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Writing for midwifery research
Writing an assignment is a learning process, which involves understanding the assignment question, reading the research literature, planning, constructing and then reviewing and editing your work.
While you must explicitly answer the assignment question, your writing will need to do more than re-present information, as you are expected to discuss and analyse issues and perspectives. Your writing will demonstrate this with your academic opinions supported by evidence which comes from what you have read in the research literature.
Through the act of writing you actually learn a lot more about a topic, so by the time you come to the end of the essay you will know a lot more than when you started. It stands to reason then, that you will need to review some of your early writing and even rewrite your introduction. Don’t be dismayed if your first drafts are messy, and don’t postpone starting because you don’t know exactly what you want to say.
How do get started
To work out what you are expected to do for an assignment, you can start by asking some questions about the task.
- what is the topic area?
- what parts of this topic must you cover?
- what are the instructions? Are there instruction words which tell you what you must do and how you should do it?
- what is the issue/s? Look for topics in the question which lead to discussion and differing perspectives.
You could turn some of the statements in the assignment question into questions. This will help you to see what you need to focus on and what you need to find out about.
To start planning, you will need to have some knowledge about the assignment topics and issues. Ask yourself:
- what have you already covered in this subject?
- in what way do the topics and ideas in the assignment question relate to the concepts and ideas you have been discussing in this subject?
Make questions about the assignment topics in order to direct your reading. This will help you to focus on learning about the topics and, most importantly, to come to some conclusions.
An initial plan would include:
- the assignment question and /or a paraphrase. Rewriting the question and / or turning the task into questions will help you to get a deeper understanding of what is involved in this assignment, and what you need to do.
- the key topics
This plan could be developed further to include:
- the main purpose of the essay and / or the main position
- any definitions (What will a reader, new to this topic, need to be informed about?)
- the main points / arguments (An argument or statement which makes a claim is often the first sentence in a paragraph)
- evidence to support the points / arguments
- references for the evidence (You need to acknowledge your sources.)