Academic writing has certain requirements and conventions that differentiate it from other types of writing. Some of these requirements and conventions, such as the need to reference sources and back up claims with evidence, are common to all disciplines. Others are subject specific. A History essay, for example, is very different from a Psychology research report.
Writing requirements may also vary within a particular discipline, depending on the types of assignment set. For example, many science students have to write essays, laboratory reports and literature reviews. This can be challenging.
Finally, all students face new challenges when they move up to a higher stage in their degrees: writing a dissertation or thesis, for instance, is quite different from writing a 2000-word essay or report.
We believe that all students, regardless of writing ability, can benefit from guidance and feedback on their written work. We provide help with basic writing skills if necessary, but our role is much broader than this. In learning to write for an academic audience, students must familiarise themselves with the features of different academic genres such as essays, critical reviews and different types of reports. They may also need advice on how to structure their work clearly and logically, use reading sources appropriately, and develop a sustained argument. In addition, many students need to work on study skills such as time management, note-taking and – crucially – critical thinking.
Our work involves supporting students in the development of these skills, as well as more general aspects of writing, to enable them to achieve their full academic potential.