Writing your papers and thesis

Writing as a process

When you begin to write a long academic paper or assignment, you should be aware that it is a process. While you write, read, and work on your paper, the process is going on continually. You can work on more than one part of the paper at the same time, and while writing you will learn new things all the time, so you may need to go back and edit paragraphs that you thought you had finished.

The writing process: four phases
  1. Ideas: during this first phase, you explore your ideas and work creatively. During this phase, tools like mindmaps and writing while brainstorming may help you. Also, during this phase, the formulation of the problem you are going to answer will become clear, so that you can use it as your basis for the rest of the process.
  2. Organising: during this phase, you organise your ideas and create the structure of the paper, so that you can express why you are interested in the problem and which question(s) you are going to answer. 
  3. Writing:  this is when you sit down to write in earnest. In order not to lose the thread, you may want to keep your mindmap or the contents of the part you are working on next to your keyboard. 
  4. Editing: during this phase, you proofread your paper and correct both content and language, so that you get a coherent paper.

The four phases don’t need to follow each other in this order until you reach the point when you hand in the paper. During the process, you will find that you will be working on more of them at the same time.

Try using the process tool SCRIBO to get started.


More on writing

Writing an academic paper is more than merely your writing process.

  • If you are doing an empirical project, you have to read the relevant theory and methodology, and to collect and analyse your data. SAGE Research Methods may help you here.
  • You have to consider how to show good scientific conduct and avoid plagiarism.
  • You have to find a supervisor to support you in your field of study and supervise the process.
  • You can find and order books on writing papers and on methodology in the Library catalogue.

Research Question and Literature Search Tool


Avoid Plagiarism

It is your own responsibility to make sure that you know the rules on plagiarism

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