Briefs: 51 completed
I have worked as a researcher, computer programmer, database manager, website designer, in health and social care work, teaching (lecturing at FE and degree level) and am currently studying for a PhD which also involves teaching, marking essays, invigilating exams etc
UCNW Bangor (North Wales)
Having the experience of marking essays means that I can spot the common mistakes and know what sort of essay will get what grade and what is expected. I get batches of 40 at a time, and can see clumsy plagiarism easily. I think this makes me a better essay writer.
My skills include: Writing, research, copy editing, marking and assessment, computer programming.
I've been writing for All Answers since 2005.
A good writer can produce good writing on time and within the remit that was requested. A good piece of writing should be clear, concise, to the point and within the wordcount. An essay or story should have a structure where there is a beginning: introduction; a middle: the meat of the piece; and an end: a summary of the main points. With fiction, the primary purpose is to entertain, but it may also inform and educate. With non-fiction the primary purpose is to inform and educate, but it may also entertain. A piece of academic writing should be well referenced and objective, should not contain the author's opinions or any hidden agenda and should stand up to the scrutiny of peers. Experiments should be described with clarity so that they may be reproduced, data should be valid and references as recent as possible within the field. References should be academic books and journals rather than website unless for example government standards or if the website is specifically requested.
The academic writer should address the question in an intelligent manner without jargon. Acronyms and technical words should be written in full and explained the first time they appear. The arguments and debates should be competently presented with any new material being analysed in the light of previous research. The academic should work within the confines and conventions of their institution and subject area. The piece of work should attempt to answer the given question and also stimulate further enquiry. It should add to the body of theory within the discipline, or in the case of literature reviews should draw out the salient debates into a coherent whole.
The good writer will develop his or her own style, but in academic writing this style would not be overpowering and detract from the presentation of the material. The writer should be able to follow the conventional format of papers, essays and projects but not be so dry as to bore the reader. This is a fine balance but may be achieved through practice. The good writer will read a lot within and outside of their genre. The writer who does not read extensively is working blind and making the process unnecessarily difficult. The academic writer will read journal papers to gain a feel for style and read widely within their area to keep abreast of current research. The good writer enjoys reading and writing and may find they are compelled to do so.
Often a good writer will be asked to assess other people's work, either in a teaching situation or as a peer reviewer. This is a validation of their expertise and will help with their career as well as helping the people whose writing they review. In summary, the necessary skills for a good writer are the ability to research, to present information in an accessible way and to review and edit their own work and the work of others. The usual business skills such as time management also apply.
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