Academic Writing

Study For Success

Develop your academic writing skills to set you up for success with your written assignments.

Suggested time

45 minutes

Level of difficulty


Materials needed

  • Pens
  • pencil
  • highlighters
  • ruler
  • notebook
  • laptop

Services Recommended

Assignment Help

Workshops Recommendations

Visit our Learning Hub for a range of lessons aimed at developing your study skills.

When you start university, it quickly becomes clear the importance of academic writing. But what exactly is academic writing?

Academic writing is formal, structured and generally objective, and it must adhere to a specific academic style guide. It must be constructed with a clear and concise delivery to best engage with the target audience in an effective manner.

Many people who are new to academic writing can find it daunting or confusing, and for that reason, we have created this handy checklist to help keep you on track!

(Click on the above to view and download).

Here’s our breakdown with some of our top tips to help you develop your academic writing skills…


Before you start

Set yourself up for success by identifying what type of academic writing is required for the task e.g., essay, thesis, dissertation, report, case study, research proposal, literature review etc. as this will help you to structure your assignment in the correct way.

It is also important to understand your task sheet and marking rubric. Being able to deconstruct and interpret these will ensure that you keep on track with your assignment planning and direction of writing. Lastly, make sure that you know your key target audience, in other words, who you are writing to. The assignment could be to write a formal proposal to a corporate entity, or it could be an essay directed to future university students – when it comes to academic writing, context matters.

Plan out the assignment before you start writing the assessment using your task description and rubric as a guide. The task description can help you to structure your writing and the mark allocation on your rubric can help you to map out how you should allocate your word count.

The benefits of planning your assignments include:

  • Improved organisation, clarity and direction for the task.
  • Better tracking of your assignment progress.
  • Reducing stress when it comes to assignment writing.
  • Research shows that it can boost your grades and reduce the amount of time wasted by overthinking during assignment writing.

It is important only to use appropriate scholarly sources – the Griffith Library is a great place to start! If you need some extra support and tips for researching, you can also book a free appointment with our Assignment Help service for some guidance.

Whilst conducting your research, we recommend organising your findings so that you don’t lose track of them. There are plenty of ways to do this effectively, you just need to find a structure that works for you. You can use lists, tables or diagrams and can organise information in chronological order, in a hierarchy of importance or grouped together as themes, categories, or topics.


During the writing process

An academic style guide is a set of standards universities use as a guide for academic writing and formatting. The style guide you must follow can depend on your degree or the course you are taking. Some of the main style guides for academic writing that you may encounter during your studies include:

  • The American Psychological Association (APA) guide.
  • The Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC).
  • Australian Government Publishing Service (AGPS) Harvard
  • The Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) guide.
  • The Vancouver

Top tip: If you aren’t sure which style guide to follow, see if you can find this information on your Canva course site or ask your course convenor.

As well as ensuring you are using the right style guide (for formatting, punctuation, in-text citations and referencing), we also recommend that you:

  • Always write in the third person and use objective language (unless directed otherwise).
  • Avoid plagiarism.
  • Do not contradict yourself. You can (and often should) compare different perspectives in your writing, but it is important to clarify your position in relation to the argument.
  • Avoid using slang terminology and only use abbreviations appropriately.
  • Consider the tone of your writing to ensure that it is in line with what is expected of you from the task description.

Sticking to the word count in a written assignment is important because it shows the marker that you can communicate effectively and efficiently by conveying your ideas within the given word limit. It is also important to note that, depending on the requirements set out by your course convenor, a marker may be required to stop reading your assignment once the word limit is reached, which may mean you miss out on valuable marks by exceeding the word count.

Top tip: Try to avoid repetition to keep your assignment concise and use appropriate abbreviations when needed to reduce your overall word count.

Did you know that there are several online apps and programs that are designed to help streamline your academic writing? Some of our favourites include:

Assignment Help is a free online service that runs from weeks 3 to 12 every trimester. As well as guiding students with planning, researching and referencing. The service also assists with proofreading and grammar-checking of your assessment draft.

Top tip: This service is in high demand and can book up fast, so we recommend booking your appointment at least 2 weeks in advance to avoid missing out!

As you review and read through your work, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Could my sentences be more concise? Are there additional words which cloud the clarity?
  • Is there unnecessary repetition?
  • Is there any important information missing?
  • Does this make sense when read it out loud?
  • Have I allocated my word count strategically?
  • Are my paragraphs an appropriate length?
  • Are there any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors?
  • Have I referenced all my sources and are my in-text citations listed correctly?
  • Is my formatting in line with the academic style guide?

Congratulations, you are now ready to do your final proofread and get your assignment submitted!


After yout assignment has been submitted

Once you’ve received your assessment back it’s important to review the feedback from your tutor. We’d recommend asking yourself:

  • What are some areas to improve for next time?
  • What have I achieved well and am proud of accomplishing in this written assignment?
  • What worked well for you during this process?
  • What additional support or tools can I access in the future?

Collating this information can better assist you in developing and growing your academic writing skills. This will better refine your process and overall efficiency and satisfaction.

Download our Academic Writing Checklist


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