Student writing on paperLearning how to express your own ideas and discuss those of others in writing is an important academic skill. You can plan your writing effectively by asking yourself a series of framing questions.

At the start of the work, consider the following:

  • What is the purpose of this piece of writing?
  • What have I been asked to do?
  • Who is the reader?
  • What are the marking criteria?

When planning your writing, think about these questions:

  • What is the best structure for this work?
  • What should I say at each stage of the document?
  • How should I emphasise the most important material?


Remember that different courses will have different requirements for the written work that you produce. For example, some assignments may require you to write in the passive voice, and others will want you to express yourself in the active voice:

  • Passive: "It is understood that..."
  • Active: "I understand that..."

There may be other requirements relating to word count, tone of voice, presentation of data, specific material to include, and a range of other possibilities. Make sure you check with your lecturers to find out what they want to see from each assignment that you submit.