Supporting scientific writing during program

Table of Contents

Developing writing skills during degree programs

It is described in the chapter Writing is a skill that students need training in writing and information acquisition. They also need support.

How do we ensure this during degree programs?

It is good to remember that new students start not only in a candidate program but also on other degree levels. If there are writing assignments and Turnitin submission boxes in the beginning of every degree program, we can ensure that all students get familiar with criteria of writing and the code of academic integrity. It is also valuable experience about writing before starting a thesis.


Why do people plagiarise and how do we prevent it?

Why do people plagiarise? What can we do about it?

All people break rules, if they consider it harmless.

Make integrity policies and tools visible. Use Turnitin for submissions.

Writing under pressure can make anybody deceit

  • poor time management
  • unrealistic understanding of one's skills in academic writing

Help students

  • in time managent of a writing process
  • rehearse information seeking and academic writing.

Students lack writing skills (it is emphasized if they write in foreign language) and deep understanding of the code of academic integrity

Let students experience Turnitin originality check with drafts before submitting papers for grading

Assignment types that encourage writing in own words

Ideas for designing writing assignments that encourage students writing in own words are presented in the KTH publication Guiding students away from plagiarism (Carroll and Zetterling, 2009, 42-50). Read illuminative examples of assignments from the guidebook. A summary of the ideas is compiled in the following table:

AvoidInstead, choose

problems that already have an existing answer

  • topics as questions like "Sustainable development"
  • verbs like describe, identify, list, recount, draw upon
  • "a question saying Google"
  • questions from past courses

action verb like rank, plan, alter, invent > it stimulates interest that work has to be done 

  • "a question saying 'Google then think"
  • new questions for each course

questions that make it easy to copy from other students

  • if there is only one answer or few possible solutions

questions individualised with data or resources

  • a common template, but a unique topic
  • using personal experiences, experiments or activities

generic or worn out questions

spesific questions about more general topic

  • local aspect
  • the latest information about the topic
  • specific data applied

assignments that require skills that are not taught yet

assignments that are divided into parts that train pointed skills

too hard assignments

a suitable challenge

  • smaller assignments
  • assist students how to do it
  • a group task instead of individual work

hidden criteria

open criteria about what aspects are valued


Writing process and tools for writing

See the chapter Skilful writing and plagiarism avoidance in students' Turnitin instructions: