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Are you working on your thesis or writing a paper? We have collected some tips & websites for you and publshied them on this webpage, you can start working on them right away.  

  1. Academic writing is about Knowledge Transforming (critical reflection on what you have read), rather than Knowledge Telling (just summarising).
  2. Divide the work into steps (formulating the main question, reading, making an outline, writing, revising, editing), and work on them one at the time. Don't try to write a perfect first draft.
  3. Academic style is rather objective and very, very precise. Always support your statements with arguments and references.
  4. Ask around what the academic conventions are: talk with professors, peers, senior students, housemates etc. Look for examples of the assignment that you are working on: essays, papers and theses written for the same professor.
  5. Talk about your writing. With your friends, your peers or with a writing tutor. You are welcome at Skills Lab Writing Centre if you want to discuss your work.

(source: Skills Lab Writing Centre)

The experience of our writing tutors shows that many students can significantly improve the clarity of their text if they take another good look at the topic sentences of the paragraphs. Take full advantage of this and learn in only a minute what a topic sentence is, and how to use it!

A topic sentence describes in one sentence what the most important information (the main topic) of your paragraph is. You spend the rest of the paragraph elaborating on your topic sentence. You explain the concepts and concepts in your topic sentence, give an explanation and perhaps an example.

  1. TIP 1: Mark the most important sentence in each paragraph to check: Is there really a topic sentence? If the marked sentence is the topic sentence, consider how all the other sentences in the paragraph connect to this sentence. If you can't figure it out, try formulating the topic sentence of your paragraph, adjust the topic sentence to the rest of the paragraph, or adjust the rest of the paragraph to your topic sentence. In this way you will create a clear and straightforward story. 
    If you consistently use topic sentences, this can also help you in finding the structure between your paragraphs.
  2. TIP 2: Highlight all topic sentences in your text and read them one after the other. Is there a strange transition between two topic sentences? Maybe there is some information missing that helps to clarify the coherence of your text.

Do you have a question about any of this? The writing tutors at the Skills Lab will be happy to help you with these and other writing strategies.