Are you having trouble receiving good reviews for your writing? If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Improving your writing skills takes practice and patience, but the payoff is definitely worth it.
If you’re like most persons, you may feel unprepared and uncertain when it comes to writing especially essays and research paper. But don’t worry – with a few simple tips, you can improve your writing skills in no time. In this post, I’ll provide some helpful advice on how to approach writing, particularly relating to essay or research paper. So if you’re looking to improve writing skills, keep reading to you can skillfully craft a more persuasive essay or research paper.
Notably, an essay is typically shorter and more to the point than a research paper. A research paper covers a topic in depth and may be several pages long, while an essay is usually only a few paragraphs.
Main functions of writing essays or research papers are:
The main functions of written work are:
– To persuade
A persuasive essay is written with the intention of convincing the reader to agree with a particular point of view. It will often present an argument or opinion in an effort to sway the reader’s opinion on a issue.
– To inform
Informative writing educates the reader about a topic. It might provide background information, present new facts or statistics.
– To explain
An explanatory essay explains why something happened. It might discuss the causes of an event or situation, or the results of it.
– To entertain
An entertaining essay aims to please and amuse the reader. It might tell a story, provide jokes or humorous examples, or use other devices to keep the reader engaged.
– To explore
Exploratory writing raises questions about a topic, rather than providing answers. It might discuss different interpretations of a text or event, and try to find common ground between them.
Tips to improve writing skills
Writing is a skill that is required in many contexts throughout life. However, its importance is often underestimated.
The ability to communicate clearly and effectively through writing can help to promote success in school and in the workplace.
Here are some tips to help improve your essay writing skills:
1. Identify your audience and purpose
Before you start writing, it’s important to think about who your audience is and what you want to achieve with your essay. Are you trying to persuade them of something?
Convince them to take action? Or simply inform them about a topic? Your answer to this question will help determine the tone and approach you need to take with your essay or research paper.
Tips for identifying audience and purpose
– Consider who will be reading your essay. Will they be familiar with the topic, or will you need to provide background information?
– What is your goal in writing this article? Are you trying to persuade, inform, or entertain them?
– Keep your audience and purpose in mind as you write, and make sure that everything you include is relevant to them.
2 Brainstorm, plan, and structure your article
Before you start writing, it’s important to take the time to brainstorm, plan, and structure your essay or research paper to improve your writing.
This will make the writing process much quicker and easier, and give you a better chance of producing a strong and convincing essay.
A well-organized essay is easier to follow, and will flow more smoothly. Spend some time brainstorming before you start writing, and make sure each paragraph has a clear purpose.
When planning your essay, consider the following structure to write better.
Sections of an well-structured essay
1. A clear title/thesis statement
Start with a title or thesis statement that is concise and easy to understand. It’s important to start with a strong thesis statement, as this will make your essay more well-rounded and convincing.
A good thesis statement will be specific and address a particular issue.
The introduction of an essay or research paper should provide background information on the topic and state the main argument of the essay.
3. Body paragraphs
The body paragraphs should support the main argument of the essay with concrete evidence and examples. Each paragraph of an essay or research paper should focus on a single point, and should be clearly organized.
The conclusion of an essay or research paper should restate the main argument of the essay and summarize the evidence and examples used to support it.
It should also provide a final perspective on the issue, and possibly suggest further areas of research.
Any sources used in the essay or research paper should be properly referenced. This could include books, articles, websites, etc.
3. Make a clear and strong argument
Your essay should have a clear argument running through it, from beginning to end.
Every paragraph should contribute to this argument, by introducing new evidence or explaining how previous evidence applies.
An essay or research paper needs to be well-reasoned and logical throughout, in order to convince the reader of your point of view.
4. Use evidence and examples
An essay is more persuasive if it includes concrete evidence and examples to support your argument.
This could be data from research you’ve done, or real-life examples, quotes, statistics and expert opinions. Providing evidence gives your argument more weight and makes it more convincing.
5. Acknowledge counterarguments to improve writing skills
In any persuasive essay and research papers, it’s important to anticipate and refute possible counterarguments to improve your writing.
This will make your argument more well-rounded and convincing. It will also show that you have considered both sides of the issue before coming to a conclusion.
Tips for refuting counterarguments
– Acknowledge the validity of the counterargument.
– Explain why the counterargument is being discredited.
– Use evidence and examples to support your position.
6. Use strong language to write better
The language you use in your essay should be clear, concise, and persuasive. Avoid any ambiguity or vagueness in your writing, as this will only weaken your argument.
Strong language is often associated with negative connotations. However, when used in the context of writing an essay or research paper, strong language can be incredibly effective.
When employed correctly, strong language can help to add emphasis and clarity to your work. It can also make your argument more persuasive by helping to stir emotion in the reader.
Example of strong language in essay writing
– “The evidence shows that X is the case.”
– “There is no reason to believe that Y is true.”
– “We can conclude that Z is the most likely outcome.”
7. Be confident to improve writing skills
It’s important to sound confident and convincing especially when writing a persuasive essay.
This means being assertive and clear in your language, and making sure that your argument comes across as confident, rather than hesitant or uncertain.
Sentences such as “I think” or “Maybe” weaken your argument by making it sound like you are unsure of yourself.
8. Use persuasive techniques to write better
There are a number of persuasive techniques that you can use in your essay to make it more convincing and establish your credibility. These include using emotive language, rhetorical devices, metaphors and similes.
