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Essay Structure

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Some Academic Writing Tips

  • Use straightforward language.
    Take care with grammar and sentence construction. Avoid using a note-style of writing.
  • Try not to use pompous language. 
    For example: use "find out" rather than "endeavour to ascertain". Try not to use jargon or clichés
  • Provide definitions. 
    Include explanations of technical or unusual terms, unless you can reasonably expect your reader to know them.
  • Use impersonal language. 
    Essays and reports should be written in the third person singular. Avoid personal terms such as 'I' or 'We'; the word 'It' should be used instead:
    For example:
    "I decided to interview the Tourism Planning Officer..." should read
    "It was decided to interview the Tourism Planning Officer..."
    The only exceptions to this may be where you are asked to link theory to your own professional practice.
  • Be precise. 
    Avoid using terms such as 'nice', 'good' or 'excellent' that lack a precise meaning One person's idea of what is meant by 'good' is not necessarily another's.
  • Be concise and to the point.
    For example: Use 'now' or ‘currently' instead of phrases like 'at the time of writing' or 'at this point in time'.
  • Try not to make generalizations.
    For example: "Everyone agrees that cold calling does not produce results".
    While this may be true you can only make such statements if supported with evidence. Instead you should write: 
    "According to the Mori Report (2000), cold calling does not produce results."
  • Use cautious language. 
    This means that statements cannot easily be challenged:
    "Cold calling may not produce results."
  • Use appropriate verb tenses
    Reports often use the present tense in the introduction and the past tense when discussing findings.
    Introduction: "This report examines..." 
    Findings: "Results showed that..."
  • Be careful when using acronyms
    The use of acronyms is allowed if you also write the words out in full the first time you write the letters.
    For example: curriculum vitae (C.V.)
  • Ensure you are linking points together
    When using a lead sentence make sure that the points that follow on link to this:
    • Incorrect example:
      This style of CV creates the opportunity to:
      • Can highlight skills and achievements
      • Identifies personal attributes.
    • Correct example: 
      This style of CV creates the opportunity to:
      • highlight skills and achievements
      • identify personal attributes.

Other writing pitfalls to avoid

  • Do not address the reader directly or use questions
    For example: “Does this mean that some strategies are better than others?”
  • Be careful not to use redundant phrases.
    For example: 'various differences'.
    Various implies different so you do not need both words.
  • Do not start sentences with linking words.
    Such as: but, and, or yet.
  • Avoid using contractions.
    For example:
    'they're' for 'they are'.
    'etc' and 'ie' should also be avoided.
  • Avoid making negative statements.
    For example:
    ”Calling firms directly should not be discouraged.” This can hide the meaning. Instead write positive statements.
    ”Calling firms directly should be encouraged.”
  • Try to avoid making sentences overlong and complicated.
    Wordiness and padding can hide meaning.


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