Academic writing skills

Writing for academic purposes

The following resources can help you organise your writing, improve clarity in your writing and develop an academic style:

  1. Complete the diagnostic quiz on the AIRport website and self-assess your academic writing skills.
  2. Refer to the Academic Skills guide on developing your vocabulary to familiarise yourself with strategies on improving your vocabulary in writing.
  3. Read the Library help sheet on task words and learn how to identify the task words in your writing activity. Also, get guidance on how to organise and write content for specific task words.
  4. Refer to the Library help sheet—good writing: planning & drafting and find out how you can draft an outline and plan your writing. Also, learn how to develop your ideas, organise your content, edit and revise, cite your sources, and present your writing.
  5. Use the interactive resource on developing graduate academic writing to improve your academic writing skills.
  6. Study the Academic Skills guide on using a writing process and learn more about the six steps for writing good essays.
  7. Read the Academic Skills guide  on developing clarity and focus in academic writing for strategies to keep your writing simple, clear and concise.
  8. Use the Library help sheet on concept mapping to further understand how the use of concept maps can help you organise ideas for your research work or writing tasks.
  9. Refer to the Academic Skills guide on writing reflectively and get familiar with the concept of writing from a subjective perspective.

Improve cohesion in your writing


  1. Read the Academic Skills guide on connecting ideas in writing and learn how to lead your audience from one paragraph to the next.
  2. Refer to the Academic Skills guide on improving cohesion and get guidance on improving consistency in your writing.

Develop your academic style and voice


  1. Attempt the quiz on the CourseWorks resource for academic style and identify the difference between spoken English and academic English. Also, find useful information on how to improve your academic English.
  2. Use the Academic Skills resource on academic style and learn how to differentiate between informal (often spoken) English and academic English.
  3. Read the Academic Skills guide on developing originality for guidance on how to present your writing such that it clearly outlines your agreement or difference with other authors on a subject.
  4. Refer to the Academic Skills guide on voice in academic writing and learn more about paraphrasing and summarising other authors’ works.
  5. Use the Library help sheet on language for citing and get guidance on the verbs you can use to cite the sources that you use in your writing.

Writing introductions, paragraphs, conclusions and abstracts

Your ability to write well-structured introductions, paragraphs and conclusions is important when constructing good essays, reports and research papers. It is equally important that you know how to summarise your writing well.

The following resources from your academics at the University can guide you on writing clear and well-constructed introductions, paragraphs, conclusions and abstracts:

  1. Complete the quiz on the CourseWorks resource on introductions and self-assess your understanding of introductions.
  2. Refer to the Library help sheet on introductions and find out about the importance of introductions in your writing. Also, get guidance on how to organise your introduction.
  3. Read the Academic Skills guide on writing introductions and conclusions for essays and improve your understanding of the content you must include in introductions and conclusions.
  4. Study the Library help sheet on paragraphs for guidance on writing good paragraphs that are simple, cohesive and logical.
  5. Read the CourseWorks resource on conclusions and learn how to match your conclusion to your introduction. Also, find information on how to structure your conclusions.
  6. Refer to the Academic Skills guide on writing an abstract and learn about the importance, important components and two main types of abstracts.
  7. Read the Library help sheet on abstracts for guidance on the different styles you can use to present an abstract and the content that should not be included in abstracts. Also, learn more about the tenses you can use within abstracts.
  8. Use the CourseWorks resource on abstracts as a quick guide to the purpose of writing abstracts and the main components of an abstract.

Editing and proofreading your writing

The following resources present many of the points you must consider when editing your writing. These resources will also help you improve your skills at editing and proof reading your writing:

  1. Refer to the CourseWorks resource on editing and proofreading to understand the basic difference between the two. Also, find guidance on the best approaches to editing and proofreading your work.
  2. Use the Academic Skills guide on editing your writing to learn how you can refine your writing and improve the structure, content, sentence construction and academic style in your writing.
  3. Read the Library help sheet on editing and proofreading for guidance on the editing and proofreading process. Also, find useful tips to improve your editing and proofreading approach.
  4. Use the Library help sheet—editing/proofreading checklist as a quick reference resource to confirm you have considered all important points when editing and proofreading your writing.
  5. Attempt the identifying errors activity on the AIRport website to self-assess your editing and proofreading skills.
  6. Attempt the editing activity on the AIRport website to practise your skills at identifying and correcting errors.

Avoiding plagiarism

The following resources from the academic experts at the University can guide you on using your sources correctly and avoiding plagiarism. The interactive resources on the AIRport website can help you assess and practise your skills at paraphrasing and integrating sources:

  1. Read the Library help sheet on plagiarism to understand the meaning of plagiarism. Also, learn how you may unintentionally commit plagiarism by paraphrasing poorly.
  2. Refer to the Academic Skills guide on using sources and avoiding plagiarism for strategies to integrate your sources and maintain the academic integrity of your writing.
  3. Attempt the activity in the interactive resource—What is plagiarism? and self-assess your understanding of plagiarism.
  4. Use the activity in the interactive resource—Are you plagiarism-proof? to check if you follow best practices to keep your work free of plagiarism.
  5. Attempt the activity in the interactive resource on integrating sources and assess if you understand the correct approach when you paraphrase or include other authors’ works in your writing.
  6. Use the interactive resource on paraphrasing sources to practise your skills at paraphrasing.
  7. Refer to the Library help sheet on paraphrasing for guidance on best practices for paraphrasing. Also, find useful information on summarising and using direct quotations.

Referencing, referencing systems and styles

The following resources can help you get familiar with the concept of referencing and the different referencing systems and styles. In addition, if you are permitted to choose your own referencing style, the following resources can guide you on determining a reference system and style that best fits your needs:

  1. Refer to the Academic Skills guide on referencing essentials to get an overview of what referencing is and why it’s so important.
  2. Attempt the referencing systems activity on the AIRport website and understand how to choose a referencing system based on your writing needs.
  3. Use the Library resource – re:cite to access online tutorials and guides for the different referencing styles, APA, Harvard, Chicago, Vancouver, MLA and AGLC3.
  4. Use the Library help sheet on APA referencing to learn more about the APA style of referencing with the help of examples. Also, find guidance on citing online sources.
  5. Refer to the Library help sheet – citation guide: the Australian guide to legal citation (AGLC) and get guidance on correct referencing for primary, secondary and internet sources on legal cases.
  6. Refer to the Library help sheet – Referencing: The Harvard System for guidance on how to use the Harvard referencing style in your writing.