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Assignments and Academic Writing

University assignments come in many forms, from essays to lab reports, PhD theses to reflective blogs, presentations to videos.

Girl doing some workThere are many stages to completing an assignment, from understanding the question and identifying your focus, to the final stages of editing and proof-reading. It is useful to start early and plan to make sure that you have time for each stage.

There is no single way to write academic work. Some assignment types have a set structure but many do not. For example, how you structure an essay will depend on: your subject area, the question, and your focus or argument in the essay. Similarly, academic writing style varies a lot between subjects, types of assignment and even the personal preferences of lecturers.

When you plan your assignment, consider the guidance you have been given, in assignment briefs or module handbooks, on Blackboard or the LSE, or in taught sessions by your lecturers.

Online resources

Student support

The Writing Development Centre

Girl using a computerThe tutors can help you:

  • understand the question and identify your focus
  • understand assignments types, instructions and marking criteria
  • develop an appropriate writing style
  • plan and structure written assignments and research projects
  • develop a critical argument
  • integrate the work of others into your own writing
  • write posters and deliver presentations
  • develop strategies for editing your own work

The Writing Development Centre does not proof-read work and they will not check or correct your work.

In a tutorial, they may read parts of your assignment to identify any issues and help you develop strategies to improve your own work.

Go to the Writing Development Centre page.

The Specialist Learning Team

The team can help students who have a specific learning difficulty:

  • understand assignment types, instruction and marking criteria
  • plan and structure written assignments and research projects
  • presentation techniques
  • find problems with their written work and develop strategies for improvement
  • identify appropriate assistive technologies
  • develop foundation skills such as spelling, punctuation and grammar

Go to the Specialist Learning Team page.

INTO Newcastle University

INTO provide support for students whose first language is not English, including:

  • academic English listening and speaking support
  • academic English writing and reading support
  • one-to-one writing tutorials to discuss specific issues with your academic writing

Go to the INTO page.