Time management & critical writing

R22–0995, MATS21220 (Session 2 of 2)

Library for Educators
6 min readNov 15, 2022
Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash


· Materials
· Asynchronous content
· Session content



Learning outcomes

  • Explore what it means to be critical in academic work
  • Plan different tasks and activities to encourage independent learning
  • Raise awareness of how you spend your time

Session content

Part 1 — Critical writing [25 mins]

Introduction [2 mins]

Explain what we mean by criticality.

What does it mean to be critical in your academic work? [4 mins]

Invite students to join mentimeter and answer ‘What does it mean to be critical in your academic work?’ [open ended question type]. Discuss responses and clarify any ambiguity from responses.

Being critical in your writing [Slide 6 — 5 mins]

Decorative only
Screenshot of slide 6

Discuss elements of critical writing and why they are important.

  • What does the evidence mean?
  • How does the evidence relate to your argument?
  • How does the evidence relate to other research?
  • Have you addressed the strengths and weaknesses in the literature?
  • Are there any generalisations in your writing not backed up by evidence?
  • What is missing from your writing?

Preparing to write [Slide 7 — mins]

Emphasise the importance of planning before you start writing.

Taking time to plan your work will help you to:

  • Bring together your observations and notes
  • Link your observations to theories and principles
  • Create flow in your writing to help your reader

You may want to use a mind map or assistive software such as MindView to organise your thoughts.

Essay structure [Slide 9 to 12–5 mins]

Summarise key components of an essay and what they are for.

  • Introduction: outline area of study and why it has been chosen
  • Main body: analyse your observations and make links to relevant literature
  • Conclusion: make recommendations based on your observations and analysis

Take students through each element in more detail:

An effective introduction should:

  • Identify​ the area that you will observe and analyse
  • Contextualise​ by explaining the approach you have taken and why you have taken it
  • Engage​ your reader by highlighting the significance of this area of study

Main body:

  • Topic sentence
  • Analysis
  • Evidence
  • Transition

Introduce students to academic phrasebank for transistion sentence examples:

The Academic Phrasebank is a useful resource that will help you to improve the flow of your writing, making it easier for your reader to follow



Your conclusion should make clear recommendations based on your observation and analysis.​

This is not the place to bring in any new evidence or theories but you can highlight where further information or research is needed.

⭐ Activity: Read the article & add notes

Add notes to the Google doc as you read using the comment function. Make highlights when you see:

It says — identifying the evidence.

I say — identifying the analysis.

And so — where the writer connects back to the wider point they are making — the question they are trying to answer .

•You can also take some notes as you read.


Part 2 — Time Management [25 mins]

Introduction [2 mins]

Time management involves a set of skills and strategies that are personal to you. Managing your time well is about knowing what works for you and making the most of those strategies and tools to stay organised, plan and keep on track and when your less motivated.

In this part of the session we will explore what you do already and what you can change to help you plan and use your time more effectively.

Planning your time [2 mins]

Planning your time is not something you should only be doing around assessment periods. You will have techniques and strategies already, some that may work well, some that might not work as well and some you may not always practice.

When we have limited time or have lots to do, we often for example skip the planning stage. However, this step — more than any other — will help you make the most of your time, track progress and keep you feeling motivated.

Activity 1: Organising your time [7 mins]

Use menti to ascertain how many systems and tools students are using. Prompt them to think of both tools they use for their studies and what they might use personally.

Preview of question 1 in menti. Menti link at the top of this plan.

The more tools you use to manage and organise your time and the more likely you will use these inconsistently. The risk being nothing you use is right and you will end up stopping using these tools altogether. Try to limit yourself to 3 tools maximum.

You may consider using something that's easily accessible to you like your phone calendar and a separate note book or app for making lists of things you need to do but don't have a date. You can setup multiple calendars on one google account for example including shared calendars that can be managed by multiple people — useful if your part of a study group or any other regular work or social group.

Tip: Remember whatever tool you use you need to also re-prioritise constantly — new commitments and assignments arrive and you need to make room for change or you will abandon your tool/plan completely.

Planning your assignment [7 mins]

Break down work into more manageable pieces.

For each assignment work back from your submission deadline to get a rough idea for how long you have to search and gather research, read and make notes, write, proofread etc,.

Make sure you leave enough time for reading and proofreading these can take more time than you think and if you dont allow suitable time or skip proofreading you can lose marks very easily!

Tip: Do not leave referencing to the end!

The stages of your assignment may be broadly similar. However don’t forget for some assignments you may need to do more wider reading before you can understand and reflect on your understanding enough to start writing.

Rushing your reading may lead to you producing a good account of what you have read but not given you enough time to form your own thoughts and opinions which you need to do to show in your work to achieve higher marks.

Managing your reading and organising your notes [6 mins]

Two of the things that you will spend a lot of time on in order to produce a good assignment is reading & referencing. There are tools that can help you with this.

For reading and referencing you can use EndNote.

Facilitator quickly demonstrates notes, smart groups and groups in Endnote.

Using groups for organising reading in EndNote 20. Using the file attachments function to store your notes with your reading and references.

Wrap up & Feedback

  • Show students where Blackboard asynchronous content is and ask for feedback/RLUK question.



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