Follow these methods to improve your academic paper writing skills

By Priya Chetty on February 2, 2015

You must be aware that universities around the world are becoming stricter by the day about the quality of student assignments and dissertations/ theses. Consequently, the rules of academic writing are changing too. Upgrading your writing skills to meet these changes is very important to stay relevant in the writing industry. Below I have listed a few of these changes:

Critical writing is more important than ever

Yes, it is one of the toughest parts of writing. Perhaps that’s why universities have made it mandatory for almost all assignments to have critical analysis now. Recently, we had the case of one student whose assignment required a case study analysis of a multinational company’s international marketing strategy. The writer explained the basic terms and key theories before applying them to the firm. Unfortunately, the word count distributed between theory and application was 50:50. The assignment was rejected outright, and the supervisor commented that the ratio should have been 5:95! Critical review in dissertations was not even mandatory for most universities until now, but today even a 6000-words dissertation demands a critical analysis. Read more about our articles on critical analysis to improve your skills.

Super-quick assignments are on the rise

Aiming to improve student assignments, universities have come up with a new way to test students’ writing skills: assignments with super-short deadlines. 1500 words in 12 hours. 3000 words in 24 hours. Sometimes even 4000 words in 24 hours! Most of them are application-based assignments or case studies, leaving you with no scope for increasing the word count using theory. Prep yourself for more such strenuous assignments in the future.

Use university libraries for reference

Most teachers are recommending students use their own university database or library for writing assignments. They prefer to test your analytical writing skills by restricting you to a limited number of references. This is good news since you won’t have to spend extra hours gathering material for the assignment. Make sure you use university libraries to gain those brownie points!

Learn SPSS to enhance your academic writing

Needless to say, SPSS is the most popular statistical software for conducting the analysis of primary data. No university has yet said that it is mandatory, but it’s only a matter of time before that happens. If you are serious about expanding your horizons in academic writing, you must consider learning SPSS using our new, user-friendly SPSS module.

Use reference managers

Newer ways are emerging to make your academic writing task simpler. One of them is using reference manager software like Mendeley which offers many features for auto-referencing and systematic storage of your data. Most students prefer to have their assignments and papers written with the use of this software, so you are recommended to adopt one of them. Our website offers a free and simple 8-step tutorial for Mendeley. Start using it if you haven’t already!

Change is constant, so newer rules and methods of writing will emerge. Make it a habit to adapt to these changes quickly if you want to survive in the academic writing industry.

Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).



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