Library for Educators
3 min readJan 29, 2024


3 sessions for First Year Undergraduates

Slides (Folder)

Session 1_Critical Writing

Session overview: aims are to introduce students to academic writing as a particular writing style with its own conventions. Introduce the RAFT (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) technique as a way to both plan academic writing and also to start analysing sources.

Initial activity is to start conversation around writing more generally and then to move the discussion along to what the students think, or know, is now expected of them at university level.

Discussion can then lead on to writing as a process that is not linear — often academic writing is going to involve revisions and going back to the research stage. Important to state that this is very normal.

Activity 2: Analysing the article (link in slides) using the RAFT technique. This activity then is part of the overall academic writing process — which begins with reading the article critically.

The analysis of the source should then help to plan the assignment response.

Paragraphs therefore should be derived from the analysis of the sources. Each paragraph should address one point. However this is not prescriptive and as students become more confident can adapt their structure. So, a complex idea could run over several paragraphs and connect to other ideas throughout the assignment.

It says/I Say/And So — this might be helpful as a place to start but should not be where academic writing ends up.

Session 2_Referencing in your writing

Aims for the session are to introduce the practice of referencing to students, developing an aspect of academic writing initiated in the first session.

Activities of referencing for the reader/writer to encourage students to think about what referencing is doing within academic assignments — namely showing scholarship, the ability to critique, select relevant material and engage with the academic field within which they are working.

Referencing is also about authorial voice — namely, that references allow for the attribution of ideas to the student and other researchers.

It says/I say/ And so — this is a place to start in terms of structuring writing. Key here is to ensure that all claims made in assignments are substantiated by evidence. Ideas and claims should be reasoned and read out through the sources being used.

Sources can be quoted, paraphrased or summarised. However, important to note to students that it should not be assumed that the reader will know why that source has been selected, is relevant to the argument being presented or indeed what the source is claiming (in the student’s interpretation of it) unless this is explained. Sources should not be left under the assumption that they are self-explanatory.

Session 3_Critical analysis for critical writing

This session introduces the ‘Learn, Connect, Create’ model as A MODEL which students may find helpful in beginning to think academically (critically).

Academic practice is critical, and this is not a negative thing, but rather looks at current scholarship and offers improvements and developments to the field. Critical, it is also creative — academic practice should offer something new and original, and this is driven from a sustained critique of the current scholarship.

Activity works through the model alongside a source (provided on slide 13).



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