In Engineering, the most common type of writing you will have to do is report writing. The University of Sydney have developed a comprehensive resource on report writing called Wrise that you may find helpful. For support for your own assignments, make sure to refer closely to materials provided to you by your teaching team, and clarify any questions you might have with them in the first instance. Your Learning Advisor in the Library will also be able to help with non-content related questions.
Paragraphs are the building blocks of your written assignments, regardless of the overall structure. Each paragraph should only contain one main idea, and follow a predictable structure. A well-structured paragraph helps you to organise your ideas and makes it easier for readers to understand what you are aiming to communicate. Paragraphs usually consist of around 5 - 6 sentences and include:
- Topic sentence – introduce the main idea of the paragraph
- Expanding sentences – explain the main idea (if necessary)
- Evidence sentence – provide your reliable sources that support your idea
- Expanding sentences - explain the significance of the evidence
- Concluding sentence – either summarise the main idea again, or link to the next paragraph
Writing is rewriting
Producing a final written document usually involves writing several draft versions, and rewriting or restructuring sections. Plan ahead so that you have the time to improve on your first attempt, get feedback from others and proofread the assignment carefully before submission. Whilst spellcheckers and online tools such as Grammarly can be a fantastic help, they won't detect all errors. You will still need to check again yourself.
When you're proofreading, taking a systematic approach can be very helpful. For example, once you have read through and are happy with the content, do another read of your assignment looking for one type error, such as spelling or sentence structure. Focusing only on this one thing, and then continue to do the same for other types of errors. Try using this Grammar Proofreading Checklist, particularly if English is not your first language.
Academic Success is an open text that was written by USQ Learning Advisors and Librarians to help you succeed at university. Part B of the text includes an English Language Foundations chapter which includes techniques for enhancing your academic writing skills. Part D: Successful Assessment in the text focuses on preparing assessments and includes chapters on Managing Assessment, Writing Assignments, and Types of Assignments.