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Understanding the ins and outs of academic writing 

Summer School 2024

Understanding the ins and outs of academic writing 

No matter how groundbreaking your research topic is, how thorough your methods and how insightful your findings, if you don’t know how to capture it professionally and correctly in a research report, the value will be lost. But it’s easier said than done. Academic writing is a specialised skill that follows specific rules. That’s why we invite representatives from the Stellenbosch University Writing Lab to the summer school each year to help equip students with academic writing skills.

While each writer is different and will follow different strategies, there are certain basic rules to follow. The Writing Lab focused on these and provided valuable insights:

  • How to read sources and evaluate arguments to inform your writing (e.g. importance, validity, presuppositions, implications)
  • How to keep a record of what you’ve read and taking notes
  • How to structure your writing (e.g. planning ahead, knowing the required format, ensuring logical flow, using paragraphs and headings effectively)
  • Why to reference and knowing when to include references
  • The different types and methods of referencing
  • The basic rules of referencing (e.g. what to do if there’s no place or date of publication)
  • How do deal with electronic sources
  • The difference between quoting and paraphrasing and when to use which
  • Understanding the different forms of plagiarism

For a recap of the writing skills sessions, log on to SunLearn where you’ll find the recordings. The sessions were also emailed to students who at that point were not yet registered. If you need individual help, you can book a one-on-one consultation with the Writing Lab here.