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Academic Writing: Planning Your Writing

Planning your writing 

Before you begin the writing process, it is a good idea to make sure you understand your task and have a good idea about how you will manage your time as you work through your assignment.

Planning is useful because it can help you organise your thoughts and prioritise the way you present information.
By planning your writing:

  • It is more likely that you will end up with a coherent argument
  • You are enabled to work out a logical structure and end point for your writing before you start the process
  • You won't have to do all of your complex thinking about arguments, structure, etc. at the same time you are trying to find the right words to express your ideas
  • You are more likely to become committed to sticking to the point

Also known as mind maps, this method involves getting all of the main ideas down on a page with key words and phrases around your central question.  This method is flexible and creative- you don't have to worry about putting your ideas in order, it's more important to get all of your ideas out first.  For more information, have a look at the video below:

Bullet points / Linear Plans
For some students, creating lists or bullet points is a more effective way to plan their writing.  This method may include a brief outline of the main points for each theme of the writing, or a more detailed plan with sub-points and a note of the evidence to support each point (including sources, page numbers, etc.).  Using outlines or bulleted lists will allow you to see how ideas follow on from each other. 

The following tabs show some examples of essay plans associated with using a linear plan:

Add the links here
For further information, these external links may be useful:

Planning and writing assignments (Nottingham)

Planning and writing (Oxford) 

1:1 bookable appointments can be made with your Academic Skills Advisers for your subject area.

Students from Ipswich can book two appointments per week (if you are a student from the Learning Network, please contact your library) - 

  • up to 1 hour with an Academic Skills Advisor

Appointments are scheduled in 30 minute slots.  

Schedule an Appointment