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Writing Center's Guide to Academic Writing for Health Sciences

A LibGuide created for KUMC students and faculty that explores academic writing best practices and tips

KUMC Writing Center Services

For students and residents, we offer the following services:

  • Individual Appointments: One-on-one conversations about specific writing projects (class assignments, doctoral and master theses, articles for publications, residency statements, and writing counseling to address problems in writing)
  • Online Video Appointments: For those unable to get to campus
  • Writing Workshops: Presentations on various aspects of the writing process
  • Writers Groups: Support and feedback from peers

For faculty, we offer the following services:

  • 10-15 minute overview of the Writing Center services
  • Consultation about writing assignments, rubrics, and more
  • Class visits: mini-sessions on writing skills

The Writing Center is part of the Division of Student Services. Our service is free for all current KUMC students and residents. Success in your field depends on constant improvement—and writing plays a major part in that process.

Introduction to essay writing for health sciences

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 to 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 the 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.

Planning

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 which makes a claim is often the first sentence in a paragraph)
  • evidence to support the points/arguments
  • references to the evidence (you need to acknowledge your sources)

KUMC Writing Center Contact

Questions? Contact the KUMC Writing Center!

Phone: 913-945-8477
Mail Stop: 1050
Location: G011 Dykes Library
Writing Specialist: Andrés Rodríguez
Email: writing@kumc.edu

Acknowledgement

Kind acknowledgements are given to the following:

La Trobe University - Learning & Research Services (Library), and Dr. Julianne East for permission to use content from their guide.