Tips on Academic Writings

Being a graduate student for the second time wasn’t easy for me, i need to have a serious time management problem that needs to be solved, especially because of work. Nevertheless, I am going use my 7 to 9 pm time to attend corporate communication class and keep my class notes posted inside my blog. You can see the previous notes within “class notes” category. I hope readers can also learn something without attending the class itself. Below is my notes on Mr. Putut Widjanarko’s matriculation class on Academic Writing. Well, Happy Reading!

“Being a graduate student is like becoming all of the Seven Dwarves. In the beginning you’re Dopey and Bashful. In the middle, you are usually sick (Sneezy), tired (Sleepy), and irritable (Grumpy). But at the end, they call you Doc, and then you’re Happy.” Ronald T. Azuma

Choose your topic.

  • Pick a topic that you are most interested in. It will be easier to write if you have particular interest in the topic.
  • Pick a specific and managable topic.
  • You might also choose the most familiar with you, because you might have special access to the topic.àit will save time, coz you don’t have much time as “part time” graduate students.
  • The challenge is to put it in the communication perspectives you learn in the class.

Think big, at least for the start…

  • Get the big picture to start. Wikipedia is a good start, but you can’t use it for your reference.
  • Check Google Scholar, Google BookSearch, and Gigapedia.
  • KITLV search engine will help you to locate references specific to Indonesian studies.
  • SASI (The southeast asian serial index)
  • More on this later………

Write an outline, don’t get lost.

  • An unorganized paper will give you a bad grade. You can avoid it by writing an outline.
  • A good outline will serve as the roadmap for your paper. Making a mind mapping is also a good strategy to begin with.
  • You might discuss your outline with your lecturer to see whether you are moving into the right direction.

Support your paper with sufficient evidence

  • Use credible sources: journal articles, statistics, books, authoritative persons, etc. Use the most updated sources.
  • Be sure not to rely too heavily on examples. Use examples to ilustrate.
  • Do not list the resources you did not use in the paper in your Bibliography.
  • Follow and be consistent to a style of writing (APA, MLA, others)

Write a good introduction

  • Try attract your readers with interesting facts, statistics, anecdots.
  • Include also in this part your thesis statement or problem.
  • Be sure that the readers will get what you are about to explain in the rest of the paper.

Summarize your paper

  • Be sure that what you have mentioned in your problem statement will be briefly answered in this part
  • Summary is not a copy and paste of the discussion.

Never plagiarize(!!!!)

  • Plagiarism is the biggest sin in the academic world.
  • Copy and paste from the internet is very easy to track.
  • Experienced lecturers can easilyrecognize the possible plagiarism. Remember, they have been many years in the business and have read probably hundreds of papers.

Check your paper before submitting it.

  • Make sure your paper is neat.
  • Check your grammar, spelling, typo errors. Underestimate these things make your paper looks poorly written
  • Revise your paper if necessary and if you have time.


ps: Thanks to Mr. Putut Widjanarko on your enlightenment last night.

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