Personal Assessment on Writing and Research Skills
16th, February 2013
Writing is core to learning. Different courses require a student to write different papers, and most tests and examinations come in the form of writing, requiring a student to write papers, which will be assessed, and contribute to general grade. This therefore, calls for students to be good in writing. In most cases, the best academic performers have mastered the art of writing and research. For this reason, a student should possess writing and research skills, as this contributes to academic success. Writing is a continuous process, which I keep learning each year. Reading articles on research guide and plagiarism has boosted my knowledge of writing and research skills. I only need to put these into practice, to make a credible writer. In this essay, I will focus on my strengths and weaknesses in writing and research, as well as my growth plan in this issue (Jones & Farness, 2002).
Analysis of Strengths
Although I am not perfect in writing and researching, I possess considerable strengths in writing and research, which make me a good writer. First, I have mastered the aspect of plagiarism and I am able to avoid this in my writing. If a person plagiarises, that means the person does not want to think on his or her own, or they are just lazy. Plagiarising also means one is not original. Good writers are always original, as they are able to think and write down different ideas, without copying other people’s works. Therefore, plagiarism disqualifies one as a writer. Since I have some passion for writing, it might be hard to come by my works as plagiarised. This is a strength, which I am always proud of, considering there are people who still have difficulty in presenting work that is free of plagiarism. I am good at paraphrasing and summarising, as ways of avoiding plagiarism.
Sometime back, referencing was quite a challenge to me. I would use the MLA referencing style instead of APA, or sometimes mix the different aspects of these styles. I had not mastered the referencing aspects of research. Therefore, I had to refer to my textbook or consult friends, who would sometimes misguide me. Today, this has changed, as I now can write the references correctly, and follow all the referencing standards of different types of papers. This is because of the practice and dedication I put into learning and mastering referencing for various papers. Additionally, in writing, I really try to make my papers to be grammatically correct. I value communication, and believe that wrong grammar interferes with what a person tries to communicate. This is why I have to crosscheck and proofread my papers for any such errors, before handing in. These are some of my strengths in writing and research, which I believe have the capability of making me a better writer, if I capitalize on them.
Analysis of Weaknesses
In research, I too have my weaknesses, just like any other writer. First, the choice of a topic is always problematic to me. I have realized that I spend too much time trying to identify a topic in most of my researches. Despite this, I would still end up with a wrong topic, which the instructor would raise concerns about. In this case, I have realized that during the identification of a research topic, I do not narrow down the topic I select; instead, I end up settling for broad topics. If a topic is too broad, I have learnt that this lacks specificity and therefore, does not produce a quality research paper. When the topic is more specific, the research paper becomes more informative and detailed, since a specific issue is being addressed at that particular time (Jones & Farness, 2002).
Another weakness I have realized has to do with the formulation of a thesis statement. This is a concept of research that I have always been wrong about. I have however, learnt that a thesis statement carries the main idea of the research paper. Whatever the paper discusses must be reflected in the thesis statement. In my case, I always fail to address the thesis statement in this context. Therefore, most of the times, I do my research, but I lose relevance in the course of my writing. I consider a paper that has not followed the guidelines about thesis statement as lacking relevance, since it veers off-topic. It is good that I realize these weaknesses in me. The decision to improve wholly lies on me; therefore, I must act to get rid of these weaknesses.
I uphold the principle that knowledge gained should be put to practice. I have gained considerable information about writing and research skills, which I believe; I should not put to waste. Therefore, a growth plan will help me use this knowledge to make me a better writer, by furnishing my writing and research skills. To achieve this, I need self-initiative, which will help me get motivated for this.
My growth plan with regard to writing and research mainly entails learning from my mistakes and taking of actions, using the acquired knowledge. Most importantly, I am going to put what I have learnt into practice. I will do this while paying special attention to my weaknesses. In addition, I will identify more weaknesses, which I could have failed to identify. I will practise this by writing and researching at my free time, then assessing the essays and short research papers using the knowledge I have gained. This will help me to master the right things to do in writing and research, turning my weaknesses into strengths. If I put all these into practice, I am sure to become a better writer than I was yesterday.
Writing is a gradual process, which is also learnt. This process never ends, as even the polished writers will discover one element of writing, which they lacked, and will incorporate this into their writing. No one is born with research and writing skills, but people learn and acquire these skills through learning, determination, and practice. It is important that one identifies their weaknesses and strengths in writing. Since I have identified mine, I will be able to build on my strengths and turn my weaknesses into strengths by working on them. Since practice makes perfect, I will use this approach to achieve a transformation from an average writer, into an exemplary writer in the near future.
Jones, P. & Farness, J. (2002). “College Writing Skills.” New York: Rowman & Littlefield.
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