The sections below feature detailed advice on various areas of academic writing.
Ensure that you understand how you will be assessed and what you are being asked to do.
- Understanding assessment criteria (activity)
A short task to get you thinking about how academic work is assessed
- Interpreting your assignment (activity)
Activities and information to help to you ensure that you fully understand your assignment.
- Understanding instructional verbs (PDF)
A short glossary to help you interpret what is meant by certain words.
Planning your schedule before you begin an assignment will help you to ensure you have enough time to complete a high quality piece of work.
- Creating a project plan and using your time effectively (video)
A seven-minute video showing how to break down your assignment into time-bound objectives.
- Template project plan (DOC)
- Assignment survival kit (ASK)
Create your own assignment schedule
- Skills@Library time management page
Detailed information and advice about how to effectively manage your time.
Using appropriate, relevant information sources and taking effective notes from them will strengthen the quality of your work.
- Skills@Library Finding and evaluating information page
Detailed information and activities to help you to find good quality information for your work
- Skills@Library Note taking resource (activity)
Detailed advice and activities on note taking strategies.
Getting ideas together
- Getting ideas together (activity)
Three short demonstration videos of different methods you can use to start getting your ideas together
- Mind mapping
Information about how mind mapping can help, and guidance on how to do it.
Structuring your work
- Introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions
How to plan your essay using sections
- Writing paragraphs
Using paragraphs to give your work a cohesive structure.
This is an essential skill which should be applied to all aspects of university education.
- Skills@Library critical thinking page
Detailed information, advice and activities.
Referencing your work accurately is a key part of academic writing and can help you avoid plagiarism. However, it is just one part of avoiding plagiarism; unintentional plagiarism often occurs as a result of poor academic writing, such as bad paraphrasing.
The following resources will help you understand what constitutes plagiarism, improve your referencing, and paraphrase effectively:
- Skills@Library Referencing page
Detailed information about different referencing styles and how to use them
- Skills@Library Plagiarism page
Understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it
- Paraphrasing and summarising
Detailed advice and activities on how to effectively paraphrase and summarise your reading.
Editing and drafting
- Edit, revise, proof (PDF)
Three mind maps showing how revising, editing and proofreading your work involves different skills and techniques
- Drafting and fine tuning (activity)
Three short demonstration videos taking you through the process of editing your work
- The art of editing
Advice on editing longer pieces of work, such as dissertations and theses.
Academic voice and vocabulary
- Academic Phrasebank
Examples of phrases you can use in various areas of your academic writing
- Sounding academic (activity)
A series of interactive activities to improve the tone and language of your written work.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation
- Grammar, spelling and punctuation
A comprehensive list of worksheets and resources on various aspects of written English
- Main rules of written English
This website provides both starter-level and development-level advice and information about sentence structure and the rules of written English
- Internet grammar of English
A free online course which provides information on some key aspects of English grammar.
Academic writing continues to be the mechanism most tutors use to assess learning, but writing in higher education can take a number of different forms - you won't just be expected to write good essays.
An increasing number of students across all disciplines are assessed on the quality of their reflective writing.
- Skills@Library reflective writing resource
Detailed information, advice and activities on reflective writing.
There are many ways to write a report. Different disciplines and different tutors will have different expectations.
- Skills@Library report writing resource
An overview of report writing at university.
Annotated bibliographies are usually compiled for the purposes of an extended research project and are intended to provide a comprehensive yet focused overview of the critical discussions on a topic.
- Skills@Library annotated bibliographies resource
Detailed information including assessment criteria, structure and language.
The Final Chapter is an essential online resource designed to support students working on their dissertations and final year projects.
It contains lots of useful information on topics such as planning and preparing for your project, doing a literature review and critical thinking. It also includes videos of staff and students from the University of Leeds sharing their top tips for success.
Writing for the web
As part of your study, you may be expected to create a website, write a blog, contribute to a wiki or do a variety of other forms of web-based writing.
- Skills@Library writing for the web guide (PDF)
Guidelines on presenting your content to best effect, and writing with an appropriate tone and style for your target audience.
SILYN-ROBERTS, H. 2000. Writing for science and engineering: papers, presentations, and reports. Oxford; Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Chapter 2 is especially helpful, describing the key requirements of the various sections of a scientific document, and addressing common mistakes.