What do we mean by academic writing?
Every course you study will feature academic writing and this will often take the form of an essay or report. Most assignments will ask you to demonstrate your academic objectivity and to show this in the form of an argument, rather than just produce a summary of everything you know about a topic. There are a number of ways to achieve this. Most importantly, throughout your studies you will develop your ability to argue a cause and provide evidence for your argument. Tackling tasks such as writing an essay or report for the first time can be daunting, especially if you are new to academic study. But remember that support is available from your tutor.
What style of writing will be needed?
Different subjects will demand different styles of writing. For example a vocational subject, such as health and social care, may require descriptive writing where you set the scene and describe what happened in a particular work situation. Words that tell you a descriptive style is needed may be when you are asked to ‘state’, ‘list’ or ‘describe’.
If you are working, or studying, a more technical subject such as science or engineering perhaps, you may need to use a more analytical style of writing. This style may draw on research or evidence from various sources and you may need to discuss and critically assess information in your writing.
Finally, reflective writing is needed when you are asked to think about your own learning or approach to a particular workplace situation. In this style of writing you need to reflect on your learning or experiences and discuss how these will inform and improve your future studies or practice.
What are the important points to remember when writing for study?
Visit the skills for study section of the OU website for tips on how to practise your writing skills.