So, it’s summer again. The World Cup is only one day away and many of the Edge Hill students have gone home for a well-earned break. However, if you are a Nursing student, then it’s very much business as usual! Especially for our new April intake, who are getting ready to submit their first assignment on the 11th July.

Or you may be a new Fastrack student, keen to develop your academic writing skills ready for that September start. So where do you start? Read on for our top five tips…

1. Analyse your question – break it down into the key concepts and for each of those concepts, develop a range of keywords to search on. This stage is vital to you being able to find good, academic material. Don’t skimp on this part!

Click here for our guide to starting a search strategy.

2. Plan, plan, plan. Someone once said – fail to plan, plan to fail and this is very true when it comes to academic writing.

An essay plan makes you decide what’s going to be in your essay before you write it, so your essay will have perfect structure and read in a logical order. You need an introduction and a conclusion and each argument should have its own paragraph.

3. Research your topic. Check out the library catalogue and Discovermore to get started. Check out your librarian’s subject pages for more database to try and for some useful websites.

For the Health students try here:

4. Incorporate critical analysis into your writing. Not sure what that is? Look here for more information. This  guide gives a great explanation, which incorporates football – just in time for the World Cup again…

5. Reference all your sources. Don’t write an amazing essay, only to throw away marks with poor referencing. Our Harvard guide is available to download and we also have help for other referencing styles. If in doubt, ask a Librarian or an Academic Skills Advisor. We are happy to look over your references and point out any problems, or give you a hand with that one tricky reference that is flummoxing you!

If all else fails, check out the LS essay checklist – if you can tick most of these off, then you’re on the right lines:

And if you are still struggling, come to the 1st floor of the library and book a 1-2-1 with an academic skills advisor. In a short 30 minute session, they can evaluate your work and give you some excellent tips for improving it. Remember to give yourself plenty of time to make that appointment, as our skills advisors can get very busy at times.

P.S. If you are on placement at Aintree, or maybe based in Manchester, then Iain Gannon can meet with you on site to save you the journey to Ormskirk too!