• sultanco1

My Academic Writing Toolbox

At TU Delft, doctoral researchers are offered several useful courses to improve their academic communication skills. I have attended a few courses on academic presentation and writing in the first year of my PhD. In this post, I would like to share with you a handy toolbox that I prepared for myself during the past year.

Paper and Paragraph Structure

Depending on your research, you might follow a different structure in your article. What I usually do is to check the journals which I possibly submit my paper and take a quick look at the top-cited articles in my field.

Here is a nice e-learning module from Elsevier Researcher Academy on structuring academic papers:

Another important aspect of academic writing is the paragraph structure. You can think of each paragraph as a unit of one idea. You start with a "topic sentence" and support your arguments with body sentences and, finally, conclude or link your thought in the last sentence. It is advised to keep the paragraph length within four to six sentences.

Take a look at here for more information...

Vocabulary and academic language

I am not a native English speaker nor an experienced scientific researcher. Thus, I need to expand my vocabulary. I am currently writing my first article, and these are the tools I use quite often:

  • I make a list of commonly used words and phrases in the field as I read other papers. It helps me develop a consistent language in my own paper.

  • If you are looking for synonyms, check this website.

  • I use the online version of the Cambridge Dictionary. It gives you example sentences, synonyms and pronunciation of the words.

  • Have you heard about Academic Phrase Bank yet? I am sure you will love this website.

  • Sometimes you might want to soften your language for the claims you are not sure. Learn the hedging language:


Maybe the most important issue in academic writing is plagiarism. After taking the Academic English course, I notice that I was wrongly paraphrasing when I cite other articles. Here is a very informative source from MIT that our lecturer shared in one of the classes.




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