Ok, so you’ve got all your research and references ready to go, it’s time to start the hard part. Writing. One of the hardest parts of the assignment.
So how does one go about writing a uni assignment that is more academic?
Deakin study skills does have a handy guide to writing assignments but here are some other things you should know.
The main difference between high school and uni is that writing assignments is a whole different ball game. In high school, we chucked in long quotes, based our ideas on it and finalised with bibliographies. And that was it to pass. But in uni that’s a NO GO ZONE.
Put simply in uni, to classify your work as academic QUOTING is a BIG NO. Instead PARAPHRASING is the BIG YES. But simply summarising or paraphrasing other people’s ideas IS NOT ENOUGH. You’ve got to CRITICALLY ANALYSE. (Cue in what?!) And to top that up, you’ve got to get your head around referencing which seems to be another langauge!
Feeling stressed/confused? Yep. I was too. But since then I’ve learned the art of writing assignments with practice.
So here is my step by step guide on how to write an assignment to make your lives a million times easier!
The paragraph layout
One thing that we need to stick by from high school is TEEL. Ring any bells?
T- Topic sentence
L- Link it back to the essay question
Step 1: Topic sentence
This is your ONE sentence that describes what your paragraph is going to be about. For example if the essay topic was on the “Maths and science shortages of high school teachers are an increasing issue in the school system. Discuss the overall impact. It would be like…
Skill shortages in the mathematics and science domains are an increasing issue causing poor teaching quality (Crevini 2013).
This tells your reader:
a) What your paragraph is about ( it’s about skill shortages of maths and science teachers)
b) What you’ll be discussing ( how it’s posing as an issue for the school)
If your topic sentence does the above, you’re on your way to golden writing!
Step 2: Explanation
Depending on your writing style, you may find that evidence and explanation are entwined. And for me that’s usually the case.
Here is where you discuss your ideas or view points for your paragraph. So for our example.
As limited staff have caused teachers to be as overloaded with excessive classes.
Step 3: Evidence/ Further explanation
This is where you use evidence from your research to back up your explanation statement/ view points. However to paraphrase you write the evidence using different words to convey the same meaning.
Part A: Putting evidence in
So if the article says:
“Between 25 and 40 per cent of teachers leave the profession within five years of starting, according to estimates in numerous surveys by teacher unions and education academics (Milburn 2011)”.
To paraphrase you would write
According to teacher union surveys state 25-40% of teachers tend to leave within the 5 years that they started (Milburn 2011).
Part B: Critical analysis
And then CRITICALLY ANALYSE the evidence.
But what does that mean?
Put simply it’s evaluating the evidence presented using words that aren’t necessary there but implied. It’s thinking outside the box to show your marker that not only can you find credible sources of information, you can also analyse it.
1. What does that actually/potentially suggest for my argument ? (I.e there are overwhelmed teachers, so how does that impact the students and parents?)
2. What does that actually mean? ( for the teachers, students, parents, school?)
So then we get;
Therefore the mission of providing an education that is tailored seems no longer feasible. As teachers are overwhelmed with workloads to deliver tailored education. Consequently, students become less passionate and dedicated to learn as they feel their needs are not being met. This is reflected in their failed or lowered grades, where parents become unhappy with their child’s progress.
Of course you could just end it there without critical analysis and end up with a Credit, but we’re all aiming for D’s and HD’s aren’t we?
Critical analysis takes practice, so don’t feel too bad when you struggle to get the hang of it. It takes a few assignments to master it. So take on board your tutor/marker comments to improve!
Step 4: Link
Ok the final stage, write a sentence summary to link back to the question.
So to finalise
Which overall diminishes the reputation of the school, as teachers, students and parents come to believe that the academy does not care about their wellbeing
Voila! You’re done!
Pull the sentences together and you get this!
Skill shortages in the mathematics and science domains are one of the influential external influences (Creveni 2013). This in turn has dramatically reduced the teaching quality as they are overloaded with excessive classes. According to teacher union surveys state 25-40% of teachers tend to leave within the 5 years that they started. Therefore the mission of providing an education that is tailored seems no longer feasible. As teachers are overwhelmed with workloads to deliver tailored education (Milburn 2011). Consequently, students become less passionate and dedicated to learn as they feel their needs are not being met. This is reflected in their failed or lowered grades, where parents become unhappy with their child’s progress. Which overall diminishes the reputation of the school, as teachers, students and parents come to believe that the academy does not care about their wellbeing.
Cervini, E 2010, ‘Are we facing a glut of teachers?’, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 August, retrieved 1 Dec 2013,.
Milburn, C 2011, ‘More teachers, but fewer staying the course’, The Age, 7 March, retrieved 1 Dec 2013