9. Edit and proofread your essay to improve writing
To improve your writing, always edit and proofread it thoroughly before submission. Check for any grammar or spelling errors, and make sure that your argument is clear and well-organized.
Editing and proofreading your essay will help to ensure that it is as strong and convincing as possible.
A fresh pair of eyes can work wonders, so consider having someone else read your written work.
10. Read widely and critically to improve writing skills
The more you read, the better your understanding of how effective writing works. As such, try to read a variety of different genres, and pay attention to the style and structure of the writing to improve your skills.
11. Pay attention to your grammar and vocabulary
Clarity is essential in effective writing, so make sure your sentences are well constructed and free of errors.
To write better, use a variety of different words to express yourself, and consult a dictionary or thesaurus if you’re unsure of the meaning of a particular word.
12. Be careful with the use of acronyms and abbreviations
When in doubt, spell out the full word or phrase. If you do use an acronym or abbreviation, make sure it is defined the first time it is used.
Be consistent with the use of acronyms and abbreviations throughout your essay. Consider including a list of abbreviations
13. Use active voice to improve writing skills
Active voice is when the subject of a sentence is performing the action. For example, “The professor graded the exams” is in active voice.
Passive voice is when the subject of a sentence is being acted upon. For example, “The exams were graded by the professor” is in passive voice. Active voice is usually more clear and concise than passive voice.
14. Be concise to write better
Repetition can be a good thing when you’re trying to make a point, but too much repetition can make your writing boring. As such, to improve your writing skills, avoid repeating the same words or phrases.
15. Keep language formal to improve writing skills
In general, it’s best to use formal language in academic writing. This means using specific and concrete words, and staying away from slang or jargon.
Also it’s best to write in the third person (using words like “he,” “she,” and “it”), rather than first person (“I,” “we,” and “our”). For instance, “The data supports the hypothesis” is more formal than “We found that the data supported our hypothesis.”
16. Use various sentence types when writing
Try to vary the lengths and types of your sentences to make your writing more interesting.
Notably, complex sentences (which have two clauses) and compound sentences (which have two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction) can add variety to your writing.
17. Connect your ideas to write better
Use signposting language: Signposting language is words and phrases that help guide the reader through your argument.
For example, “first,” “second,” “in addition,” “furthermore,” and “however” are all signposting words. You can also use signposting phrases, like “for instance” or “as an example.”
Using signposting language will help to keep your essay organized and make it easier for the reader to follow your argument.
18. Analyze/actively request feedback
One of the best ways to improve your writing is to get feedback from someone who can give you an objective perspective.
If possible, ask a friend or professor to read your essay and give you feedback. If you’re not able to do that, try to find someone who can give you constructive criticism.
19. Change writing style to improve writing
For example, if you are writing a narrative essay, it can be helpful to focus on telling a story that is personal and meaningful to you.
If you are writing an expository essay, on the other hand, your goal may be to provide information or explain a concept.
20. Cite your sources to write better articles
If you use ideas or information from other sources, you need to give credit to those sources.
This is called citing your sources. Failure to cite your sources can result in plagiarism, which is a form of academic dishonesty.
When you’re writing an academic essay, make sure to cite any sources that you use.
Referencing tips to improve writing skills
– When you’re referencing a source, include the author’s last name, the year the source was published, and the page number (if you’re quoting from a book). For example: (Smith, 2017, p. 23).
– If you’re referencing a website, include the URL.
– If you’re referencing a lecture or class presentation, include the name of the presenter and the date.
– Make sure to be consistent with the format you use for citations. For example, if you’re using MLA style, make sure all of your citations and reference list are in MLA format.
– Use a reference manager like Zotero or Mendeley to keep track of your citations. This will make it easier to format your citations and create a bibliography.
-Do both in-text citations and a bibliography. An in-text citation is when you cite a source directly after using it in your essay. A bibliography is a list of all the sources you used in your essay.
21. Stick to the word count
If your essay has a word limit, make sure to stay within that limit. Going too much over or under the word limit may result in a lower grade.
If you’re having trouble staying within the word limit, try to find ways to shorten your essay without sacrificing the quality of your argument.
Usually, 10 % over or under the word limit is acceptable. Remember that your reference list isn’t included in your word count.
22. Keep writing, even for fun
The more you write, the better you’ll get at it. So even if you’re not writing for a class, try to find ways to incorporate writing into your everyday life.
Write in a journal, start a blog, or just jot down your thoughts in a notebook. The more practice you get, the better your writing will become.
Avoid common mistakes to improve writing skills
Common mistakes to avoid when writing essays include:
- Misunderstand the requirements of the assignment.
- Starting your essay late and not leaving yourself enough time for completion
- Writing your essay without a plan.
- Not keeping track of your sources and not citing them correctly. Consider using a referencing guide or tool.
- Not checking your essay for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors before you submit it.
- Not having a strong conclusion
If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to writing a persuasive essay.
Final words on tips to improve writing skills
Although this list is not exhaustive, following these tips should help you produce essays and research papers that are more clearly written, organized, and concise.
Remember to take your time when writing essays and to carefully proofread for grammar mistakes and clarity.
When you feel confident about your essay-writing skills, you will be able to communicate your ideas more effectively both in writing and in person.
Do you have any other tips to share or questions about essay writing? Please share them in the comments below.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2022) Essay