Find information on:
Steps within written assignments: researching, planning. drafting and editing.
The Study Skills Handbook (Cottrell, 2013, p. 282).
Steps within written assignments
Clarify the task
Analyse the question. What is your lecturer asking you to do? Are you being asked to analyse / describe / compare? See Kent University’s (2008)
instruction verbs in essays for more examples and definitions. Keep re-visiting the question to make sure that you stay on track.
Collect and record information
Be selective. Is the resource relevant and reliable? (See
Effective Reading) Remember to take notes and record the Harvard reference.
Note Taking Guide for more guidance.
Organise and plan
Look for patterns in your research. Which sources connect?
Consider using a
mind map in the early stages to see links more clearly. Make sure you plan your time; here is a
blank 10 week timetable that you could use to plot out your study time.
Write an outline plan and first draft
Make sure your writing follows a logical order, uses evidence from your wider reading and finishes with a strong conclusion.
Have a look at our
Planning Study Guide and template on ‘Planning an essay’. Look at the word count – how many words can you afford to use for each section of your assignment?
Work on your first draft
Re-work your plan into
paragraphs. Check you have included evidence and
references. Make sure your argument is clear. Sometimes it helps to take a break and then re-read how far you have got before continuing.
Check the flow of your writing, which includes how well each paragraph follows on from one another.
Perhaps read it aloud to check for clarity and spot any typos.
Be careful to follow common conventions shown in our
Academic Writing Guide. Keep tweaking until you are happy with your work.
Useful video guides
Cottrell, S. (2013)
The 4th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. study skills handbook.