Academic Writing Lecture Notes

University of Copenhagen
University of Copenhagen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was studying in University of Copenhagen (2010-feb) enrolled to Academic Writing Class which aimed leads us to “Writing The Paper A to Z”. Here are the lecture notes thats why Im pleased to share with you who are interested in Academic Writing.  Hopefully, it works for you!

P.S : for more information please write to me without hesitating!

Mustafa Ijaz @cokbasit


University of  Copenhagen, Denmark – 2010

Deciding on a topic or title

Finding a relevant – interesting topic

Strategy for invention

Brain storming => mind mapping

1.     Find a subject or theme

2.     Define a problem area

3.     Define a spesific problem

4.     Formulate the problem

  • Ask yourself – write down yourself
  • Why I change it?
  • What do I think about this topic or theme?

A well-though thesis is the key to writing an effective paper

Print out a copy

Keep your thesis at the center of the paper

It will help you to write a well organised and focused paper

  • Where do i want to take it?
  • What do i know about my topic?
  • What do i not know?

o    Where/How do i find out more

o    What about  “newness” or “originality” of title or approach

Consult your professor

Hand in a draft

Arrange a meeting

Get the “OK”

Use e-mail!

§  After discussing the paper

§  Compose your work Schedule

§  Made it flooting

§  But keep it in view

Allow sufficient theme







  • Library loans
  • Field studies
  • Consultations
  • Etc


Check your Schedule

Worst case secenory à a new angle topic

Back to start and all over again

Electronic search

*the internet

* google search


How-where do they information from ask always

plagiarism !

Never use modifier like “it seems like” or it appears to be”

Literally ask a question and answer the question

This can be done both introduction or body?

Start with the section that appears most inspiring you

è  Follow your essay plan

è  Follow your Schedule

Set yourself a target for each day and stick to it. Even if you have to burn midnight oil.


Think of it as writing a letter to a friend where your introduce your topic, theme, texts you have read and your respondes


Kill your darlings! Put yourself in the position of your reader

You have planned

You have written

Now its time to revise

General Advice for Revision

Time: Allow time fort he revision proces

HARD COPY: print out a hard copy and take a red pen fort he revision process

TRY READING ALOUD to  yourself get a SECOND READER both for content and prof-reading


Is the paper coherent?

Look your thesis.

General structure paper

  • Do paraghraphs hang together
  • Are the arguments moving on in a logical and instructional?
  • What are strength of my paper?
  • What are the weakness?

Language, style tone!!!

Over use of

passive constructions

Long, complex sentences

Excessive use of academic jargon or terms.


İnviting yet formal without being dull

Objective and fairness in tone

You may be polemical is thesis appropriate to your topic or argument.

COHERENCE: The Flow Of Your Paper

§  Anchoring of sentences: backward as well as forward

§  Consistency in subjects

§  Use repetition to create unity in key issues or words at appropriate moments

§  Use transition markers wisely to announce turn in argument

               GENERAL STYLE

o    Do not tell us what you are going t oto all time!!!

o    Do it once – otherwise do it!

o    Avoid using qualifiers : i think, in my opinion, perhaps, could be, it’s possible, a likely situation might be


Avoid using first and second person: I, we, you, me, my etc.

İf possible avoid of these are

  • Use headings and make a table of contents for all papers

A book advice : Gibaldi, Joseph ; MLA

Handbook for writers of research papers

Sixth edition. New York, 2003

 More than telling what you see!

Academic papers must be analytical than just descriptive

§  Force you think

§  Be critical and independent

§  Analysis making questions – why, what, where, how

Subordinate your priorities

No evidence – No conclusion!

No description – No analysis!

Analysis is based on pros and cons

All points must be clearly stated and substained


Write in clear and logical

Structure so the reader can follow you step by step!

(fish metaphore)




Cover of "MLA Handbook for Writers of Res...
Cover via Amazon



§  Title

§  İntroduction

§  Body I: description and exposition

§  Body II: Analyzing and discussion

§  Conclusion

§  Notes

§  Works cited or bibliography

Separate methodology sewctions!

Have a table of contents ( always for longer papers more than 8 pages)

*your style must be inviting maybe provacative

Ø  İntroduction begins with more general topical information and conclude with your ideas

Ø  Give the reader the tools they need to get into your topic


§  Open with a anectode

§  A quotation

§  In medias res

è  Does my introduction define terms improtant to my thesis statement?

è  Doe it place my thesis within the longer ongoing scholarly discussing!?

Body Description – Exposition

§  Main points and sub-points in a logically progressive arrangement a paragraph and topic sentences


§  Be strong in your style

§  You must explore one idea or topic of your thesis and offers evidence for it at a time.

§  Does it stand the test of “so what”?

§  Is it interesting?

Body –Analyse of discussion

§  Do i have sufficient evidence

§  Transitions must be clear

§  Anchor your paragraphs

§  Secure connection to the previous

§  Point and place the way fort he next point you wish to make


Good Arguments à Objective

§  By being objective you become academic


§  Return to introduction, the circular strcuture and your thesis statement.

§  How have you managed to clarify what you promised to do?

§  But do not introduce any new ideas ( in conclusion) or issues that the reader will be puzzled by!

§  A conclusion does not always have to be conclusive!

§  İf you have struggling with conclusion, try to answer the question “so what”.

§  End off with an anoctode or a quotation that emphasises yur central point.

§  Style must be concincing, persuasive and precise

§  Do not introduce new idea sor issues ( again J)

§  Quotations: do not over use! When used thg must be easy to see “…” and acknowledge the source


Pros: can illustrate a point?

Cons: can end up as being name dropping?


§  Parenthetical (authors name and page : Spurgeon, 335)

§  Footnotes

§  End notes

§  Works cited (author or editor, title, year printed) or bibliography must be placed of the and of your paper. It is mandatory!

Beware of I, me, my! And plus : –;-; (); []; {}

They all maket he reader go full stop! Like hitting a wall!


Top: 1cm

Left: 2cm

Right:  3cm

Bottom:  4cm                                                         

Fonts: Times New Roman – 12 Points   , Arial, Baskerville old fare , Courier New, Garamond

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