Academic Writing


The lecturer is Guido Erreygers from the University of Antwerp (BE).


Guido Erreygers

University of Antwerp
Prinsstraat 13
2000 Antwerp


Students are supposed to have a good command of English, and must have some familiarity with reading research papers (journal articles, working papers, …).

Lecture topics

  • How to set up and execute a research project
  • From literature study to research question
  • Writing in English: Writing as a tool to shape your arguments
  • Feedback on draft briefs

Course contents

The course focusses on how to follow a structured approach to any project requiring analytical use of tools to produce a written report. In particular, the course looks at how to set up a research study in social sciences, use writing as a way to learn on the topic of research, and develop the project on a reasonable time frame to come to conclusions to validate some hypotheses on the research topic

Core reading

A collection of material, derived from different sources, will be provided before the start of the course. Some work is in progress, by P. Claeys or by Booth et al. (2008).


  • Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup and William T. FitzGerald (2016), The Craft of Research, 4th edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Paul Dudenhefer (2009), A Guide to Writing in Economics, Duke University.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able:

  • To understand the steps of a research project
  • To distinguish the research question from the hypothesis and the testing methods
  • To see writing as a key element in analytical communication
  • To grasp the tools of effective writing for analytical communication

(Knowledge and Understanding)

  • To identify the steps in a research project
  • To use the literature study to understand a field of research
  • To apply writing tools to improve analytical communication
  • To apply their knowledge of some organizational (online) tools to improve project planning, writing, and record keeping

(Key Transferable Skills)


The course is organised in three sessions of two hours each:

  • How to set up and execute a research project
  • From literature study to research question
  • Writing in English: Writing as a tool to shape your arguments


Students are evaluated by means of assignments.

The final mark is counted as follows:

  • 30% for a methodological description and critical analysis with respect to the methodology applied in an empirical paper in the thesis domain, structured according to the tools learned in the course text. The paper chosen has to be approved by the teacher, and should be a paper published in an established English language academic journal. The deadline is one week after the end of the course.
  • 30% for a detailed description of a full literature search (WoS, Econlit, … ) for the student’s thesis topic (inclusion/exclusion criteria, sources browsed, search strategy, including a summary table describing how the initial number of references retrieved was reduced to the final one). The deadline is two weeks before the final dissertation brief deadline.
  • 40% for a formally impeccable brief, containing a short description of the thesis topic, a provisional table of contents of the thesis (both to be discussed with supervisor), provisional literature list (see 2.). The deadline for the draft version is one week before the final dissertation brief deadline.