Academic writing has is own requirements and conventions, some of which span the disciplines, such as the need to reference sources and back up claims with evidence, while others are subject specific. A combined studies student, for example, may have to write texts as diverse as literature essays and psychology reports.
Writing requirements may also vary within a particular discipline, depending on the types of assignment set. To give an example, many science students have to write essays, laboratory reports and literature reviews. And 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 therefore 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, critiques 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.