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Improving your academic writing: My top 10 tips The topic of academic writing has been popular in the blogosphere and Twittersphere in the past couple of weeks. Yes, I also know that I linked to political science and public policy professors. There are two reasons for this.
I taught at a department of political science for 6 years and now I teach at one of public administration. My training comes largely from that academic field. The above said, I have also written on this blog why I read widely, and across disciplines I do the same on Twitter — I follow folks who are political scientists, educators, anthropologists, geographers, sociologists, computer scientists and mathematicians: I write differently if I am submitting a paper to Policy Sciences a public policy journal than if I am sending it to Water International an area journal focusing on water.
I write differently for a human geography audience than I do for a academic writing tips for student science one. That was the very first piece of advice my PhD advisor gave me on writing: I write differently a policy advice report than I do a public policy scholarly paper.
The audiences are different, as are the goals of each piece of writing. I have been mentored and have learned from my former PhD advisor, from my former doctoral committee, other faculty members, and from other folks I read. So while not attributing them to each person who taught me each, here are my top tips on academic writing.
This is what I do to improve my own writing and may be of value for those of you seeking to improve yours. Be disciplined and write every day. Every morning, I wake up anywhere between 4: I have been writing for 2 hours every single day of the week Saturdays and Sundays included for the past little while and it has done wonders for my writing.
I added 85 single spaced pages to my book, and produced single-spaced pages in the past couple of months or so. Give yourself the best tools to write.
I grew up in an academic household, and thus my childhood bedroom also has a full-blown home office complete with desktop computer and printer, and wireless internet.
I also need to make sure that I have the tools to write anywhere I go, so I try to pack with me everything I need, including a paper holder.
I need to make sure that every piece of furniture I have enables my writing. Same goes for hardware and software. It was incredibly frustrating to have to switch computers because I only had EndNote in one of them I now use Mendeley as a reference manager.
Write as you would speak aka read aloud what you just wrote. I remember that the first time one of my professors told me this I felt offended.
I thought I wrote well! But as I have learned through time, if I write as I speak, my writing becomes clearer.
Have other people read your pieces to provide you with feedback. This is a hard piece of advice to follow, as my writing often gets torn to pieces. It always comes out stronger, though. I learned in this case, from my former PhD advisor to take the feedback that people gave me to improve my writing.
If I am not writing clearly, I need to work on how to write crisp, short, punchy, effective sentences. Read a lot, and read across different disciplines.
My PhD itself is interdisciplinary, and the theoretical and analytical frameworks that I built for my doctoral dissertation borrowed from literature in anthropology, sociology, planning, human geography, chemical engineering.
To this end, I read a lot which of course takes a lot of time, I recognize and I read across a variety of disciplines. Reading does improve your writing, as it enables you to see how other folks frame their thoughts and communicate them.
Write for your audience. Your writing style will vary if you write on a blog like this one to communicate to a broader audience than if your audience is policy-makers who need brief, concise analytical summaries of the literature and calls-to-action.
You will be writing differently for your doctoral committee or for a political science journal than for an anthropology one.The Academic Skills Centre offers a broad range of academic support services to assist students.
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> Writing > Academic > Go to class prepared Improve your listening skills Develop a notetaking method that works for you Pay close attention to content Review and edit your notes (My technical writing student, Vivinette K.
Dietsche, submitted these tips . Online Writing Resources for Students How to Outline Essays, Proofread Papers & Everything In-Between. Writing Tips: Personal Statements – Center for Writing Studies etc.—and has published articles in scholarly journals and/or scholarly books about the topic that the student is .
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