Note that some depts. (Law only?) may prefer ‘Latin terms’ instead of ‘Short Version’ for second/subsequent references. ‘ Op cit.’ ‘ Ibid’ (… plus several other terms for law). Where you have a choice, ‘Short version’ is best, as when you move text around while revising your work, you can lose track of which ‘Ibid’s belong to which source.
Should I write my introduction early on or at the end of my writing up? There is much to be said for writing the introduction only when you know exactly what the main chapters are going to say. However, it may be helpful to draft the intro at the outset, as this can help you to clarify your thoughts. A better plan may emerge out of the process! This ‘working introduction’ will have to be amended as your main chapter-writing goes through various stages of completion and adjustment: as with any written assignment, you will still be developing your thinking and approach as you write and refine your work. Thus, you should be constantly refining your introduction ‘as-you-go’. Only at the very end of the project will you know for certain exactly where your argument is taking you, and the introduction should be adjusted to reflect this.
Your dissertation Introduction checklist (cont): Anything that needs commenting about the title: any information that will help to clarify any ambiguity that may exist surrounding the question? Any technical terms that would benefit instant definition? Any helpfulness in explaining how you will interpret the title ?
Your dissertation Introduction checklist (cont): Must contain: background / context / sufficient historical context (brief) / wider research/subject area context
Your dissertation Introduction checklist (cont): Must identify overall aims / focus + if adopting issue-based breakdown, key underpinning themes that cut across the chapters.
Your dissertation Introduction checklist (cont): why you feel the topic is of interest / demands attention (is it possible to state why your study is important – ‘important’ being a relative concept?) Maybe something about your own interest and how this developed.
Your dissertation Introduction checklist (cont): IMPORTANT – for issue-structured projects, provide a chapter-by-chapter overview of what is to come. But make sure you deliver on promises.
Your dissertation Introduction checklist (cont): Example of chapter-by-chapter breakdown.
Your dissertation Introduction checklist (cont): Review the literature / comment on research methods IF appropriate and IF not already in sections of their own .
Remember: The consideration of what to include in an introduction should always be measured by whether it is helpful to include that information . You should always be imagining that your work is being by someone of reasonable intelligence, but who knows little or nothing about the subject! If appropriate, you might use the introduction to make a bold assertion . If so, the project must later on explore and justify this initial comment. Don’t be sensationalist for the sake of it – it doesn’t become academic work! That said, don’t be boring and stuffy in the way your write: remember the introduction plays an important role in capturing the interest of the reader. Therefore, be clear, concise, and try to write in a way that will engage the reader’s attention. You could open your introduction (and indeed other chapters) with a quotation . Stylistically this may be desirable, but not all work benefits from this: only do this if you have located a quote which is ideally suited for the purpose.
Yet, despite all these things that could or definitely should be included, you must keep your introduction to a reasonable size . Unless it includes the literature review and discussion of methods, an introduction should rarely exceed 10% of the total written content (excluding bibliography and appendices). What should I call my introduction?
Conclusions & Recommendations You should have a final concluding (usually fairly short) chapter in which you wrap up your project in its entirety, summarising all the main points you have dealt with, stressing key findings, and, if appropriate, making recommendations.
Dissertations 5 ref, plagiarism, own crit-analysis
An LDU short course presentationDissertations & Major Project Writing Week 5 of 5: Referencing, bibliographies, plagiarism & the ‘final stages’Robert Walsha, LDU City campus, Calcutta House, CM2-22
Dissertations & Major Project Writing week 5This week’s topics:• Referencing & Bibliographies;• Plagiarism – and how to avoid it;• The final stages: – Writing & focusing your introduction & conclusion – Critical analysis of your own work, editing & proofreading, troubleshooting.• Damage limitation
Referencing & Bibliographies• Everything in the next 17 slides should be a reminder of what you hopefully know well already ~ – it’s all about good practice in bibliographies and referencing. – In this sense, your dissertation/project should be no different from what you have been trying to do with other written assignments so far.
Referencing & Bibliographies• A Bibliography is a listing, placed at the very end of your work, of every source referenced in your assignment. – In Psychology, the Bibliography section is called ‘References’.• Referencing is what you do within the written sections of your work to show evidence of where you are incorporating any thinking or other material that is not your own. In other words, you reference to show where you are utilising material derived from your various sources. – In Psychology, referencing is referred to as ‘citations’.
