Books on writing
A good plan is to start your work by reading a book about academic writing.
What is science?
A scientific text consists of systematically collected knowledge, based on empirical findings. It is based in theory and displays a conscious choice of perspective. Your results should be possible to replicate and must be able to withstand critical evaluation. On our Youtube channel you can watch videos on scientific texts.
What does it mean to write an academic text?
In you essays and reports you shall present your results in an orderly manner. The text should be based on your empirical findings. You should be critical and always refer to your sources.
Types of academic texts
Academic texts can be divided into primary sources and secondary sources. Primary sources can be articles published in an academic journal, dissertations and conference papers, et cetera. Secondary sources are based on someone else’s research, for instance course books and popular science articles.
Essays and theses by students are also scientific texts.
Plan your essay
Before you start writing, make sure to outline your text. A scientific text consist of:
- Introduction – Present your subjects and define the terms. Your research question should be based on previous research. Present your theories, purpose and research questions.
- Method – Present and motivate your choice of method for data collection.
- Results – Present your findings.
- Discussion – Analyse and review your results, the basis for your conclusions.
- References – For all the sources you have used.
Here you’ll find templates for essays. Make sure you text is coherent and logical. Everything you mention in your results and discussion should be mentioned in your problem statement.
For inspiration, you can look through other essays in your field.
Objectivity and source criticism
To pass for a scholarly text, it should express a critical perspective. That means that you should be objective and avoid expressing your own opinions. On the other hand, you should be able to motivate your choices of e.g. subject, method and theory.
It is necessary to examine and evaluate the sources you use in your undergraduate thesis and other academic writings. No matter what kind of source you use, you must critically examine its relevance and accuracy.
More about source criticism.
When writing your essay, the purpose in many cases is to form new knowledge by conducting empirical studies. This will make you a part of the research community, which entails applying good research conduct as well as the principles of ethical research to your work. Read more about writing an essay and research ethics (in Swedish).
When writing an academic text, it is necessary to be distinct. It is also important to use an academic style of writing and avoid colloquial language. That does not mean that a scientific text has to be complicated. Remember to adapt your text according to who your reader is so that the reader will be able to understand.
The text should be exact, objective and controllable. Work with the structure of your text and make sure it is logical all the way through.
- Don’t forget to save your text often and make backup copies!
- Start by writing without thinking about the language. Then you can clean up your text to make it clear.
- Read other texts and analyse how they are different from each other.
- Let someone else read and comment on your text, for instance a fellow student, friend or tutor.
- Let your text rest for a while, to view it more objectively.
- When you have started writing you might want to know how to make page numbers and table of content in Word. You can find tutorials on Youtube.