Academic Skills Booklet Tertiary Essay Writing

Academic Writing:
A Guide to Tertiary Level Writing

This resource has been designed for Massey University students who are new to the conventions of academic writing. Many students, including distance, internal, and both domestic and international, may find this book useful, especially as the examples provided are not limited to a specific discipline. Many of the sections in this book are also on OWLL.

The book offers advice and guidance on how to write university assignments, including a section on the writing process, with particular reference to essays. Another section deals with the basics of report writing, incorporating sub-sections on business report writing as well as lab report writing. When writing university assignments, referencing the work of others is integral, hence there are sections on integrating the opinions of authors into your assignments, as well as how to construct a reference list at the end of your assignment.

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Last updated on 25 October, 2012

Using assignment essays for assessment supports student learning better than the traditional examination system. It is considered that course-work assignment essays can lessen the extreme stress experienced by some students over ‘sudden-death’ end of semester examinations:

If we insist that all students write about everything they have learned in their study courses at the same time and in the same place (e.g. in examinations), we are not giving all of our students equal opportunities. Some students are not daunted by the exam experience while others suffer ‘exam nerves’ and perform at the lowest level of their capabilities. (Wonderland University, 2006, p. 4)

Additionally, Jones et al. (2004, pp. 36-37) propose that assignment essays can be used to assess student learning mid-course and so provide them with helpful feedback before they are subjected to the exam experience. Exams only provide students with a mark rather than specific feedback on their progress. Therefore, setting assignment essays for a substantial part of student assessment is a much fairer approach than one-off examination testing.

Bloggs, J. (2003). Linking teaching, learning and succeeding in higher education. London: Bookworld.

Jinx, J.M. (2004). Student essay writing. Journal of Research in University Education, 9(2), 114-125.

Jones, J., Smith, P.L., Brown, K., Zong J., Thompson, K., & Fung, P.A. (2004). Helpline: Essays and the university student. Tokyo: Courtyard Printers.

Sankey, J.M., & Liger, T.U. (2003). Learning to write essays [CD-ROM]. Sydney: Wonderland University.

Taylor, G. (1989). The student’s writing guide for the arts and social sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wonderland University. (2006). Attributes of a university graduate. doi:10.1098/063-112

Yang, S., & Baker, O.E. (2005). Essay writing and the tertiary student. Melbourne: Diamond Press.

Zapper, Y. (2006). Learning essay writing. In F.T. Fax & Y. Phoney (Eds.), Learning Experiences at University (pp. 55-70). Calcutta: Academic Scholar Press.

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