Referencing & Bibliographies• Written Assignments require BOTH a Bibliography AND Referencing – not one or the other!!
Referencing & Bibliographies: Your bibliography ...• ... should provide a full listing in one place of all the sources you have referred to in your assignment.• … should list sources in alphabetical order, by author surname.• … should not include page references - that is the job of referencing.• What should I include in my bibliography? Basically, every source you have used in working on your assignment. Only include material you directly reference in your work.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Format of your Bibliography• There are two basic bibliography formats, the ‘Cambridge’ (or‘British Standard’) and the ‘Harvard’ Systems.• This is Harvard: Cambridge: Ball, Stuart (1988), Baldwin and the Stuart, Baldwin and the Conservative Party: The Crisis of The Crisis London: Yale Conservative Party: 1929-1931,of 1929-1931, University Press, 1988. London: Yale University Press. Carlton, David (1969), ‘The Anglo-French David, ‘The Anglo-French Compromise on Arms Limitation 1928’, Journal of British Compromise on Arms Limitation 1928’, Journal Studies, 1969, no. of British Studies, 8, pp. 141-62.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Bibliographies• You may benefit from breaking down your bibliography into sub-sections, such as ‘Primary sources’, and ‘Secondary sources’ perhaps including sub-sub-sections such as: ‘books’, ‘journal articles’ and ‘web-based sources’.• What should not be included in a bibliography? There are some things which you should not include: for example, mentioning your lecture notes is unnecessary, as is any general reference materials such as dictionaries or thesauruses.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Bibliographies• Please note that, in some disciplines, two lists at the end of assignments is encouraged, both listing their respective sources in alphabetical order by surname: – ‘References’: sources visited and referred to in your written sections; – ‘Bibliography’: other sources that were useful to you, but which you do not reference in your work. Consult your supervisor over his/her preferences with regard to this.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Referencing• Referencing provides proof of exactly where you are taking ideas and facts from, at the point of use of those ideas/facts in your work.• The italicised section above is the justification for referencing: the reason why we must both provide both references and a bibliography.• There are different forms of referencing. Certain departments favour one approach over others, though with some departments you may have a choice. – Stick with department-favoured models or consult your supervisor over your options.
Referencing & Bibliographies: ReferencingReferencing options(?)• (the ‘Harvard system’)• ‘British Standard’ a.k.a. ‘Cambridge’ system, which may take two forms: – ‘footnoting’; or – ‘endnoting’.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Harvard Referencing• The Harvard System makes its references in the main text itself, and appears within brackets. For example: ... The consequent publicity pushed the issue of race relations to a very high place on the political agenda (Seymour-Ure, 1974, pp. 99-136). The... Under this system you must include: (i) author surname (ii) date of publication, and (iii) page references.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Harvard ReferencingADVANTAGES:• Efficient with space … cuts down a lot of repetition between references and bibliography (in Cambridge). For fuller information, cross-reference with the full information located in the bibliography (title and publication details are confined to the bibliography).DISADVANTAGES:• Long, difficult sentences are made longer by having to include additional bracketed reference information – and thus become even more confusing. For students who struggle with grammar and written communication, this can be a problem.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Cambridge Referencing • The Cambridge System makes its references via a system of number references, corresponding to detailed references … • … at the bottom of the page (footnoting’) or • … at the end of each chapter, or by chapter at the end of the written sections (endnoting).... The consequent publicity pushed the issue of racerelations to a very high place on the political agenda.3Another blah blah blah blah blah more text blah blahblah blah blah more text blah blah blah blah etc. etc. ..._________3 Colin Seymour-Ure, The Political Impact Of The Mass Media (London:Constable, 1974), pp. 99-136.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Cambridge Referencing• To create and manage your references, use Microsoft Word’s ‘Referencing’ function (called ‘Footnote’ in pre-Office 2003 versions of Word) to create your references: – when you reorder text, it will automatically re- sequence your references in the new correct order. 1. Click at the point at where you want to insert a reference in your main text (e.g., the end of a sentence).
