Preparing for successful academic writing
2.8 What gains marks
As you have learned from the previous videos, writing and critical thinking are interconnected: good writing starts with good thinking. Good critical thinking, therefore, generally makes the difference between getting a higher or lower mark in your assignments (Cottrell, 2013).
In your academic work, your lecturers will be looking to see if you can:
Make connections between ideas, concepts and theories.
|Evaluate your beliefs and the evidence supporting them.|
|Break information down and put it back together in different ways.||Identify your own biases and the limitations of your knowledge.|
|Look at issues from different perspectives and recognise patterns and contradictions.||Develop and articulate your own view on an issue.|
|Identify the purpose and significance of information, and how it fits into the ‘bigger picture’.||Suggest and evaluate solutions to problems.|
Overall, your lecturers will expect you to be intellectually independent and avoid accepting knowledge unquestioningly. No matter how 'authoritative' you consider a source or author to be, you'll need to guard against taking information at face value by breaking ideas down and judging their strength and value. A good way to start is to pay attention to fine detail and look at things from different perspectives.