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Academic Writing: Home

Writing is one of the fundamental ways in which your work will be assessed at CCT College Dublin. Be it an academic poster or a long-form essay, sharp writing skills are paramount to presenting and proving one or more hypotheses, regardless of format. Students are expected to employ a formal tone in their writing, as is standard in the wider professional workplace and research circles. This style of writing should aim for objectivity while using evidence from other academic sources to support the argument.

Taking a systematic, staged approach to the writing process will help to produce a clear, concise, and focused essay. The academic writing process can be divided into four stages: planning, writing, editing, and reviewing. 

Planning is arguably the most important stage of the writing process. It is where a rough skeletal frame of an essay is created, which will serve as the foundation for the essay in its entirety. A well-structured plan at the outset can foster clarity throughout the piece and save hours of editing later from a lack of pointedness in topic or form.

First, it is important to review the assignment guidelines to ensure an understanding of the desired length and format as designated by the professor. Occasionally, different professors will ask for specific fonts, text sizes, margins, and other stylistic variances; it is important to note these as well before beginning. The essay or project brief may also provide insights into the assignment that were not explicitly mentioned during the lectures. 

After clarifying the direction and format of the essay based on the professor’s guidelines, the next step is to develop a hypothesis or thesis statement upon which the essay will be based. It may be helpful to create overarching subcategories through which to structure the different arguments comprising the essay.

For example, if the hypothesis was “the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered the workplace landscape and organisational culture in Ireland,” one of the subtopics/main points of argument may be “physical office closures.” Under this subtopic, evidence in support may be filed away to ensure that there is enough research to support the hypothesis.

It is important to discover early if there is not enough evidence to float a specific subtopic or the hypothesis in its entirety instead of the realisation hours into the writing process. 

The writing process may be daunting, especially if the project is particularly lengthy or rigorous; however, the creation of a sound plan will provide guidance through the process. Principally, it is important to maintain a consistent, formal style throughout the essay.

Contractions such as ‘don’t’ should be replaced with their long-form counterparts ‘do not’ and personal pronouns like ‘I’ and ‘you’ should be avoided in formal writing of this kind. While writing, make certain that information from other sources is properly cited in-text and aligns with the references list at the end of the essay.

Plagiarism is a serious offence and a breach of CCT’s policies; violations carry significant penalties. Please see also our section on Academic Integrity for more information on this.

Committing substantial time to combing through the essay is paramount to producing a polished product for submission. Typographical errors, however small, can draw attention away from the salient points of the essay and on to the mistake. Be sure that your word choice and sentence structure is as varied as possible to avoid boring the reader. Even the best crafted arguments will be doubted if the prose that contains them is riddled with errors and redundant sentences. 

If time permits, it is often helpful to step away from your written work for a period of days or hours; it may encourage the detection of mistakes that had previously evaded notice. Make sure that the in-text citations align with the references list and double check the formatting specifications provided in the assignment instructions. Finally, ensure that the essay flows well and move paragraphs around if necessary to promote cohesion and fluidity between points. 

The introductory paragraph(s) of an academic paper presents a preview and rough structural picture to the reader. Be it a polemic paper or an issue brief, the first few sentences of a paper help to gain and maintain attention; it is during these preliminary moments that the reader decides whether or not they are interested in the content of the paper.

It is probably best to avoid introducing any data or citations in the introduction; this preliminary paragraph should not go beyond introducing the main argument/content of the piece.

More specific justifications can be better utilised in the main body. The most important part of the introduction is a clearly articulated thesis statement.

There should be no question in the reader’s mind what principal point the paper is trying to convey.

Main Body 
The substance of the paper begins here in full. Depending on the assignment’s formatting guidelines, it may be helpful to divide the main body paragraphs with subheadings to better structure the points thematically. Contained within the main body is the synthesis of the accumulated research, organised to illustrate the hypothesis established in the introduction.

Typically, it is best to cover one idea per paragraph, as a paragraph should never be an entire page in length. When introducing and supporting your points, make certain to properly cite all information pulled from an outside source.

It may be worthwhile to introduce counterpoints in the essay so that the research in favour of your hypotheses may be used to dispel opposition claims more effectively. 

The conclusion serves both as a summary of the analysis throughout the paper, but also as an opportunity for the writer to impart the importance of their hypotheses to the reader. Generally, no new points of data or citations should be introduced in the conclusion.

Reviewing the hypotheses as well as the main supporting arguments is the principal goal in this paragraph; future considerations for the issue might be mentioned during the conclusion as well. 

Included at the end of the essay is a list of citations denoting the sources used to support the hypotheses throughout the work. This keeps the writer’s argument transparent, as the methods by which it was crafted are laid bare. Additionally, it also gives due credit to the researchers whose contributions to the field made the essay possible.