Referencing & Bibliographies: Cambridge Referencing2. Click on ‘Insert’, then, on the drop-down menu, ‘Reference’, then click on ‘Footnote’.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Cambridge Referencing3. Choose your options from the command box (left), then click on ‘Insert’. A footnote number is created, with a space to enter the desired reference text.• Note: whether using Cambridge or Harvard for your actual referencing, you can also use footnoting to include (small amounts of) useful supplementary information that would distract if in your main text. (Larger useful additional information should be placed in appendices).
Referencing & Bibliographies: Cambridge Referencing: BOOKS • First reference to book sources: – Include full author name(s), full title (italics or underline), place of publication, publisher, date of publication, page reference(s)13 Stanley Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of Mods and Rockers, Oxford: Blackwell, 1972, p. 137. • Second & subsequent references to the same source (short version): – author surname, short version of title (italics or underline), page reference(s).16 Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panics, p. 137.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Cambridge Referencing: JOURNAL ARTICLES • First reference to journal sources: include: – full article author name(s), ‘full title of article’ (in quote-marks), in full title of journal publication (italics or underline), place of publication, publisher, volume, number, year of publication, page reference(s). Richard S. Grayson, ‘Mods, Rockers and Juvenile14Delinquency in 1964: The Government Response’, inContemporary British History, London: Frank Cass, vol. 12, no. 1, 1998, p. 33. • Second & subsequent references to the same article in the same source (short version): – author surname, ‘short version of title’ (in quote-marks), page refs.17 Grayson, ‘Mods, Rockers and Juvenile Delinquency’, p. 33.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Cambridge Referencing: EDITED (ANTHOLOGY) TITLES • First reference to edited collections: include: – full article author name(s), ‘full title of article’ (in quote-marks), in full editor name(s) (ed.(s)), full title of publication (italics or underline), place of publication, publisher, date of publication, page reference(s)15 Gordon A. Craig, ‘Churchill and Germany’, in Robert Blake and Wm. Roger Lewis (eds.), Churchill, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 25. • Second & subsequent references to the same article in the same source (short version): – surname article author(s), ‘short version of title’ (in quote-marks), page reference(s).18 Craig, ‘Churchill and Germany’, p. 25.
Referencing & Bibliographies: If these same references were in Harvard … … they’d look like this (bracketed within the main text)! • Books:(Cohen, 1972, p. 137) • Journals:(Grayson, 1998, p. 33) • Articles in Edited titles:(Craig, 1993, p. 25) (NB, with Harvard, the reader has to cross-reference with the Bibliography to find out the nature of the source, i.e., whether it is book, journal, other).
Referencing & Bibliographies: referencing e-based sources • This example is for web-site referencing (Cambridge) 1. Author 2. Full title of 3. The name, if document in title of the known ‘ ’ quote marks. complete work, if applicable (italics or underline)Richard Davis, ‘New Zealand Labour Government and the ALP, 1939-40’,The Electronic Journal of Australian and New Zealand History, 1996.<http://www.jcu.edu.au/aff/history/ articles/davis.htm> (5 Feb 2007). 5. The 4. Date full http address 6. The date of of publication (or (URL) your access in last revision) if within < > angle ( ) brackets known brackets
Referencing & Bibliographies: referencing e-based sources • … and if it was Harvard …In your references:(Davis, 1996)In your bibliography:Davis, Richard (1996), ‘New Zealand LabourGovernment and the ALP, 1939-40’, The ElectronicJournal of Australian and New Zealand History. <http://www.jcu.edu.au/aff/history/articles/davis.htm>(5 Feb. 2007).
Referencing & Bibliographies: Other sources • Apply the logic of conventional referencing to other sources. For example, referencing a TV documentary might follow this format:7 ‘Taking On The Taliban: the Soldiers’ Story’, Panorama, BBC documentary, first broadcast 5 Nov. 2007. • Newspapers:8 James Bloom, ‘Power from the final frontier’, Guardian ‘Technology’ section, 1 Nov. 2007, p.1. • Surveys, polls, etc.:9 Gallup poll on ‘British Attitudes to Race Relations’ (following the publication of the MacPherson Report), Apr. 1999.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Referencing primary sources • Interviews: – Referencing (Cambridge):13 Interview with Gordon Brown, MP (5 Nov. 2007).17 Interview with Matt Phillips, Communications Manager, British Phonographic Industry (16 Apr. 2006). – Referencing (Harvard): use footnotes as above, or in main text:(Interview with Gordon Brown, MP, 5 Nov. 2007)(Interview with Matt Phillips, 16 Apr. 2006). – In the bibliography:Interview with Gordon Brown, MP (5 Nov. 2007).Interview with Matt Phillips, Communications Manager, BritishPhonographic Industry (16 Apr. 2006).
