Blue Flower

Academic writing


“be more academic in your approach”


What is meant by this statement?


Firstly, you need to back up every statement you make. What is meant by this is that you have to quote a respected academic, some research on the issue or some other evidence of authenticity and truth. This point is also emphasised by Mary Hickson in the Research Handbook for Health Care Professionals (2013) when she refers to statements you make concerning data collected during a research project. Similarly this concept is also important regarding statements made elsewhere in academic writing.


For example in an assignment a student may write “Trust is confidence born from two dimensions: character and competence”. My first reaction as the person who is marking the assignment will be to ask “says who?” A little research on the internet leads me to the answer – Stephen Covey. Now this makes sense, Covey is a well known author and speaker with some credibility, and though his utterances may not be strictly research based, he does have some authority. Now why did the student not reference his source? Was he simply less skilled in in-line referencing, lazy, not of the meticulous kind? Did he want to create the impression that he is a profound and original thinker – I do not know. What I do know is, apart from being accused of plagiarism, that he is not following an academic writing style.


Then too Covey is also not listed in the bibliography which places further doubt on the students academic integrity. This too makes one wonder whether the student is actually wrapping his mind around the concepts or whether he is just copying and pasting to fulfill the minimum requirements of the assignment, rather than understanding and learning about the subject matter at hand.


Covey ends that very same paragraph with the words “but if he or she is not honest, you're not going to trust that person either” one wonders whether the student actually read what he had copied.


C,M Heydenrych






Hickson Mary (2013); Research Handbook for Health Care Professionals (



Covey, Stephen: How the best leaders build trust.