The first stage of the writing process is thinking about the topic.
A ‘thesis statement’ or ‘statement of argument’ usually goes at the end of your paper’s introductory paragraph or introductory section. You can then use the main body of your paper to develop your response to this statement.
This stage involves researching, gathering, and connecting ideas. This stage can also include going back to Inventing to check and make sure you keep on-topic you have chosen to write about.
Consider booking an appointment with your subject librarian at: https://libguides.coventry.ac.uk/essentials/ALL for tips on how to identify and access the best databases and journals for up-to-date research in your field. Show the librarian the assignment brief and any reading lists you have been given.
This is the stage where you start your writing that can include going over the Planning stage again. Consider what works best for you.
This is the time to check and revise your work. This will usually entail large-scale changes at this point in the process.
The final stage of the writing process is checking and editing your work. These should now be small-scale final changes.
Feedback: Make use of all the written feedback you receive, from tutors or from other students, to help you work towards the most successful writing methods for you.
Use past assignments: Look through past writing assignments carefully to try to see what types of errors you commonly make. You can then take steps to try to ensure that you do not repeat the same types of mistakes. It can also help to identify the types of strengths that are common in your writing.
Use your Module Guide: Check the assignment criteria and the general writing guidelines each time you tackle an assignment.
Time management: You will be expected to work on several written assignments at a time. The best approach is to draw up a timetable for each assignment. Your timetable should allow time for you to complete all stages of the writing process: inventing, planning, drafting, revising and editing.
Drafting: Attempting to write your draft or part of your draft comes in the middle of the writing process, not at the end. Do not attempt to do all of your research and then ‘write up’ your draft at the last minute. Writing down your ideas and notes, planning and organising your paper’s structure, and drafting and revising are all part of the ongoing writing process.
Submitting your assignment: Never submit a rough draft for assessment - which is what would happen if you did not revise and edit your writing.
Every assignment requires you to display certain content knowledge that is in line with the learning objectives for the associated module. In addition to content knowledge, you need to identify what type of writing skills each assignment demands.
There are different types of essays, but the aim of most essays is to persuade your audience of a particular point of view. You will need to supply evidence (clearly referenced in the appropriate referencing style: https://libguides.coventry.ac.uk/referencing) to back up every key point that you make. You will also need to discuss each point fully by providing explanations and concrete examples. To structure an essay, it is essential to come up with a thesis statement or statement of argument that sets out your main point in simple terms. An argument is analytical, not descriptive, and involves setting up a kind of debate in the main body of your assignment where you present a balance of evidence but convince the reader of a key idea or perspective.
You are also required to write an argument in a report because you do not just describe the subject, you also need to give an analysis of the subject (for example: whether a company is performing well or not). Therefore, a report must also have a clear thesis statement or statement of argument.
This type of assignment requires you to explain fully what you have experienced, what you have learnt, and how you will apply this lesson to your professional practice. Often in academic writing students are discouraged from using the first person (for example: ‘I think that…’). This is because using ‘I’ makes writing sound subjective, not objective, and therefore less convincing. However, in reflective writing you may refer to yourself in the first person.
This type of assignment can be a paper in its own right, or it can be one section or chapter of a larger research paper. A literature review requires you to demonstrate your knowledge of the literature on a topic, and also to review this research (think of a film review, which identifies key strengths and weaknesses). As you critique the literature - by explaining how it is useful but also by pointing out its limitations - identify a gap in the field.
A gap is an aspect of the topic that has not yet been researched, or that has been under-researched or inconclusively researched. If you are writing an undergraduate or master’s dissertation or a doctoral thesis, use this gap to develop your research problem or question, which should aim to fill this gap. Keep in mind that most literature reviews require you to formulate a thesis statement or statement of argument and to use the literature under review to make a point, not just a list.
CAW offers writing development workshops across all genres of academic writing, including ‘The Writing Process: General guidelines to improve writing’ and other topics on the different types of assignment mentioned above that can provide additional support and guidance during your writing process. To view available workshops and book online, visit: https://libcal.coventry.ac.uk/calendar/caw