Skip to main content

Education: research guide: Academic writing

Introduction

Worried about how to write your assignments, dissertation or thesis? Don't worry! 

The best way to learn how to write well is to practice, and read other people's writing in your field. Your tutors will give you feedback as you study on your course, and as you critique what you've read you will get a feel for how education academics write. Below you will find some ideas for courses and books you might find helpful.

English for Academic Studies (non-native speakers)

The Oxford University Language Centre offers various courses on English for Academic Studies for Oxford University staff and students who are non-native speakers of English. 

This includes a year-long course on Academic Writing, covering key issues in academic writing, writing a thesis or dissertation, and writing in your field with corpora.

For students preparing to come to Oxford next year, there is a Summer Pre-Sessional English course running for 6 week during August and September.

There is also a year-long course on Communication Skills, designed to improve confidence and fluency in speaking in academic contexts.

Plagiarism

All new students in the Department of Education must attend a class on plagiarism at the beginning of the year. You can find the slides and exercises from this class on Weblearn, as well as some general advice from the university, but speak to your course tutor if you have any further questions or worries.

Online tutorials

IT Services courses

IT Services offer a variety of face-to-face courses on managing long documents. These are generally about the technical challenges of formatting, word-processing, and using Microsoft Word effectively. They vary in length and level of proficiency, so read the descriptions before booking.

For a list of relevant courses, search for 'Documents' on their courses page.

Referencing

There is no set 'department style' for referencing, but you must use an author-date style rather than a footnote style, as this is what education academics use for their journal articles. Mendeley defaults to APA 6th edition which is fine to use.

The Education Library runs classes for new MSc students on how to use Mendeley, one type of reference management software. If you have questions about that, please email education.library@bodleian.ox.ac.uk or chat to us in the library.

If you are interested in trying a different kind of reference management software, take a look at this LibGuide for more information and links to training courses you can go on. The University also has some general advice on referencing here.

Useful books