Choose a topic:





Content and Organisation


  • Report Writing: Introductions - a page to help you understand the content and grammar of report introductions. It contains explanations, an example and an exercise.
  • Report Introductions - a text-reconstruction exercise to help you remember the language of the introduction to a report.

Method / Methodology / Procedure

Findings and Discussion



Practice Materials



Paragraph Structure



Referencing Resources on the Internet


Thinking of Ideas for Your Writing


Writing to E-mail Pen-pals/Pen-friends

  • PenPALS - pen-pals / pen-friends listed by sex and age - choose the category you are interested in, check the listings and click on the person you would like to would like to communicate with.


E-mail Discussion Lists

Join these lists and you will get e-mail everyday from learners all over the world discussing General and Business English, current events, cinema, sports and science and technology. You can send in e-mail and join in the discussion. To subscribe, click here and send a e-mail with no message to announce-sl@latorobe.edu.au


Needs Analysis

There are four stages in needs analysis: what you need to know about a language, your present problems, your future needs, your needs for your course.

Click here for a Needs Analysis / Planning / Studying / Assessment Form that you can print out and fill in.



Make a list of the problems that you have when you are writing, and the situations where you have these problems. For example:

Example Problem 1: My grammar is not good ( this is a grammar problem, not just a writing problem!)

Example Problem 2: Speed - I want to write faster.

Example Problem 3: I don't want to copy large sections from books - I want to paraphrase.


Future Needs

Think about what English you will need in future, for example for your job. Here are some examples:

Example Future Need 1: I will need to write reports and memos.

Example Future Need 2: I will need to write business letters.

Example Future Need 3: I want to work for an international company, so my English, including writing, must be very good.


Needs for Your Course

If you are a student you probably need to study English to help you with your course work; e.g. for writing assignments. Some example needs are:

Example Course Need 1: I need to write assignments and projects.

Example Course Need 2: I need to write up a final year project.

(Click here to see the English courses that most full-time HKPU students do.)



You need to decide:


Materials and Resources
Materials can be books and handouts etc. on writing
Resources can be teachers, classmates, computers, learner pathways, etc.


Working Alone or With Other People
Reasons for working with other people on writing are:
- You get more ideas from the other people
- They can suggest improvements
- They can tell you if you make a mistake
- They can encourage you to do better
- Explaining things to other people can help you understand better
- Sharing the work helps you do it quicker
- You can share your thoughts and feelings
- Teamwork skills and experience are important for your career.

Reasons for working alone are:
- So your work is not the same as other people's
- If you share a task then you might learn only your part of the task, not how to do all of it. Your aim is to learn, not to finish quickly.
- Maybe you don't want to be influenced by other people
- You don't want to share your ideas with other people.



Click here to go back to the list of writing materials on the Internet at the top of this page.

These are lists CILL materials for writing, but the materials are not on the Internet:


Writing Strategies

  • Note-taking: it's a good idea to write down the main ideas, important points, an outline or a summary of a topic.
  • Organisation: You can use a mind-map, organisation tool or pros and cons calculator to help you organise the information.
  • Proof-reading: you can use this program to automatically check for some common mistakes.
  • Peer-review: ask a friend to read your text and comment on it. Do they understand it? Can they suggest any improvements?
  • To-do list: write a list of 10 specific problems you have with your writing. Put them in order of seriousness or solvability. Work on the highest priority problems until you solve them. When you have solved them, cross them out, and add new problems to the bottom of the list.


Testing and Feedback

You can test your writing skills yourself, with classmates, with a CILL teacher or with a WAP teacher.

Testing Yourself
Do some writing; e.g. for an assignment. Proof-read the writing, looking to see if you have improved the skill you have been learning. You can use this program to automatically check for some common mistakes.

Testing with Classmates
Show your writing to your classmates and ask what they think. Discuss their answers. If you can't agree, check in references such as dictionaries or grammar books or Internet sites.

Testing with a CILL Tutor
Show or e-mail your writing to a CILL teacher at eccill@inet.polyu.edu.hk. It is very important to tell the tutor what you have been learning so that they can assess that. If you would like suggestions for other things to improve, please ask. CILL tutors do not believe that it is good to correct everything because we know you are not studying everything about writing, that would take a long time. We believe it is better for you to work on one small area of writing at a time.

Testing with a WAP Teacher
Click here to see a video about getting feedback from a Writing Assistance Programme (WAP) teacher.


Further Planning

When you have finished your plan you need to test or assess yourself to see if you have fulfilled your need. Can you do what your Needs Analysis and your plan aimed for?

  • If you can, then you can plan to learn another point from your Needs Analysis, or you can change it because of some new thing that you want to learn. Don't forget to come back and revise later.
  • If you can't, you need to study more, so change your plan. You could, for example, do some of the Alternative Materials or Extra Materials if you are following a learner pathway. If you are bored you can do something else and come back later.

For more details on how you can test yourself, click here. The learner pathways also have details on how you can test yourself. Click here for an example.


Last updated on: Friday, August 19, 2016