Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Reading & Writing: Assignment Writing

Your writing journey by Timothy Calvert

Start your writing journey 

  • Whether you are starting your first written assignment for university or writing a paper for publication, you can always develop your academic writing.
  • This diagram (displayed above) shows you some of the skills involved in writing well, and links to resources which may help you develop those skills in your own work.
  • For each step in the circle there are links to two resources to help you develop that skill; the 'Two minutes of my time' link gives you a brief overview of the skill and how it will help you.
  • The 'Going further' link is more in depth and requires a commitment of around 10 to 15 minutes on average.
  • Your first step will always be to understand what your assignment is asking. The process is then circular, as you will need to return to these skills again and again in your work.
  • When you want to go further in developing all these skills visit the study skills area on Brightspace.

What's my assignment?

question mark

  • Before you start reading and writing be sure what it is you are being asked to do.
  • What task or question have you been given, and what information will you need to include?

 

 

fast forward image

Two minutes of my time: 'Understanding assignment titles' in Skills for Study - You need to choose 'continue with your Institution account', then enter 'Bournemouth University'

 

play button

Going further:  BU study skills workshop on essay questions video (10 mins).

 

Plan your time

image of a calendar

To complete your assignment and do your best, you need to:

  •  plan and prioritise effectively keeping enough time for other commitments
  •  make the most of the time you have for your assignment, and avoid distractions.

 

fast forward image

Two minutes of my time: Applying time management techniques', in Skills for Study. You need to choose 'continue with your Institution account', then enter 'Bournemouth University'

play button

Going further: BU workshop on time management video (19 mins).

Background reading

image of a book

  • Good writing grows out of effective reading.
  • Learn how to target your reading so you get all the information you need, as well as how to read more critically so you can analyse what you have read.

 

 

fast forward image

Two minutes of my time:

'Frequently asked questions about reading', in Skills for Study. You need to choose 'continue with your Institution account', then enter 'Bournemouth University'

play button

Going further: Open University's guide to note taking techniques

Get critical

image of a brain

  • Learn how to appraise your subject and analyse researched sources in your writing.
  • Move beyond being merely descriptive and show how you are thinking critically

 

 

fast forward image

Two minutes of my time: 'Five tips on writing critically' - The Open University. 

 

play button

Going further:  'Critical reading and writing' in Skills for Study. You need to choose 'continue with your Institution account', then enter 'Bournemouth University'

 

Plan and structure your text

image of bricks in a wall

  • A little time spent planning your writing helps ensure you include all the information you need to in your assignment.
  • Learn how to arrange your material in a clear way that best serves the task you've been asked to do (your assignment brief).

 

 

fast forward imageTwo minutes of my time - Structuring: 'Structuring your essay' in Skills for Study. You need to choose 'continue with your Institution account', then enter 'Bournemouth University'.

play button

Going further - Planning:  BU workshop on essay planning (5 minutes)

 

play buttonGoing further - Structuring: BU workshop on essay strategies and techniques video (6.5. mins)

Academic style

image of a pen

  • Writing in an academic style involves communicating clearly, concisely and objectively.
  • Learn how to use academic vocabulary, improve your grammar and communicate what you want to say more effectively.

 

 

fast forward imageTwo minutes of my time: 'Academic Phrasebank', helps you find the right word for the task at hand.

 

play buttonGoing further: BU Workshop on academic writing video (11 mins)

Reference well and refine

image of reviewing text on screen

  • Referencing is something you need to do throughout your writing journey, from recording your sources as you read, citing accurately in your writing, and building a complete reference list at the end.
  • Learn how to reference successfully using the referencing style for your course (most use BU Harvard style, make sure you're following the correct instructions and ask a BU Librarian if you're unsure).
  • Make sure you have time to review, edit and proofread your writing to make sure it's ready for submission.

 

fast forward image

Two minutes of my time - Refine your text: 6 tips for editing and refining in Skills for Study. You need to choose 'Continue with your Institution Account', then enter 'Bournemouth University'.

 

play button

Going further - Reference well:

play button

Going further - Refine your text:  Essay Planning Part Four: Drafting, Editing and Proofreading (4 mins)