Academic writing and communication skills

Your academic writing and communication skills are a crucial part of your studies and essential skills to have in the workplace, regardless of your chosen career. Outlined below are a number of courses, opportunities and techniques available that help you to develop and enhance these skills. The Academic Skills page is a good place to start if you're unsure about certain skills or tasks.

Upcoming programs and opportunities to assist you with your writing and communication skills are listed on the Graduate Research professional development and training portal.

English language help

  • Academic Skills has a quiz for students who are non-native speakers of English. Take the quiz to find out which workshop will best suit your needs.
  • Browse AIRport for useful modules about writing, referencing and edit.

Writing programs

There are many opportunities to hone your academic writing skills. Writing workshops, programs and sessions designed to support your thesis writing include:

Turnitin Similarity Report

In preparation for your confirmation, you are strongly encouraged to prepare a Turnitin Similarity Report for a substantial piece of writing (eg a thesis chapter, a section of a chapter, or the written progress report) early on in your studies. The value in doing this is to make sure that you have a solid understanding of scholarly norms and citation requirements from the beginning of your studies. Avoiding plagiarism is crucial for academic and professional success.

Turnitin is online text-matching software. It compares electronically submitted papers to billions of pages of content located on the internet and proprietary databases, as well as the work of other students whose papers have also been submitted to the system. All graduate researchers have access to Turnitin via the Learning Management System (LMS) guides for students.

Please note that Turnitin does not judge plagiarism. It only indicates matches to content in its database. If it finds a match, it will indicate that the match exists whether the text is correctly referenced or not. It is then you and/or your supervisor's responsibility to inspect the matched text and identify whether there are issues for further discussion or if they can be safely ignored as 'false positives'. For help with interpreting an originality report, watch this video (Firefox or Google Chrome recommended).

iThenticate is a new text-matching software program for researchers (including graduate researchers) that will be implemented at the University of Melbourne in 2018. A pilot project testing iThenticate is currently underway, ahead of the University-wide implementation. Click here for more information about iThenticate and the pilot project.

If you're having trouble, submit a helpdesk request to the Learning Environments Team for assistance.

Communicating my research

Both your graduate research studies and your future career require effective communication and presentation skills. The following list of resources, workshops and programs are designed to help you improve these skills:

  • Speaking and Presenting: Resources for presenting your research, using PowerPoint to your advantage, presenting at conferences and helpful videos on presenting effectively
  • Research Impact Library Advisory Service (RILAS): Helps you to determine the impact of your publications and other research outputs for academic proportions and grant applications
  • Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT): Research communication competition that requires you to deliver a compelling oration on your thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes or less.
  • Visualise your Thesis Competition: A dynamic and engaging audio-visual "elevator pitch" (e-Poster) to communicate your research to a broad non-specialist audience in 60 seconds.

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