Referencing & Bibliographies: Referencing primary sources • Private papers: – Referencing (Cambridge):13 L.S. Amery, 14 Jul. 1918, in Barnes, John & Nicolson, David (eds.), T he Leo Amery Diaries: vol.1, London: Hutchinson, 1980, p.226.17 Austen Chamberlain to Ida Chamberlain, 20 Jan. 1924, AC5/1/303, Birmingham University Library. – Referencing (Harvard ): use footnotes as above, or in main text:(Amery diary, 14 Jul. 1918, 226)(A. Chamberlain to Ida Chamberlain, 20 Jan. 1924, AC5/1/303) – In the bibliography:[name of collection] [location of source] L.S. Amery Barnes, John & Nicolson, David (eds.), The Leo Amery Diaries: vol.1, London: Hutchinson, 1980.Austen Chamberlain MSS Birmingham University Library.
Referencing & Bibliographies: Referencing primary sources • Public papers (government, business, etc.): – Referencing (Cambridge):13 Cabinet decision to go to war, CAB 23/100 folders 474-83; see also: FO 800/317 folder 84.17 ATOC minutes of Extraordinary General Meeting, 2 Mar. 2005. – Referencing (Harvard ): use footnotes as above, or in main text:(CAB 23/100 folders 474-83); FO 800/317 folder 84)(ATOC EGM minutes, 2 Mar. 2005) – In the bibliography:[name of collection] [location of source]Cabinet Papers (CAB) (23 series) Public Record Office, KewForeign Office (FO) (800 series) Public Record Office, KewPapers of the Association of Train ATOC Headquarters, London Operating Companies (ATOC)
Referencing & Bibliographies: Referencing primary sources • Other: – Referencing (Cambridge):13 Observations of staff interaction by author during work experience in Waitrose Product Buying department, London, 27 Jul.-17 Aug. 2007. – Referencing (Harvard ): use footnotes as above, or write in main text:… certainly no evidence of outward intimidation or bullying, during the period inwhich the current author was undertaking her work experience (27 Jul.-17 Aug.2007). – In the bibliography:Observational studies:The present author’s work experience at Waitrose Product Buying Department,London (where it was agreed with line managers that log records could betaken examining the interaction of the Asia buying team).
Plagiarism – and how to avoid it• Plagiarism is the passing off of others’ ideas or writing as if they were your own.• It is a serious offence to Plagiarise. There are serious penalties if you are found to have taken material from other sources and failed to credit them.• It is easy to accidentally commit plagiarism through error or slackness, yet the penalties for being found to have committed plagiarism are no less forgiving. – Because of the length of time involved in producing larger projects and dissertations, it is easier to accidentally commit plagiarism in these than it is with most other assignments. – This is because, if your note-taking is less than thorough, when writing up weeks or months later, you can easily forget whether ideas or words are your own or someone else’s.• So how can you guard against committing plagiarism accidentally?
Plagiarism – and how to avoid itAt note-taking / research stages:• Be thorough & focused with your research note- taking – – always record the source details at the top of the page; – Always record page number information by the side of every piece of information you record – whether you are quoting or summarising in your own words; – For any paragraphs, sentences or even phrases that you take word-for-word (for possible quotation in your work), remember to place the word-for-word information in your notes in quotation marks ‘ ’; – Always record where the idea originates and where your thoughts are your own.
