Academic writing


Following good academic writing practices will help you to maintain your academic credibility. It will also help you get better marks at university and give you more confidence to engage with research by being critical of it.

By accurately referencing your sources you will also help your readers to expand their subject knowledge and develop a more in-depth understanding of your work by seeing what it is based on.

Illustration of a man holding a pen

Quoting correctly


Quoting is when you use the exact words of an author in your assignment. You should use single quote marks around the quoted text, like below. Quotations more than two lines long should be indented.

Quotation from original source:

Callister explains that materials science involves investigating the relationships that exist between the structures and properties of materials. In contrast, materials engineering involves, on the basis of these structure–property correlations, designing or engineering the structure of a material to produce a predetermined set of properties.

Source: Callister, W.D. (2014) Materials Science and Engineering, 9th ed. Hoboken, Wiley.

Quotations help support your arguments and reinforce or raise a new point.

This does not mean you can just cut and paste large sections of text, insert quotation marks and hand in your work. Marks are not generally awarded for quotations as your tutors want to read your ideas, theories and arguments, not someone else's.

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Paraphrasing


Paraphrasing is when you read a piece of work and then rewrite it in your own words while retaining the flavour and ideas of the original text. Paraphrasing demonstrates that you have understood the academic context of the source and allows you to support your argument. Take a look the extract below that has been paraphrased.

Original extract:

Airplanes are by no means the only application of aerodynamics. The air flow over an automobile, the gas flow through the internal combustion engine powering an automobile, weather and storm prediction, the flow through a windmill, the production of thrust by gas turbine jet engines and rocket engines, and the movement of air through building heater and air-conditioning systems are just a few other examples of the application of aerodynamics.

Source: Anderson, J. (2011) Fundamentals of Aerodynamics. 5th ed. New York, McGraw Hill

Paraphrased text:

As described by Anderson (2011), the study of aerodynamics is not just applicable to aviation. Other applications include: automobiles (air flow over the vehicle, gas flow through the engine), weather prediction, thrust in gas turbine jet engines and rocket engines, air flow in HVAC systems.

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