Writing assignments at UWA

Writing assignments at UWA Words: 1177

Video’s description: Writing assignments

When you’re writing your first uni assignment or your fourteenth, it’s good to know that writing uni assignments doesn’t have to be hard. A few basic steps make writing easy. These steps will improve your learning, boost your grades, and save you time.

So here are three top tips for writing University assignments:

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  1. Answer the question;
  2. Develop a position;
  3. Use a TDR structure.

Let’s start with answering the question. At uni assignment responses need to be relevant to the question that’s been said. When your response answers all aspects of the question you’ll get maximum marks for your effort. So start any assignment by spending a few minutes analyzing the question you’ve been asked.

1. Answer the question

There are three main components to any assignment question:

  • The first is task words. Task words tell you how to approach the question. Here the task is to critically evaluate which involves two things – critical thinking and making a judgment. To do this you need to take different viewpoints into consideration and look at the topic from a number of different angles, discussing positive aspects, negative aspects and anything unknown.
  • The second component of the question – our topic words. Topic words indicate what you’re supposed to write about. Here the topic is the government’s stance. Understanding the topic helps you focus your research.
  • The final component of the question is the scope. Scope words limit or restrict your focus even further. Here your focus should only be on the government’s position on climate change, not its position on other topics. Taking the time to break down assignment questions this way saves you time because it focuses your research effort on only what’s relevant to the question at hand. This way you’ll avoid making the assignment question bigger or harder than it needs to be.

2. Develop a position

After you’ve broken the question down into its components so that you know what approach to take and what you should focus on. The next step is to develop a position on the topic. Now you might think a position is the same as an opinion, but the two are in fact quite different.

An academic position differs from an everyday opinion in three main ways

  • First, an academic position is based on evidence that can be verified. This means that wherever possible, evidence should include the results of research studies and you should reference the sources of your ideas. References allow your readers to check regional sources for themselves
  • Second, an academic position should be impersonal and objective. To do this you need to distance yourself from the topic. You need to consider the facts without bias applying logic and reasoning to draw your conclusions, and you should examine viewpoints from a variety of different sources.
  • Finally, an academic position requires qualifying ideas and being precise. This means two things using statistics like 87%, when these are available rather than categorical statements like frequently or always and including exact measurements, such as four and a half hours instead of vague terms like long or short.

Using the same example we discussed earlier here’s how you might develop your position.

  • First, gather evidence keeping track of your sources so that you can reference them later. Appropriate sources for this question would be government reports and statements, research findings and statements by recognized scientists, comments from leading authorities and industrial groups and comparative data from other countries.
  • Second, adopt a neutral objective approach when examining this evidence. To do this you’d need to forget your own preconceived ideas on climate change and focus instead on understanding established scientific facts and the logical arguments of scientific authorities. While you would take many perspectives into account you would also be wary of the potential bias of particular groups that may have a vested interest in putting forward a particular view.
  • And third, make sure you note any relevant statistics and empirical data that relates to the topic. This allows you to check the claims other people make about climate change.

3. Use a TDR structure

When you’ve assembled your ideas and developed a position the next step in completing a university assignment is using an effective structure when you write. We can think of this as a TDR structure G here means topic D means development and R means Restatement. If you look at the different parts of a well-written University assignment you’ll see that it looks like this:

tdr structure

At the simplest level, writers begin any assignment by introducing the topic. The topic includes a statement of the writer’s position. It’s a good idea to also mention the main subtopics you’re going to discuss in your assignment. In the development section of your assignment also known as the body, you discuss each subtopic in the order mentioned in the introduction. It is here that you include details that support your position. Finally, at the end of your assignment, you restate your position and provide conclusions that relate to the subtopics you’ve discussed. Beginnings and endings are very important because that’s where people remember most. Both should have a ‘wow’ factor. That is they should capture attention emphasizing the significance and importance of the topic under discussion. We can see how the structure makes writing easier if we return to our earlier assignment question. In the introduction, you could begin with a powerful statement of the real effects of climate change. You might follow this by highlighting the importance of appropriate government responses. You could then state your inform position on these responses. Finally, you could outline the way in which you’ve organized your argument. In the development section, you would provide details to support your position you’d organize these by subtopic. Subtopics could include, for example, the government stance analysis of the stance taking into account scientific data, comparisons of this stance to that of other countries, criticisms from the opposition and industry groups and so on. In other words, each subtopic would introduce a different perspective on the topic and further your overall argument. Finally, in your conclusion, you could begin with a summary of the key points you’ve made. You might then reiterate the significance of appropriate government response .you could then remind the reader of real-world implications of inaction. And to finish off you might then suggest four areas for further research. This topic development Restatement structure applies to many types of assignments including most essays, reports, thesis chapters and even individual sections of an academic paper. A really simple way to think about the TDR structure is to say what you’re going to say, say it and say what you said.