Plagiarism – and how to avoid itAt the writing-up stages – referencing• Remember, referencing is all about being transparent with where you are obtaining source information: – Solid, thorough, honest referencing constitutes your primary means of conveying where you are obtaining material to build your argument – and therefore avoiding accidental plagiarism.• Get in the habit of inserting references early: – i.e., from your first-draft onwards, or … – … if this disrupts your written flow, then insert references immediately after writing your first draft; – Update your references in a similar way with each subsequent redraft;
Plagiarism – and how to avoid itAt the writing-up stages – referencing (cont.)• Be thorough, methodical & consistent with your referencing: – Many students under-use referencing. There’s nothing wrong with multiple references on a single page; – By contrast, there may be something suspicious if there are only ever 1 or 2 references per page (sections commenting purely on your own research are an exception). – Remember, you must not only reference ‘direct quotes’ (where you are using the words of others) … – … but also reference where you summarise the ideas of others in your own words. – Consistency of referencing style is important and will also help you to be sure all the required information is present.
Plagiarism – and how to avoid itAt the writing-up stage – ‘in-text signposting’• Referencing is not the only means by which you can attribute your use of evidence from other sources – and thus avoid charge of plagiarism. – You can also augment this with selected in-text attributions, where helpful for the readability of the work to do so. See ‘signposting’ the ideas of others in week 4 (Academic Writing). – Here is an example from Psychology, using Harvard:As Liverant (1960) has pointed out, we may indeedinherit an intellectual potential, but that potential willvary depending upon the environment we encounterduring development. E.Jerry Phares, Introduction to Personality, (3rd edn.), 1991, p.429
Plagiarism – and how to avoid itAt the writing-up stage – ‘in-text signposting’ – Here is another example:It is open to question whether any real understanding hadever existed between the two parties. Stephen Brookeraises this doubt in his account of the Labour Partyduring wartime, claiming that debates aboutreconstruction within the Coalition ‘invariably fell alongparty lines’ and that ‘in terms of policy and ideology Labourretained a distinctive programme’.16…_________16 Brooke, 1992, pp.9-10. Nick Ellison, ‘Consensus Here, Consensus there …’, in Jones & Kandiah (eds.), The Myth Of Consensus, 1996, p.19-20
Plagiarism – and how to avoid itAt the writing-up stage (cont.)• If you are thorough with both referencing and in-text signposting, then any information left non-attributed in your work will rightly be recognised as your own contribution to the debate – and therefore not require referencing! Top stuff!
Plagiarism – and how to avoid it• ‘Legitimised’ Plagiarism: ‘a grey area’ of ‘virtual plagiarism’ that can still land people in trouble … avoid! – Quotations of others’ work should not be an excuse to do no thinking or writing of your own. – Therefore, avoid overuse of over-large quotations. Large quotes should be an exception rather than the rule, reserved for especially important or particularly quotable information. – A bad assignment, with large chunks of quoted material – properly referenced but with minimal linking sentences of the student’s own – may not technically constitute full- blown plagiarism, but can still land students in trouble. This kind of ‘legitimised plagiarism’ should be avoided – you will not get good grades for uncritically lifting others’ views, no matter how well referenced that material is.
Plagiarism – and how to avoid it• ‘Legitimised’ Plagiarism (cont) – Most of your presentation of others’ ideas should involve summarise the point in your words, ‘flitting in and out’ of quotation as necessary. Let’s look again at the example above, with the relevant section now highlighted. See how this academic maintains effective written flow by using only selected key passages from the argument of Brooke that he is presenting in order to build his own argument.Stephen Brooke raises this doubt in his account of theLabour Party during wartime, claiming that debates aboutreconstruction within the Coalition ‘invariably fellalong party lines’ and that ‘in terms of policy andideology Labour retained a distinctive programme’.16
Focusing & writing your introduction & conclusionYour introduction:• When should I start writing my introduction?• Your Introduction should be set up to be a powerful ‘signposting’ tool, that eases the reader into your topic & explains exactly what will be looked at.• Don’t forget, an Introduction should properly ‘introduce’ the topic: – This may sound obvious, but bear in mind: – Depending on the nature of your project, there will be a range of things your Introduction should be addressing in order to be properly fulfilling in Intro function.A checklist of things your Introduction could or should do
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Focusing & writing your introduction & conclusionYour introduction:• Remember, consideration of what to include in an introduction should always be measured by whether it is helpful to include that information;• If you wish, you can use an introduction to make a bold assertion – provided you later explore and justify this in your main body.• That stated, don’t be sensationalist for the sake of it … but try to make your writing engaging to the reader.• You could open your Introduction (and, indeed, other sections) with a well-chosen quote. Stylistically this may be desirable, but only do so if you have a quote perfectly suited to the purpose.
