Academic Writing

Academic Writing
  • Language: adopt formal style and tone, and be clear and concise; 
  • Structure: your work should be structured in a coherent and logical way;
  • References: always cite your sources.


Work Projects: Where do I start?

1. Identify and develop your topic

Once you have framed your research think about important keywords, subjects, and sources that will lead you to the results you need. Write them down so that you can use them when researching.

2. Find background information

Look up your keywords in the periodical databases and note any other terms that might be useful. Note any relevant items in the bibliographies at the end of encyclopedia articles, journal articles, or course provided resources. Additional background information may be found in your lecture notes, textbooks, and reserve readings.

3. Use the library catalog to find books and media

Use guided keyword searching to find materials by topic or subject. Print or write down the citation (author, title, etc.) and the location information (call number and library). Note the circulation status. When you pull the book from the shelf, scan the bibliography for additional sources.

4. Use library databases to find scientific articles.

Start with Nova SBE Discovery, a resource that can search multiple periodical resources at once. Pay attention to what databases have the most relevant content and then move your search to the individual database for best-searching flexibility.

5. Find Internet resources

Remember the three steps when evaluating a website: 1. Who said it? 2. When did they say it? How did they know?

6. Evaluate what you find

Depending on how much you have you may need to broaden or narrow your search. Our librarians can help you with this process. You can also view some search techniques for our online periodical resources on our Search Tips page.

7. Cite what you find using a standard format

Give credit where credit is due. By citing your work you are demonstrating the resources you have used in your research and are allowing others to duplicate your research so that they can easily find the same material.

These steps are adapted from Cornell University’s 7 Steps of the Research Process