How nuclear waste can improve your academic writing


Diligent student

You could learn a thing or two from nuclear waste.

We aren’t sure what exactly, but you can improve your academic writing skills by reading an article in The Conversation on nuclear waste. Yes, really!

The article, ‘Location, location, location: why South Australia could take the world’s nuclear waste’, does not give you tips on the writing process. Instead, it is a shining (or should that be glowing?) example of academic writing.

When writing your university assignment, it’s necessary to think about the purpose – is it to inform, persuade or analyse an issue?

In Location, location, location: why South Australia could take the world’s nuclear waste, the author presents his case by answering the question posed in the title. His aim is to persuade you that Australia could be the home to nuclear waste.

Weaving a story, he presents a number of points to highlight how nuclear waste facilities could be established in Australia. The logic of the article flows from one point to the next.

The author has used appropriate examples, counter-arguments and different perspectives to show consideration of multiple views.  You need to as well.

This will ultimately persuade a reader to understand, or even agree, with your argument. It is important to provide a balanced view so your argument is not one-sided.

No matter what your opinion is of establishing a nuclear waste facility in Australia, the author provides a compelling perspective that it is, indeed, an option.

The author reiterates his point several times, and overtly states its relevance to his overall argument; this is an essential component of academic writing. You need to remind the reader at the end of each paragraph how each point is connected to your argument.

And for the big finale… you need to think back to the purpose of the assignment; was it aiming to inform, persuade or analyse? The conclusion should remind the reader of the purpose i.e. nuclear waste is safe to be stored in Australia.

Want to develop your academic writing? Check out these Academic Skills resources:

Book into an Academic Skills workshop or to have a face-to-face consultation with a Learning Adviser or Librarian. They can provide advice on analysing questions, developing your academic argument or developing search strategies.