Useful readingSupport & tools
Useful readingSupport & tools
Useful readingSupport & tools
Useful readingSupport & tools
Useful readingSupport & tools
Useful readingSupport & tools
Useful readingSupport & Tools
Useful readingSupport & tools
Useful readingSupport & tools
Useful readingSupport & tools
This is the "Writing" page of the "The research process" guide.
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This Libguide provides a systematic guide to the different phases and activities of a master's or doctoral research project and introduces the researcher and research student to relevant Library sources, tools and services offered along the way.
Last Updated: Jun 6, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Writing Print Page

Writing your dissertation or thesis

Writing a thesis or dissertation is about organising your thoughts and ideas coherently and logically according to a certain structure and using the rhetoric of science. While certain conventions should be observed, there should also be room for personal style and preference.

Mouton, J. 2001. How to succeed in your master's and doctoral studies: A South African guide and resource book. Pretoria: Van Schaik.

Consult Useful Reading and Support and Tools for more help when writing your thesis or dissertation.


What is academic writing?

"Scientific text is precise, impersonal and objective. It typically uses the third person, the passive tense, complex terminology, and various footnoting and referencing systems."

Hartley, J. 2008. Academic writing and publishing: A practical handbook. London: Routledge

"Writing academically means writing in a certain style, for a certain purpose, and to a certain audience. The style is formal, the purpose is to persuade and/or to inform, and the audience is your lecturer and the wider community of researchers, including fellow students." 

Characteristics of Academic Writing: A quick guide. Available: 

Some features of academic writing
Precise Your language should communicate exactly what you did. Avoid vague language and generalizations.
Clear    Academic writing involves the communicating of complicated ideas in an easy-to-understand style. Use formal language, without slang, cliches or colloquialisms. Avoid ambiguity and needless complexity. Use language that your audience understands.
Facts can be validated and verified and sources are carefully acknowleged.

Academic texts address a certain question or problem. Each paragraph must be focused on one main point or argument.

Concise Eliminate needless repetition of words and phrases that have no meaning. Conciseness usually improves clarity.

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