Focusing & writing your introduction & conclusionYour introduction:• Keep your introduction to a reasonable size: – It depends greatly on what needs to be stated, but as a general rule, think between 1/7th and 1/10th of your overall written sections (e.g., excluding appendices and bibliography). – Maybe a little bigger still if your Intro contains a necessarily sizeable ‘literature review’ and/or ‘research methods’ aspects (i.e., not in separate sections)• What should I call my Introduction? – ‘Introduction’ is fine, – though you might wish to title it more specifically, i.e. ‘An introduction to …’, might do, or any other variations.
Focusing & writing your introduction & conclusionYour conclusion:• You should have a final concluding (usually fairly short) chapter in which you ‘wrap up’ your project in its entirety. This should: – Summarise / bring together all the main points you have dealt with; – stress key findings; and: – if appropriate, make recommendations (if not in its own section following: ‘Recommendations’ sections being more of a characteristic of cat. B projects) ~ A: Issue-structured (arts-humanities model) B: Experiment / survey / results-led (i.e., scientific-model)
Focusing & writing your introduction & conclusionYour conclusion:• Should I use the conclusion to introduce any new points? – No, except perhaps if you need to briefly contextualise what you have discussed as part of a wider or related issue.A checklist of things your Conclusion could or should do
Focusing & writing yourConclusion checklist (tick when/if ac& conclusion introduction hieved) f your should draw to gether the key findings o main body chapters. , where should make ove rall concluding remarks t appropriate summa rising how the differen to themes and finding s may be seen to relate one another; could benefit fro m referring back to the w the question / title, and pointing to ho d… question has succ essfully been addresse ressed: - … or rea sonably successfully add don’t claim more than your project n deserves – it’s bette r to admit its limitations (i retend a considered, academic way) than to p these don’t exist;
Focusing & writing your Conclusion chConclusion ch sh ececklistictickhehen/af & conclusion introduction hieved) klist (t ( k w w n/if i cac ould indicate h h yved owthe y ey nndrings ofieour ) k co fist shoudencew am ether an evi ld dra h tog aints on the p e coubo,dif rchapteer. d your research; rks, where main ld y elev rs would m should make to vnt, ll con en in c rema ake oaeracommclutdong hanges yot renu atppropriateunit he opport marising r ow ere yiffe sumyour reseahch wthe dou to y do rgsearch bh seen to relatevto fin t in e may t ee topic aga ha e thoulds nd d c eme aan/or p in, and/or: oint to potentia onnefit ourter;r bee an f th he l areas that wo investigarring back to the uld enefit from refe tion; ld b e could ben fit r , and epp ti the que you n how stior findin g a k w / titlfeom ‘stpoininngbtoch’oand spe d … gucitesitfuny been addresse lating as ss f c w shi ll any wider co cu que must h (this stion be re aaonasucceiesfully addressntext son sbly bly br s f and it must ed: helpf… to doaso - ul or re , othere ise noyour project be could on’t claim mo rwthay u are digressintions (in d outlin e youit’sebettem admit its limita g); r r comr tonda action.eserves – d e tionsnfor fprehend u te a considered, academic way) tha to rt r these don’t exist;
Focusing & writing your introduction & conclusionYour conclusion:• Should I present my own opinions in the Conclusion? – Yes, of course, provided … • … you write these academically; • … the points you are making are to ‘wrap up’ discussion of your topic(s), reminding the reader of your findings or bringing together points previously addressed individually; • … that it is not opinion better placed in your main sections, as part of your main body discussion – remember the Conclusion is not the only place for original thinking: it is primarily for summarising key themes & findings established in the main body.
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’• Weeks 1 & 2 concentrated on the critical analytical questioning that is essential to obtaining the best evidence to build an effective dissertation / project ~ how to get the best material from the work of others.• Critical analysis questioning must also be applied to your own work, which is as vital as critically analysing the assertions of others’.
