We all know academic essay writing can be difficult especially when there are multiple essays all due about the same time. Owning good writing skills comes from consistent practice asides from getting help from the writing centers. Academic writing involves gathering information, putting your thoughts down, re-writing them in proper grammar, reading and constantly revising until it is perfect for submission. Most importantly, making sure your document is accessible when you are ready to submit your work.
As someone who is from a computer science background, all I did all through my undergrad was programming and coding. I barely remember submitting any essay during my undergrad. So, imagine me starting grad school in Canada and realizing that my mediocre writing skills won’t cut it. Whenever I wrote any assignments, I would send them to a lot of my friends to proofread and correct. This meant I had to work with their schedule to ensure they can give me feedback. Of course, in the long run, and having to write research papers, this method did not prove efficient. It was in this process I discovered 5 tools that would make students better at writing academic papers.
I am a strong believer in using the cloud for everything as your personal computer can fail you. After putting all that effort into your work, the last thing you want to deal with is not being able to access your file. This makes it important to always save your file on google drive or work directly from it. Google Docs allows you to edit your document online, share and collaborate with your team members in real-time. Although Google docs have some limitations in comparison to the desktop app.
This is probably the most popular tool when it comes to checking for grammatical errors, spelling and other sentence construction mistakes. Grammarly is available in both free and premium versions. I use this with my blog as well. It has a google chrome extension and Microsoft Word add-in which makes it perfect to ensure your grammar is always on point. I particularly love the chrome extension ensures anything you type in your browser or various web pages is grammatically correct.
Google Scholar is very useful in the information gathering stage of academic writing as it contains millions of academic papers from credible sources. It is basically Google for education. This becomes an additional resource to your online school library. Also, depending on what your university’s online library covers, you can access most academic papers from Google scholar free.
Plagiarism is a huge academic offence hence why you need a tool to help you reference your sources in the right way. This means for any inspiration you find online you must cite the source where you found it. I did this manually in my undergrad and it was a pain. I love that this tool can let you change your referencing style and also add downloaded research papers to it. Mendeley is available in chrome extension which allows you to save online sources and it syncs to your desktop version. It means whenever you want to cite it, you will find it. How great is that?!
This is definitely my favourite tool because it is a paraphrasing tool. This is very useful when writing pages of an academic research paper as it is important that your paper contains a variety of grammar. Also, one thing I like about Quilbot is that it paraphrases and your sentences still sound just like you. It is available as a chrome extension, Microsoft word add-in and can be used on web browsers.
Bonus: Microsoft word has its own grammar checker and inbuilt referencing tool that can help you with writing your academic paper.
I intentionally did not include any plagiarism checker because if you do the work right using Mendeley you would not have to worry about plagiarism.