Skills coaching

Coaching is for you if you are

  • looking to improve your written English communication skills
  • writing a short or long piece of academic text, such as thesis, dissertation, essay, research report, journal article, or a further text based on your existing writing
  • looking for help with planning and structure, and the flow of ideas from one section to the next, and indeed from one paragraph to the next!
  • looking to learn how to proofread and revise and edit your own work
  • interested in writing short or long fiction or creative nonfiction

Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling (British or American, depending on context)
  • Sentence structure, avoiding sentence fragments
  • Use of passive and active tense (I have eaten the sandwich/I ate the sandwich/the sandwich was eaten by me!)
  • Paragraph structure
  • when to use something and when not to, and when breaking the rules is the best thing you can do

Essay-writing skills

  • Essay structure (up to and including doctoral dissertation level)
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Paraphrasing and quoting
  • Citation methods
  • Reference lists and bibliographies
  • Synthesis of ideas: combining of information from more than one source with your own ideas and opinions
  • Effective use of language

Answering questions

  • Reading and understanding questions
  • Formulating effective responses appropriate to the question and the context in which it is being asked

Reading texts

  • Critical reading, comprehension, and analysis of text
  • Interpreting what is happening on the page; picking out main themes
  • Strategies to help you enjoy reading

Planning and research skills

  • Planning an essay
  • Research methods, including finding and accessing resources
  • Strategies for reading resources (websites, books, journals, newspapers, multimedia)
  • Note-taking skills
  • Managing and storing resources

Creative writing

  • Writing prompts to help you get started
  • Brainstorming
  • Planning
  • Writing techniques for short and long fiction
  • characterisation and imagery

Your voice and story

  • Guidance to help you find your own writing voice
  • Strategies to help you tell your own story

Proofreading and editing skills

  • Grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  • Sentence and paragraph structures
  • Avoiding congestion and awkward syntax
  • Advice on final structure
  • Review of content to ensure consistency and progression of argument
  • Strategies for doing your own proofreading and editing next time