Academic Writing for Graduate Students

Graduate Academic Writing Workshop


A series of basic training sessions are held before the start of the classes at the beginning of every semester to enhance the academic writing skills of our new graduate students. In principle, these sessions are mandatory because successful completion of a large research project (e.g. a thesis, dissertation, report, or case study) requires advanced research and writing techniques. It is always valuable for students to brush up on their writing skills regardless of their initial level.


The details of the of the Graduate Academic writing workshop are as follows. All new graduate students are required to attend.
All attending students are required to complete the assignments outlined in the syllabus. Below is also a list of the readings to be completed before the start of the sessions.
Please note that you have to log in with your APU user ID and password to view most of the files.

Graduate Academic Writing Workshop Syllabus (PDF)
Sample Theses (ZIP) (select and read ONE of the listed theses to complete the assignment for Session 1)
Thesis Analysis Worksheet (PDF)


Required Readings (ZIP) (make sure that you read this file before the 1st session!)
Optional Readings (ZIP)

Graduate Academic Writing Booklet (PDF)

2020 Fall Semester Academic Writing Workshop Schedule.

All the 4 sessions below will be held via online meeting tool, Zoom.

Session 1: Monday, 28 September, 14:00-16:00
Topic 1: What is a research thesis?
Discuss the common normal thesis and try to determine what a typical thesis looks like.

Session 2: Tuesday, 29 September, 14:00-16:00
Topic 2: What makes a good research question? Where do good research questions come from?
Discuss how to improve the research question and work on the research question.

Session 3: Thursday, 1 October, 14:00-16:00
Topic 3: What is an argument? How do you write a good argument?
Peer review of the essay.

Session 4: Friday, 2 October, 14:00-16:00
Topic 4: Research ethics and plagiarism. What are the ethical considerations in research?
Discuss about the training sessions and feedback from students.

FAQ regarding Plagiarism and Formatting


Plagiarism / Citation:



What referencing style should I use for my paper?
APA style is the standard style recognized by the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies. However, it is ultimately best to consult with your supervisor, as standards may vary per field/major. GSM students should follow the formatting guidelines available on the "AY2014 Curriculum : Research Projects" page for appropriate syling of their Thesis/Report/Case.
I am writing a Report/A Case Study . Do I still need to follow a specific referencing style, even though I am not writing a Thesis?
Yes. You should following the appropriate referencing style of your field/major no matter if you are writing a Thesis/Report/Case/Article or even a simple class assignment.

Plagiarism / Citation:

What if I forgot to add 1 or 2 citations in my paper? What are the consequences?
Mistakes happen. If you find that you have mistakenly overlooked a few citations in your Thesis/Report, please make sure that they are corrected by final submission for binding in the APU library.
However, intentional plagiarism or general ignorance of citations will result in strict academic penalty. Be sure to carefully check your Thesis/Report/Case for these types of serious errors. It is also strongly recommended to have your work reviewed by another person before submission.
What if the resource I am using (web resource, etc.) does not provide all necessary information needed for proper citation?
There are methods of citing sources that do not have all necessary information available.
What if my resource is actually citing another source? Do I cite the source I am using, or the one that is referenced in my source?
It is best to cite the original source, but in this case you must obtain this source for your own referencing. Never reference a source that you have not actually read. If you are not able to obtain the original source, there are other ways of citing a source within a source. APA reference from Simon Frasier University:
I want to cite from Wikipedia, blogs, etc. Is this ok?
Sources like Wikipedia, blogs, etc. are not the most reliable sources, as there is no guarantee the information provided is correct. Check the sources listed on the Wikipedia / webpage to access the facts directly. It is best not to use an unreliable source, so keep trying to find other sources that are more reliable. It is still possible to cite from Wikipedia, etc., but students are strongly encouraged to find better resources for their information.
What if the original author of a source I cited plagiarized? Am I then also plagiarizing?
No. As long as you have appropriately cited your source, you will not be under any penalty for mistakes found in your referenced material.
How do I know when I do and do not need to cite?
The rule of thumb is that if it is a fact that is generally known, it does not need to be cited (ie. Obama is the U.S. president, Japan is located in Asia). However, it is always best to write as if your audience is not familiar in your field. Even some facts you may be quite familiar with may be unknown to the average reader. When in doubt, make sure to cite.
What if a paper/source I cited in my paper has recently become published as a book, etc. Do I need to go back and change all the relevant citations?
No. What you cite should reflect the actual type of material you viewed at the time you composed your Thesis/Report/Case.


I followed APA style when I wrote my paper and now my supervisor is telling me I should follow Chicago style. Do I really have to go through and change everything?
You should follow the style recommended by your supervisor or an expert in your field. However, if you use citation software you can change the styling of your paper with just a click of a button. All students are encouraged to use citation software to aid in the appropriate styling of your paper.
Some examples of citation software are:
Endnote (paid software)
RefWorks (paid subscription)
Zotero (free)
Microsoft Word also has a styling function, but you need to re-enter all references for each new document. The software examples above will normally keep a library of your sources that you can access for various documents/papers.
Do I need to copyright my Thesis/Report or Journal article?
No. There is no need to copyright your Thesis/Report/Case. Normally, the publisher will copyright any Journal articles they publish (though the copyright will belong to the publisher).