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University of Newcastle Library guides

Reflective writing and blogs: How to write a blog

This guide will show you how to write a blog for university assessments.

How to write a blog

TYPES OF BLOG POSTS

There are generally four types of blogs used for assessment tasks. However, blog post assessments and expectations will vary across disciplines and lecturers. Always ask your lecturer for clarification.

 

Types of blogs

 

From:  Hamilton College (2019) Writing Academic Blogs. Retrieved from: https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/writing/writing-resources/writing-academic-blogs

How to structure a blog

It is important to think about the structure of your blog before you start writing. Consider the following tips:

  • Planning: Make sure you understand the assessment task and have carefully read all the course information. Ask yourself, why are you being asked to produce a blog, what is the topic and subject you are making the blog about?
  • Select your topic: This may be dictated from your course materials (you might be given a number to select from). If you are given a choice think carefully about you would like to write your blog post on. 
  •  Research: make sure you research the topic and have collected information and sources from reliable sources and that these sources are referenced according to your referencing style. Our referencing guide is useful here
  • Create an engaging title for your blog: This will connect your blog title to the content you have created. This will also engage your audience with your blog post. This is especially useful if you have been asked to post a copy of your blog onto your course discussion forum.  
  • Write your blog: Start writing your first draft and start with the introduction. Consider the word count for your blog post and set time aside to complete. At first you might find that it is difficult to get words onto the paper, especially when you are new to writing. However, like most skills, the more you do it the easier it becomes.
  •  Paragraphs and sentences are often shorter in blog posts than standard academic writing. This makes it easier to read the blog post and engage with the audience (reader). Top tips for writing well is an excellent additonal resource to support the development of your writing skills. 
  • The use of images: You can also choose to use images in your blog post to support the content of your blog post. However, remember to keep your blog post simple and free of clutter. If you are using images, cite them correctly in your work.  (It is always a good idea to check the requirements for the layout of your blog post with your course co-ordinator/lecturer).
  • Edit your blog: Plan enough time to edit your blog, this includes looking carefully at spellings, grammar, and the overall content of the blog post. Try to avoid repeating word choices throughout the blog (we all have our favourite words we like to use!). Consider if your points come across well, have you stated your position (if you have taken one), does your blog provide enough detail and information for the reader? Having another set of eyes to look over your work can also help too.

BASIC BLOG STRUCTURE

 

Structure of a blog

 

 

If you would like to use specific blogging apps, why not try this one:

Blogger.com: Google backed blogging app that is simple to use.

https://www.blogger.com/about/

A blog (short for “weblog”) is a personal journal on the web where you integrate your personal experience with evidence and analysis. You may be asked to submit a blog entry as part or all of an assessment task. Typically students submit their blog entries to an appropriate location on the course BlackBoard site.

Blogs are different to reflective journal writing because:

  1.  They are written to share with other people.
  2. They require frequent updating.

Note: Sometimes the terms 'reflective writing' and 'blogs' are used interchangeably. If unsure, check with your lecturer to see if they want a piece of reflective writing completed online, or a blog.

Blogs

  • Are less formal than essays and reports.
  • The argument you put forward includes evidence, but also your own perspective.
  • Allow you to be creative with the structure (unless you have been provided with a structure from your lecturer).
  • Use short paragraphs, bullet points, bold text, italics, underlining, and headings. 
  • Use images, videos, and links to demonstrate your thinking.
  • Require referencing.

Why use a blog?

  • To log your progress on a particular course or independent learning task
  • To use as a collaborative blog with other students or as part of group work.
  • To reach a wider audience on a particular topic or subject (via a published blog post on a website or University discussion forum)