The process of writing scholarly papers can be viewed as challenging because of the necessity of following a variety of rules and norms associated with academic writing. Thus, challenges can be faced not only at the stages of reviewing the literature and applying methodologies but also when composing a research paper or a thesis manuscript. These problems can be related to making the structure of a paper clear, selecting wording, as well as the appropriate voice and tone, and choosing effective grammatical constructions to represent the high level of critical thinking and writing (Hyland & Jiang, 2017). The purpose of this paper is to present the reflection on personal skill levels and writing goals and to discuss the resources and tools offered by North Central University (NCU) in order to help in research and writing processes.
Personal Reflection on Skills Levels and Writing Goals
The analysis of skills in academic writing allows for indicating some strengths and weaknesses. Strong skills include the ability to develop an effective structure of work to guarantee a clear flow of thoughts without changing ideas between sentences or paragraphs as this aspect leads to poor writing (Lambert, Lambert, & Tsukahara, 2003). Strengths are also associated with the avoidance of nominalizations and overusing passive or active voice, in spite of the fact that these errors are typical for many students (Gray, 2017; McDougall, Ornelles, & Rao, 2015). Weaknesses in writing include grammar-related problems with selecting verbs and forms of predicates to make the message clear and correct and using prepositional phrases and adverbs in the most accurate manner. Furthermore, weaknesses are associated with using signal and introductory words in complex sentences to make them sound academic. The structure of complex and long sentences is also an area for improvement because it is necessary to avoid run-on sentences and repetitions.
Three writing goals have been formulated with reference to the identified weaknesses and areas for further progress. The first goal is to improve the knowledge of grammatical constructions that are often used in scholarly writing with a focus on practicing their use. The second writing goal is to improve the use of signal words and introductory phrases typically utilized in academic writing for presenting researchers’ views, introducing findings, or comparing and contrasting ideas, for example. The knowledge of these phrases is important for making the writing process easier, and papers will sound academic and professional (Murrock, 2019). The third goal is to achieve clarity of expression to avoid the ineffective presentation of information. It is possible to reach this goal with the help of making writing concise, purposeful, and logical.
NCU Resources and Tools
The most helpful tools and resources, which are required to support a writing process, are provided by the NCU Library. This assistance includes online and face-to-face access to a range of research databases and e-books in order to find all the necessary literature for working on research papers and a thesis (North Central University, 2020). Furthermore, library professionals also provide support regarding the use of different citation styles to make referencing and citing easier. It is also possible to use various software provided by the university in order to ensure that qualitative and quantitative projects are completed correctly. In addition, a student has an opportunity to learn how to apply different research techniques, how to evaluate sources, how to format papers, and how to organize reference lists and make in-text citations to avoid plagiarism.
It is possible to state that resources and tools provided by the NCU Library are critically useful at different stages of working on any study project and academic paper, starting from searching for literature and ending with an editing process. One of the most important services to improve the work on a thesis is the provision of research and writing workshops and training. While referring to the guidance of librarians and tutors, it is possible to proofread and edit papers to ensure there are no grammar and stylistic mistakes in works. These services are important because students often experience difficulties when proofreading their papers as they cannot effectively identify and correct mistakes (Strobl et al., 2019). The consultation of professional editors is vital at the final stage of working on research papers.
Students need to have developed skills in scholarly or academic writing because they work on many research projects during their studying process, and they are expected to demonstrate the knowledge of high-level writing when working on a thesis. Therefore, much attention should be paid to training and developing skills in writing with a focus on learning the specifics of an academic research process. The reflection on personal skills in writing is important to determine weaknesses in this area that can potentially affect the quality of the final research project. In order to avoid the negative impacts of underdeveloped skills in writing, it has been important to set three particular goals: to improve the use of grammatical constructions, to improve the use of specific academic phrases, and to achieve the clarity of expression in papers.
- Gray, G. C. (2017). Academic voice in scholarly writing. Qualitative Report, 22(1), 1-6.
- Hyland, K., & Jiang, F. K. (2017). Is academic writing becoming more informal? English for Specific Purposes, 45, 40-51.
- Lambert, V. A., Lambert, C. E., & Tsukahara, M. (2003). Basic tips about writing a scholarly manuscript. Nursing & health sciences, 5(1), 1-2.
- McDougall, D., Ornelles, C., & Rao, K. (2015). A primer on the pathway to scholarly writing: Helping nascent writers to unlearn conditioned habits. College Student Journal, 49(2), 262-270.
- Murrock, C. J. (2019). Innovative short group writing assignments to enhance scholarly writing skills. Journal of Nursing Education, 58(1), 61-62.
- North Central University. (2020). About the library. Web.
- Strobl, C., Ailhaud, E., Benetos, K., Devitt, A., Kruse, O., Proske, A., & Rapp, C. (2019). Digital support for academic writing: A review of technologies and pedagogies. Computers & Education, 131, 33-48.