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’– Use the following slides to routinely self- diagnose the standard of your work from your first draft onwards.– In the final stages of writing, careful critical analysis of your work is a powerful ‘troubleshooting’ tool for gauging the effectiveness of your work on multiple fronts;– Use the checkboxes to tick off ‘’ all the categories only when you feel you have reached sufficiently high standards.
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’Critical analysis is all about YOUbeing YOUR severest critic!! (you willget constructive feedback from yoursupervisor, but only you can be your bestcritic …).
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’1. ‘Structural / focus / coverage considerations’;2. ‘The academic nature of my work’;3. ‘Bibliography and referencing: technical’;4. ‘Constructive use of sources to “build an argument”’;5. ‘Readability’ & effective written communication’;6. ‘Stats and figures’;7. ‘The importance of consistency’.
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’1. ‘Structural / focus / coverage considerations’ Is the structure sensible … overall? Is the structure sensible … within each individual chapter / section? Is everything covered relevant … and in the right place? Is there appropriate fullness of coverage? Is there a sensible, logical progression through each component theme?
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’2. ‘The academic nature of my work’ Have I written in the ‘third person’ consistently throughout? To the best of my ability, does my work aspire to sound academic writing practices – i.e., attempt to be balanced, unbiased, impartial in observation & accurate in reflecting the research / views of others’?
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’2. ‘… academic nature …’ (cont) Have opportunities to introduce ‘original thinking’ have been seized upon, with arguments based on prior discussion (i.e., the literature) and defended well? Is there sufficient analytical depth to my investigation?
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’3. ‘Bibliography and referencing: technical’ Is my referencing OK: – Accurate? – Thorough? – Consistent in style throughout? … including page number or full web pathway information? Is my bibliography accurate, thorough, consistent, complete, etc..
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’4. ‘Constructive use of sources to “build an argument”’ Am I using others’ material (in my words or theirs) effectively, i.e., in order: to build / progress my arguments?, or: to compare & contrast with information/views from elsewhere?, or: to let me convey information useful to get me to a point where I can satisfy 1. or 2.; or: help me wrap up & move to the next point? … all fully credited by accurate, honest referencing?
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’4. ‘Constructive use of sources …’ (cont) Have I presented all the information & arguments correctly, fairly & accurately – with no misrepresenting of others’ ideas? Have I analysed & evaluated the source evidence fairly & with sufficient depth? Is there anything more I need to say? Have I said too much? Have I identified strengths? … weaknesses? … flaws in thinking? (If required) is my primary research well interpreted & effectively presented?
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’5. ‘Readability’ & effective written communication Have all necessary technical terms been explained (and checked for accuracy)? Have all unnecessary technical terms & jargon been replaced? Does my Introduction properly introduce? Do my main sections deliver on promises signposted in my Introduction?
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’5. ‘Readability’ & ... communication’ (cont) Is my ‘signposting’ - linking - use of connectives present and effective … within and across chapters? Does my Conclusion emphasise and draw together all my key findings from my main sections? Is there sufficient clarity throughout in terms of remembering periodically to ‘refer the reader back to the question / title’)?
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’5. ‘Readability’ & … communication’ (cont) Is there sufficient descriptive material to ensure good linking and flow between all the points I raise?; Is my paragraphing sensible (1 ‘topic sentence’ + thereafter only ‘support sentences’, per single paragraph)?; Have I achieved effective clarity of written expression: proper identification & tackling of difficult points, sentences worked & reworked to ensure any possible ambiguities or potential misunderstandings have been removed?
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’6. ‘Presenting stats and figures’ Is the chosen data always relevant? Is my diagram-based information clearly presented? Have I sufficiently commented upon (in writing) my findings, & is my analysis of the data solid/ interpretation correct? Have I presented my findings well, with no hint of ambiguity? Have I introduced appropriate cautionary / qualifying remarks?
Critical analysis of your own work: editing, proofreading, ‘troubleshooting’7. ‘The importance of Consistency’ Consistency of referencing & bibliography has been emphasised. What about: consistency of written expression / communication (throughout and within individual sections)? consistency of argument (throughout and within individual sections)? consistency of presentational style (throughout and within individual sections)?