About this Resource
Productive reading
Writing effectively
Who are you trying to convince?
Putting yourself in your assessor’s place
Identifying explicit criteria underlying audience feedback
Looking for feedback on what you are doing well and what needs improving
Feedback prompt list: reinforcing the good and avoiding the weak
Identifying the implicit criteria underlying audience feedback
Expanding what you learn from audience feedback
Familiarising yourself with the official criteria for assessment
Learning systematically from audience feedback
Learning from your writing for formative and summative assessment
Formative and summative assessment in writing for academic presentation
Criteria for academic presentation and developing a convincing argument
Comparing criteria for academic publication and assessing students’ work
Who needs convincing if your work is to get published in an academic journal?
Inside an academic journal editor’s world
Getting to grips with academic journal criteria for acceptance
Building your sense of audience: an interview with a journal editor
Top tips for postgraduate and doctoral research students who aspire to get published
Arguing convincingly
Mapping your field
Literature reviewing
Reviewing the literature systematically
Developing proposals

Who are you trying to convince?

Much of the academic writing you do as a postgraduate or research student (or as an academic researcher) isn’t just for you. You are often writing for someone else. You’ve got an audience to satisfy!

Writing as part of the two-way process of academic discourse means writing to be read by others. You produce your written account of some aspect of your studies for your assessors. They read it critically and assess it, typically with reference to specified criteria, to see what you have learned. You may then receive verbal or written feedback indicating how well your work has met these criteria. Feedback may be designed to help you improve your account, perhaps given during a tutorial or sent to you as written annotations on your draft. But it may be designed to let you know how well your submitted work has met the assessment criteria, as with your examination grade or the verbal report you receive on your thesis at the end of the viva examination.

So academic writing for assessment is never just about what you have to say on a management or research methods topic. It is always also about demonstrating to the critical readers making up your audience that your work has met their assessment criteria. Typically, the criteria require you to communicate a convincing argument about the topic at hand. Therefore, before you start on a piece of writing for assessment, it’s worth making sure that you know:

  • who the people are that make up your projected audience – for postgraduate or research students this means the tutors, supervisors or examiners who will assess your work;
  • what are their expectations of your writing - the criteria for assessment;
  • how to fulfil their expectations - by ensuring that your written account meets the assessment criteria that they will be using as their basis for judging your work