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HEAT Stage 5 Writing your assignment.

HEAT Stage 5: Writing your assignment.

5.1 Writing your assignment


What do students say about writing


What is academic writing?

When you first start university, the term 'academic writing' may be a frequent topic of discussion for you, your peers and indeed your tutors. Often it is used with the expectation that you fully understand what is meant by the term. Primarily, writing at university is 'a way of confirming – to yourself and others – that you're understanding things' (Kirton and McMillan, 2007). This doesn't mean that you are expected to sound like a textbook, or even that you have to clutter your writing with long and complicated words. Quite simply, your tutors want to see evidence that you can express yourself clearly, concisely and logically. Often, this means becoming aware of your reader and of the need to guide them through your writing by offering clear signposts to each new idea you are developing.


It is worth remembering that writing is a process and not simply a finished product. You will continue to learn more about writing as you progress through your course. The important feedback you receive from your tutors will also help you to improve the quality of your work. The materials over the following pages offer you guidance on how to develop a range of writing skills which will extend way beyond your time at university.

Learning materials in this section:

  • Structuring an introduction
  • Structuring a paragraph in the main body of your assignment
  • Structuring a conclusion
  • Signposting sentences
  • Ideas into sentences
  • Writing in an academic style
  • How to summarise, paraphrase and use direct quotations
  • Using and developing new vocabulary
  • Tips for writing when you don't want to write

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