Idea development

Academic writing is logically developed.

A well-written academic assignment must have a clearly formulated central idea that is developed in a logical manner, leading to a conclusion.

The central idea is usually expressed in a single sentence encapsulating your answer to the question posed in the title. The question may be explicit, as in “To what extent are global media corporations eroding national and local cultures?”, or implicit, as in “Globalisation is the new colonialism.” This statement can be easily converted into a question such as “Is globalisation the new colonialism?” or “To what extent is globalisation the new colonialism?”

In answering the question, you have to follow a clear and sustained line of reasoning. This involves identifying points in support of your central idea and developing them using appropriate evidence. A smooth progression from one point to the next is important: you should avoid digressions, gaps and jumps in logic.

This process will lead quite naturally to your conclusion, which may or may not be clear cut. It may well be that the available evidence does not justify a firm conclusion, but this is acceptable in academic writing. What really matters is that the ‘thread of the argument’ – as many tutors would put it – runs smoothly from beginning to end.