Writing a good academic text is quite a challenge. How do you put the first words on paper? How do you create a good structure? What is an academic writing style?
- Academic writing is about "transforming knowledge" (critically reflecting on what you have read), not "spouting knowledge" (merely summarizing what you have read).
- Divide your work into steps (formulate the main question, collect answers, create a text plan, write, revise, edit), and work through them one at a time. Don't try to write a perfect first draft.
- Academic style is usually objective and very precise. Always support your views with arguments and references.
- Ask around what the academic customs are: talk to professors, fellow students, seniors, roommates, etc. Look for examples of the assignment you are working on: for example, essays, papers and theses written for the same professor.
- Talk about your writing. With your friends, your classmates or a writing coach. Make an appointment with a writing coach at the Skills Lab if you want to discuss your work
(source: Skills Lab)
- Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab). Here you will find lots of information about academic writing and writing in general. Helpful to search for topics via the "site map''.
- UNC handouts (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill). The University of North Carolina's 'Tips and Tools' are often very thorough and somewhat more extensively described than at Purdue OWL. This site also has a number of short videos, identified by the camera icon.
- Manchester Phrase Bank (Academic Phrase bank). This ''bank'' stores thousands of phrases from academic articles. You can find different phrases here and check if your own phrases fit within the register of academic writing. The phrases are arranged thematically, by, for example, "compare and contrast" or "referring to literature.
- Utrecht University Library. Here you will find all the help the library offers on writing, literature search, source citation and theses. The LibGuides of the university library give specific advice on searching for literature. They help you evaluate the relevance of sources, how to cite, and how to manage literature.
- Effective Strategies for Academic Writing. This site contains a number of forms, examples and theory explained in the accompanying book. You can use them, for example, for formulating main and sub-questions, relevance or evaluating your argumentation.
- On the Academic Writing platform you can find tips & tricks for academic writing, for example for writing style, references and defining your problem statement. You can also test what kind of writer you are.
- Handbook of Academic Communicative Skills (RUG). This site from the University of Groningen contains a lot of useful information; about academic writing in general but also about sub-aspects such as style, approach to writing and plagiarism. There is also a section on oral presentation.
- Make use of the online writing tool of the University of Leuven. The Writing Tool highlights various aspects of your text that you can then adjust yourself. Think for example of linking words, writing style or spelling.
- The Academic Integrity Checklist (pdf) gives a few more pointers to check how you have dealt with sources and also provides information on plagiarism.
- Are you having difficulties with language in particular, such as spelling or grammar? Then take a look at the page 'language support'.
Contact Skills Lab
- Mail to email@example.com or call +3130 253 630
- University Library Utrecht Science Park | Room 2.45
- Heidelberglaan 3, 3584 CS Utrecht