In every country, there are certain standards to be followed for writing academic papers and essays. If you are currently studying in the Australian higher education system, understanding Australian academic standards for essay and research paper writing is very important for your academic success. While academic wiring everywhere requires the same writing skills and critical thinking, there are some extra instructions regarding formatting styles and structure that we will explore in this guide.
Understanding the assignment and academic expectations in Australia
Understanding the expectation of your assignment according to Australian academic standards will make you a successful learner in the Australian education system. Whichever background you are from, you will be required to mould your learning style according to your current education system. Australian universities encourage students to become independent learners by managing your time and accessing the right resources to understand the subjects conceptually.
During the course of your studies, you will be required to do a lot of written assignments and these assignments are centred around the topics of discussion during class so your questions are always welcome as your professor wants you to develop your research by critical thinking. Understanding the lectures is the fundamental thing that will enable you to do your assignments correctly instead of just rote learning.
Planning and researching your essay or research paper in Australia
An important part of the writing process is to sharpen your research skills. This will help you understand the question in the assignment properly without any assumptions. Before starting the essay writing process, you need to properly understand the dialogue around the topic by reading what other academics are saying about it. This will help you look at the topic from all angles and then form your own ideas.
If you are having trouble finding the exact research papers or books for the essay topic, you should try using online resources to improve your essay and research paper writing skills in Australia and also search for the keywords in the essay in your university’s library or digital resources.
Developing an effective thesis statement for your essay or research paper in Australia
The thesis statement is the condensed form of the entire essay and whenever you are reading an essay or article, you are looking for a sentence to tell you about the crux of the discussion so you can decide whether you should keep reading or not. By using effective writing techniques, you can summarise your claim using only a sentence or two. Use the following tips to write your thesis statement:
- Brainstorm the topic thoroughly and use mind mapping techniques
- Use very specific language to express one main idea
Conducting a literature review for your essay or research paper in Australia
When you are doing your research for the topic, it is advised to note down the page numbers and titles of works you are coming across because you will be quoting these in the literature review. This is a crucial part of academic writing and you must understand how to write these references within the body of your essay. You have to make sure that you are using authentic published works for the topic of study. The quality of the literature review shows the breadth of your knowledge on the specific topic. For proper research paper writing, you can follow these tips for conducting a good literature review:
- For additional key sources for the literature review, look in the references section of your readings
- Google Scholar and Scopus are very useful online sources for searching the right literature
- Find connections within the main themes of the essay topic and critically analyse it
- See where the argument of the author breaks down logically
Australian academic standards require a deep understanding of the subject and strong critical thinking.
Selecting and using the appropriate referencing style for your essay or research paper in Australia
Now that you have plenty of data to discuss your idea, you need to be able to reference it properly for your university assignment. The reason why a strict system is followed among academics is to avoid plagiarism and give proper credit to the author of the essay or research paper. In order to find out which referencing style to follow, you have to look at what your university department follows for that course or you just have to follow what your professor asks you to follow. Some of the common referencing styles (e.g., APA, MLA, Harvard) followed in Australian universities are as follows:
- APA: American Psychological Association (uses and author-date style)
- Chicago: Uses footnotes at the end of the page and a bibliography at the end of the paper
- MLA: Modern Language Association of America (uses in-text citations with author and page number and references arranged in alphabetical order)
- AGLC: Australian Guide to Legal Citation (superscripted number is used to mark in text citations and reference is given to the footnote. Sometimes a references page is required at the end of the paper)
- IEEE: Numbered citation style used by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- Vancouver: Used for medical papers and follows a numbered style. Journals are quoted with their abbreviations
Avoiding plagiarism and citing sources correctly in your essay or research paper in Australia
Most students lose their marks and get a lower grade due to improper citation and referencing. Your research paper or essay should be aligned with what the rest of the students are following, otherwise it sends an impression that you have not used original ideas in the writing process. Plagiarism is considered an academic crime in Australian universities so you have to be very careful about this part of your research paper.
Using critical thinking and analysis in your essay or research paper in Australia
While writing the essay or research papers, you have to give your personal interpretation of the ideas that currently exist about the topic. When you write in a subjective manner, it will make your essay stronger. A very helpful tip for this process is to make notes while reading the other literature. The way you interpret the absorbed information will form your unique opinion and this has to follow the proper logic and theories.
Your critical thinking will be applied to all the evidence and arguments that you have read and then see their strengths and weaknesses,
Organizing and structuring your essay or research paper in Australia
After all the ideas are roughly jotted down on paper and you have a list of ideas about the topic, it is important to start forming an outline. An outline will have all the paragraphs planned out for your essay and each paragraph will have its own thesis statement as a support to the main thesis statement. When making an outline, you have to be careful not to forget the main idea and all the paragraphs have to revolve around it. Using transition words to link one paragraph to the following one will also help the reader understand what you wrote and create cohesion in the research paper. For an essay, the three main parts are:
- The introduction (contains the thesis statement)
- The body (contains all the supporting paragraphs)
- The conclusion (no new ideas should be introduced here. Only a summary and maybe a call to action would suffice)
The structure of a research paper is:
- Literature review
Editing and proofreading your essay or research paper in Australia
Even after you have written your research paper, it will still need some polishing and correction of errors by proofreading and editing. This requires a professional because you can not pick all the mistakes and arrange the essay in the format that is required. You can hire a professional proofreader for this job so that it saves your time and energy. A professional editor will also check the clarity and cohesion of your essay which a friend or word processor can not. Another way of picking your grammatical and spelling errors is to read the assignment after some days and then see it from a different angle. Most word processors can pick errors as well but they will not be able to detect errors in spellings of proper nouns and when you are using a certain referencing style. Errors in your references page can also go undetected so make sure all these things are 100% correct before submitting your assignment.
Time management strategies for essay and research paper writing in Australia
Managing your time effectively while writing an essay or research paper in Australia is an important part of surviving your time in university. Here are some tips that you can follow to complete your assignments on time:
- In order to have enough time for research and critical thinking, you have to start the assignment early even if the deadline is not close
- When you are working on the essay, make sure to set a time limit for brainstorming as it can send you down a rabbit hole of ideas
- Break down your research work into smaller tasks so that it seems manageable within small pockets of time