reference, how to reference (using the Harvard style), gives examples of different forms of referencing, including some of the less common sources, and includes two assignments to demonstrate referencing in action.

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REFERENCING EXERCISES

Short quiz, with four exercises to test your knowledge of referencing. The exercises cover 1) Is a Reference Needed? 2) Where Should the Citations Go? 3) “I Didn’t Reference the Source Because…” 4) Referencing Errors. Answers and comments are to be found at the end of the worksheet.

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REFERENCING EXERCISES

A set of four referencing exercises, complete with answers. Exercises cover:
1) Is a Reference Needed?
2) Where Should the Citations Go?
3) “I Didn’t Reference the Source Because…”
4) Referencing Errors.

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REFERENCING: STAFF DEVELOPMENT SESSION

These resources are designed to generate discussion among teaching and learning development staff in staff development sessions. The resources cover issues relating to why reference, referencing styles, when to reference, and on issues relating to plagiarism.

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REVISION TECHNIQUES PODCAST

This resource, a podcast, offers advice on revision techniques and dealing with examination stress. This includes varying peer-to-peer tips, as well as lecturer guidance.

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STRUCTURE OF REPORTS

A detailed explanation of the content of subsections of a report. This includes information about titles for sections as well as suggested content.

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THE THREE LINER

This resource provides an activity which aims to ensure students stay focused on the essay question. Students answer the essay question with a one-word answer, and then expand on this forming a basis for each paragraph, and so on.

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WHAT IS ACADEMIC WRITING?

This resource identifies the common key features of academic writing, such as formality, correct grammar and a logical structure, and how this may be different from other forms of writing.

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WHAT MAKES A GOOD REPORT?

This resource includes a list of commonly perceived tropes of sub-standard reports as well as a detailed breakdown of suggested content of report sections.

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WHAT’S THE POINT OF REFERENCING?

Student essay in response to a 2009 LearnHigher competition on 'What is the point of referencing?’. Together with a tutor commentary, the essay sets out and explores three for referencing: to construct, structure, support and communicate arguments; to link work to the existing
body of knowledge; and how referencing can add credibility to academic work.

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Popular Resources in Writing for University

Here are some of our most popular resources within this category:

Is a dissertation just a longer report?

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Why is report writing so important?

An explanation of why reports are a critical format for presenting research results. Includes...

Academic writing for reports

A group editorial activity aimed at highlighting examples of bad practice in academic writing. ...

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