Most papers use "Conclusion" as a heading for the final section of the text, although there are times when headings such as "Future Trends" will serve equally well for a paper’s closing section. When you are stuck for a conclusion, look back at your introduction; see if you can freshly reemphasize your objectives by outlining how they were met, or even revisit an opening scenario from the introduction in a new light to illustrate how the paper has brought about change. Your conclusion should not be a summary of the paper or a simple tacked-on ending, but a significant and logical realization of the paper’s goals.
The academic writing site has been written as a self-managed training program that can also be used as a resource for a specific learning need. The level of learning is BASIC with links to ASO factsheets to extend and support your learning.
When you are starting out, you can use one of these examples (or an appropriate example from a published paper) as a model to follow in constructing your own legends.
To see the above tips in action, browse through the sample essays in the later chapters of this manual, where you will find ample evidence of how other writers met their source citation challenges. For further detail about source citation practices, you can also go to .
Think about yourself as a child, asking your parents for permission to do something that they would normally say no to. You were far more likely to get them to say yes if you anticipated and addressed all of their concerns before they expressed them. You did not want to belittle those concerns, or make them feel dumb, because this only put them on the defensive, and lead to a conclusion that went against your wishes.
The same is true in your writing.
Sometimes writers try to invite the reader along. This is not surprising as many journalists use this technique to write much of our everyday reading matter (e.g. newspapers, magazines, advertising). Directly addressing your reader is not appropriate academic writing as you tend to use personal pronouns and issue commands rather than using statements. For example:
It is customary to write most academic papers in the present tense. You should report your own findings and those from research in present tense (e.g. Jackson and Smith argue [present tense] that …). Be consistent in your use of tense throughout your paper. When you have finished your writing, check that the tense matches in the introduction, body and conclusion paragraphs of your essay.
There are some forms of writing (e.g. reports) where bullet points are allowed. Some subjects also allow bullet points in academic essays. Check with the lecturer and ensure that you use the appropriate format and punctuation for using bullet points in that discipline.
Dashes are used in a similar way to brackets. Most students use them incorrectly as the rules are complicated. Therefore, it is better to avoid using dashes in your formal writing unless you have a very good grasp of the rules.
In informal writing, brackets are often used to enclose non-essential information. However, using brackets in formal academic writing to give information is generally NOT ENCOURAGED. It is better to use a pair of commas and say what you mean.
Unnecessary words confuse and frustrate the reader (marker). Using too many words is a common fault in student writing. Most students do battle with the word count (allowable words per essay), so when you’re editing your writing be aware of the tendency to overuse words. You can cut out unnecessary words—without changing the meaning—to reduce your word count. The following table shows you a few common wordy phrases and their shorter replacements:
When you are evaluating theories and discussing implications, lecturers expect that your argument should appear to be well-considered and reasonable. The language you use to make your claims should show that you can ‘make way’ for other points of view. If it is appropriate for you to be tentative (medium certainty) with your claims, you can use language techniques to ‘soften’ your claims to indicate the degree of certainty you want to express. This technique is called hedging.
If you feel strongly about a topic, you may be tempted to use emotional words that are inappropriate for academic writing. Be aware of this when you edit your work—a few small changes to words and sentences can make your work sound more ‘well-considered’ than rash!
Be careful that you use language in a neutral way so that you keep your likes and dislikes (emotions) to yourself. Appealing to your reader by using strong words is not acceptable in most academic writing. For example: