• University of Reading

An Intermediate Guide to Writing in English for University Study

Improve your academic English writing skills: analyse questions, structure essays, research effectively and avoid plagiarism.

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An Intermediate Guide to Writing in English for University Study

Develop the English skills required for extended writing projects and essays.

On this course you will expand your academic writing skill set and learn how to produce a thorough and high standard extended essay.

You’ll get an introduction to research tools, analysing an essay question, developing your argument, searching for credible sources and referencing, as well as learning more about the fundamentals like planning an essay structure, proof-reading and avoiding plagiarism. You’ll have the opportunity to practise researching and writing your own paragraphs for an essay as well as giving and receiving feedback.

Whether you’re a prospective undergraduate or postgraduate, or are currently undertaking university-level study, this course will give you the confidence you need to research, write and reference academic essays and extended writing projects.

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Syllabus

  • Week 1

    What is an academic essay?

    • Welcome to the course

      Meet the team and learn more about what you will cover this Week.

    • What is academic writing?

      What key features distinguish academic writing from other styles of writing?

    • Analysing the essay question

      Explore how to analyse the essay question to help you develop the most effective structure for your essay.

    • Generating ideas and choosing a structure

      How does the purpose of your essay relate to the structure?

    • Language focus: Identifying a word class

      Learn more about different language skills used in academic writing.

    • Looking ahead

      This week you explored the key characteristics of academic writing style, and how to analyse an essay question to help you develop the most effective structure for your essay.

  • Week 2

    Reading and notetaking

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Learn more about what you will cover this Week.

    • Reasons for reading

      Explore different techniques to help you read widely around an essay question, to demonstrate your understanding of the topic and related literature.

    • Searching for information

      How to search for and select credible sources of information to support your essay.

    • Notetaking for an essay

      Explore different techniques, including the SQ3R strategy, for reading efficiently and taking notes of the most relevant information for your academic essay.

    • Language focus: complex sentences

      Learn more about different language skills used in academic writing.

    • Review and reflect

      This Week you explored how to search for and identify suitable information sources and how to read and take effective notes so that you can refer to them in your academic essay.

  • Week 3

    Paragraphs

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Learn more about what you will cover this Week

    • Elements of a paragraph

      How do you construct an effective paragraph for an academic essay?

    • Paragraph leaders

      What is a paragraph leader? How do you link paragraph leaders and supporting sentences in successive paragraphs to communicate your ideas?

    • Developing a paragraph

      Explore different techniques for writing a paragraph and test your writing skills.

    • Language focus: summary nouns

      Learn more about different language skills used in academic writing.

    • Review and reflect

      This week you looked how to construct an effective paragraph, and different ways to link paragraph leaders and supporting sentences between paragraphs to effectively communicate your ideas.

  • Week 4

    Referencing

    • Welcome to Week 4

      Learn more about what you will cover this Week

    • Referencing

      In academic writing, It is essential to refer to authoritative sources to support your ideas and demonstrate your understanding. Explore the different ways to include references in a University assignment.

    • Summarising, paraphrasing and direct quotations

      Explore the three techniques for integrating information and ideas from other sources in your academic writing: paraphrasing, summarising and direct quotation.

    • Avoiding plagiarism

      In academic writing, when you present someone else’s work, either for publication or within your University coursework you must making it clear that these ideas or words come from another source.

    • Language focus

      Learn more about different language skills used in academic writing.

    • Review and reflect

      This Week you explored the three main ways to integrate ideas from other sources to demonstrate your understanding and avoid plagiarism within your academic writing.

  • Week 5

    Planning your academic essay

    • Welcome to Week 5

      Learn more about what you will cover this Week.

    • The essay introduction

      Your introduction should give an indication of the main focus of your academic essay. Find out what features you could include and how to plan and structure an effective introduction.

    • The essay conclusion

      Your essay conclusion is often the most challenging part to write. Find out what features you could include and how to plan and structure an effective conclusion.

    • Proof-reading

      It is important to check through your essays before you submit them. Discover what to look out for when you proof-read your academic work.

    • Language focus

      Learn more about different language skills used in academic writing.

    • Building on what you know

      Now you've completed the course find out how you can consolidate and build on what you've learned next.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

If you'd like to take part while our educators are leading the course, they'll be joining the discussions, in the comments, between these dates:

  • 11 Oct 2021 - 12 Nov 2021

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the features of good academic writing.
  • Interpret essay questions, generate ideas and structure your text.
  • Improve your research and reading skills to find relevant and reliable information.
  • Experiment with different note-taking methods.
  • Develop expertise in constructing paragraphs that support your argument.
  • Explore how to reference other people’s work properly, incorporate quotations and avoid plagiarism.
  • Compare tips on how to approach introductions and conclusions
  • Reflect on the importance of proof-reading and collaboration.
  • Practise grammatical sentence construction to improve your writing

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone interested in undertaking academic study in English, but it may be of particular interest to international students. You will require an IELTS English level of 5.5 and above.

If you’re new to academic writing, you may like to take A Beginner’s Guide to Writing in English for University Study before or alongside this course.

Who will you learn with?

I'm Associate Professor in Technology-enhanced Learning at the University of Reading. I also teach on pre-sessional courses in English language and study skills.

I’m an English for Academic Purposes teacher & materials developer at the University of Reading. My research interest is different modes of thought & reasoning across different language & cultures.

Who developed the course?

University of Reading

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

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