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Mastering academic writing

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Many students struggle with academic writing skills. From the basics of grammar and punctuation and sourcing and referencing material, to developing an argument and correctly structuring an essay or assignment, there are common mistakes that even confident students make. Here we share a collection of top tips, advice and guidance to help you develop and master academic writing at university.

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What is a social science essay?

In a free chapter from Good Essay Writing, you'll learn what’s distinctive about essay writing in the social sciences. It looks at the structure, common pitfalls and the four golden rules for writing a social science essay.


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Planning your essay

Download a 14-page planning pack by Tom Burns and Sandra Sinfield, authors of Essential Study Skills, with Learn Higher. It takes you step-by-step through planning, structuring and actually writing the essay.


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The four Qs in academic writing

Who? Why? What? How? are four questions which you must answer in your essay if you want your message to be clear. Read an extract from Essay Writing to find out how to answer them effectively.

write clearly

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Understanding mistakes

Mistakes in academic writing can be tricky to fix. Read a free chapter from The Quick Fix Guide to Academic Writing about the mistakes you'll want to avoid and what they mean.


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Sprinkle some originality

There's plenty of room for creativity in academic writing and we can prove it. This chapter from How to Be Original shows you how to innovate and boost your grades, one word at a time.

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Take a break from reading

Watch this super quick video with Helen Coleman, author of Polish Your Academic Writing, for five practical tips to help you excel at writing essays.

Academic writing and critical thinking go hand in hand. Hear from Diana Hopkins and Tom Reid, authors of The Academic Skills Handbook, about a step-by-step approach to writing critically.


Other academic writing resources

  • Referencing giving you trouble? Find out what it's all about, how it works and how to do it. It's referencing made easy!
  • Are you a final-year student? Head over to our support page for guidance on how to best tackle your dissertation.


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