How do I develop postgraduate level writing skills?

At postgraduate level, you are expected to demonstrate more advanced research and critical-thinking skills in your writing.


  • You need to be proactive and self-directed in finding relevant sources and literature on your topic. 
  • You will be expected to identify and engage with a wide variety of scholarship. Read extensively around your topic area. 
  • You must provide a detailed and persuasive rationale for the information you have collected. You must also acknowledge any limitations in your methodology or overall project. 


  • PG level offers you further opportunity to specialise by gaining in-depth expertise on a specific topic. 
  • You must demonstrate a good understanding of complex concepts, models and theories in your research area. 
  • Whilst you will be discussing and formulating complex ideas, you should use clear, straightforward language. 


  • You will need to demonstrate high-level critical-thinking skills, analysing and evaluating the sources you use (including any data you have collected). 
  • In order to be persuasive, all your claims must be based on evidence. Avoid making claims based on opinion or without supporting evidence.
  • You must demonstrate sound logic and reasoning when reaching conclusions. 

Project management

  • If you are conducting an extensive piece of research with many different elements, you will need a research plan.  
  • A research plan can help you set realistic objectives over an extended period. This can help you stay on track. You may want to use a simple calendar to do this. Alternatively, a flexible planning tool such as a Gantt chart can help you assess your progress at a glance. 
  • Remember that your plans may change if tasks are completed more quickly or slowly than anticipated. Research tasks like data collection often don’t go to plan due to unforeseen difficulties. Some tasks may be dependent on access to apparatus or participants. Such factors may be out of your control and will require you to be flexible. A project plan can help you to account for such issues and to adapt accordingly.  

Further information 

For more resources to help with developing your academic skills, please visit the Skills for Learning website