It is important that you are familiar with the points below and that you bear them in mind while you are drafting an academic paper/dissertation. What’s more, when you have finished your paper, you may think your work is ready to be handed in. However, you should put it away for a few days and take some distance from it. Then go over it once more and check out the list below.
You can also ask a classmate to read it, so that you can have second opinion about your work. This will also give you the opportunity to introduce improvements, if necessary, before handing the paper to your professor.
Similarly, it could also well be that it deals with only one aspect of the topic and offers, therefore, an `incomplete approach´. You must consider that in a paper you are showing all your knowledge about the subject. It is not a question of repeating a lecturer´s notes but developing your own ideas about the topic and putting them down on paper.
In the anglosaxon higher education system, you are expected to contribute your own ideas and to have critical approach to any piece of writing rather than repeating the notes you have taken in class
The writer of an academic paper has to establish the connection among the different textual elements in a text, otherwise it might be the case that the reader does not discover the link among those elements or he does not relate them the way you would like it to be.
Cohesion in a text will be achieved if you use discourse markers/ connectors properly and the ideas in the text are chronologically presented If the ideas in a text are coherent the rest of formal elements in the text will fall into place and help to give it more cohesion. You should try and avoid repetition of ideas and the use of unnecessary words. Go for rich and varied vocabulary.
Hence, the style you use must be formal and you must have an eye for possible register mistakes. You should avoid vocabulary that is too familiar and as you will have imagined, slang is definitely out of place. Similarly, you should also avoid the opposite. That’s the use of too many words or expressions that are not in use any more and that may hide the meaning behind your words.
Clarity and concision are the rules of thumb in a good academic paper.
Remember that spelling and punctuation conventions can vary from language to language. You should find out about those conventions if you are writing in a language that is not your own.
Sometimes these mistakes will make it difficult for the reader, in this case your tutor, to understand what you mean, which not only causes a poor impression about the writer but also has a direct influence on the final mark. It is convenient that you ask a classmate to read through your paper so that he can make suggestions about it and point out possible mistakes you have overlooked.
You can also paraphrase a writer’s words. Paraphrasing does not mean to change some words from the original source but to express those ideas in your own words. If you do, it is advisable that you compare your version and the original to see that the similarities are minimal. Yet, some academic institutions frown upon it and it is not a good idea at all that you constantly paraphrase ideas by other authors.