There are two main approaches to organising and analysing information for academic writing.
Both of these approaches can be successful. However, if your writing needs to be more logical, clear or analytical, focus more on your planning. Creating a good plan is a very positive early step towards writing a good assignment.
While some types of written work are the same in many disciplines, such as essays, there are also some kinds that only belong to a particular discipline. Sometimes even in the same discipline area, different lecturers will have different expectations about a particular type of assignment.
It’s therefore important you understand exactly what type of assignment you’re expected to write. For example, it could be an essay, report, case study, reflection or critical review.
You can find out what is expected by looking at key sources of information including:
You should identify all the things you need to do to write your paper. This could include:
Estimate the time you need for each task and make a realistic plan based on how you work. Some people spend longer reading and analysing before they start writing, while others start writing earlier and write several drafts.
Find out ways to manage your time.
Initially capture as many ideas as possible, without worrying about structure. For example:
After this initial planning, you can start working out the structure of your assignment.
This material was developed by the Learning Centre, who offer workshops, face-to-face consultations and resources to support your learning. Find out more about how they can help you develop your communication, research and study skills.
See our Writing skills handouts.