Is Your Academic Writing Outstanding?
Microsoft Word Can Help!

Have you heard that most people only use five to ten per cent of their brain capacity?

Whether that is true or not - I do know that many people use only a small number of the features of Microsoft Word.

How do I know? I have met them in my long career in IT and academia.

Educators, students, managers and administrators - intelligent people who do not use Word in the most productive way.

Are you one of them?

Do any, some or all of the following apply to you:

  • wasting valuable time trying to work out how to do something in Word
    (e.g. creating a Table of Contents)
  • taking longer to do something than it should because you do not know the quickest way of doing it
    (e.g. applying a particular formatting style)
  • producing lower quality work
    (e.g. having a header that does not change in different sections)
  • introducing errors
    (e.g. page numbers not automatically updating)?

Is Word stressing you out and frustrating you?

Or maybe you just know you can improve your academic writing if you used Word more efficiently.


Can Your Word Skills Make a Difference to Your Academic Success?

Yes - it can!

It could be the difference between:

  • a pass or fail
  • credit or a pass
  • distinction or credit
  • high distinction or distinction
  • your paper being accepted in a journal.

 The following feedback is for a Masters thesis (that I edited):

  • "the content is excellent" - the student had good Word skills and so used their valuable time on research, analysis and presenting their findings instead wasting valuable time finding out how to use Word
  • "the thesis was very professionally presented" - good use of Word enabled the thesis to be presented  in the best academic writing style.

The grade for this thesis was a High Distinction - undoubtedly, this student is set for a long and successful career.

On the other hand ...

I personally know of a student who lost marks because of including an entry in the reference list but not citing it in the body of the paper.

This could have been easily checked using Word.


How Does Word Help?

Microsoft Word has many features important in academic writing.

These include creating, maintaining and formatting:

  •  page numbers
  •  a title page
  •  a table of contents and a table of figures
  •  headers and footers
  •  footnotes and endnotes
  •  citations
  • a reference list or bibliography
  • indexes

 and many other features that can help your academic writing.

Word can also assist in writing to the required academic standard such as APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard and Turabian.

This site aims to help you use Microsoft Word to improve your academic writing and to effectively follow the academic writing standard of your institution.



Academic Writing Standards

Students, researchers and academics are required to write according to academic writing principles, writing conventions and standards.

APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard and Turabian are well known academic writing styles - but there are several others.

You should be familiar with academic writing principles, conventions and standards are. If you are not - find out!

Often educational institutions will provide advice - either through academic writing courses and/or literature. And there are many texts and online resources that can help.

But you may be not so familiar how MS Word can help with your writing.

Academic writing is important to your success.


Summary

Microsoft Word can be a powerful tool that assists you in many ways with your academic writing.

The time and effort put into learning and using these features will:

  • help you follow the academic writing standards of your university, college or school, for example, Microsoft Word will create easily an accurate and up to date Table of Contents
  • automatically format your writing as required, for example, Times New Roman, size 12, double spaced
  • save you time, for example, instead of creating the Table of Contents by typing each entry and page number (I have seen it done), let MS Word generate the Table of Contents
  • help you present your work in an academic writing style that makes you look professional
  • help you structure your work, for example, using the Outline feature to get an overview of your work
  • give you Microsoft Word skills that will be valuable if you continue a career in academia or have a career outside of academia.

Note: I use the word "help" a lot. Microsoft Word will help you with your academic writing. You still have to do the planning, research, analysis, thinking and writing.

However, knowing how to make best use of Microsoft Word will greatly "help" with your academic writing.