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What are your concerns about academic writing?
• What is academic writing like?
• How does it differ from the types of writing I do in
Academic Writing Style
Read each of the extracts and decide whether they include the
• Subject specific words
• Formal tone/language
• Examples of writing in the third person
Writing Style – Activity
Compare the following extracts from essays.
1. Which extract is a better example of critical writing?
2. What features are more apparent in the better extract?
The style of writing you will be expected to use for
academic work is likely to be different to other styles you
use every day.
Think b4 u rite! :>)
Avoid shortened forms:
•Shouldn't, it's for it is
Avoid popular phrases or cliches such as:
•at the end of the day; in a nutshell; when it comes to the
•Replace with: finally, in summary, in a crisis
Avoid casual everyday words such as really, okay, maybe.
Academic essays should be written in a formal style. Avoid:
• clichés ("the flaws in this argument stand out like a sore
• contractions ("don't", "aren't", "it's")
• phrases that sound like speech ("well, this bit is really
• subjective descriptions ("this beautiful sculpture")
• where possible use the third person (“it can be argued”
rather than “I think”)
Academic writing – including evidence and
your own ideas
A suggestion on how you can construct a paragraph
that includes evidence and your own ideas:
• Introduce your point (your own words)
• Add the evidence to support your point (quoted or
paraphrased evidence that needs to be referenced)
• Explain how and why this evidence supports your
point and what you think of it (your own
interpretation and critical thinking)
• Explain how the point helps answer the question
(your own argument)
Academic writing is clearly structured.
A clear structure is important for several reasons:
• It is the framework around which you construct
• It enables you to present your material in a
coherent, logical manner.
• It gives your work a sense of direction and aides the
flow of your writing
Planning and structuring
• Answering the‘question’ (Essay Title)
Is the question open-ended or closed?
Underline key words
Try breaking the question down into sub-questions
Set the question in context – how does it fit with the key
issues, debates and controversies in your module and
your subject as a whole? An essay question often asks
about a specific angle or aspect of one of these key
debates. If you understand the context it makes your
understanding of the question clearer.
Planning and structuring
Introduction: Address the question, show why it's
interesting and how you will answer it.
Main Body: Build your argument. Put your groups of ideas
in a sequence to make a persuasive argument. One main
point in each paragraph.
Conclusion: Summarise your arguments and evidence, and
show how they answer the original question.
Essay - Activity
In small groups, read through an example essay.
Look for the following features:
Referencing is the acknowledgment of all the sources you have cited in
your assignments, whether you have quoted directly or paraphrased.
The Harvard system uses the author – date method; the references in
the assignment text are given in brackets and the list of sources is given
in a bibliography (or reference list), attached to the assignment.
Referencing enables you to:
• show you have researched your topic, for example, articles, books,
reference works and electronic resources;
• direct your readers to the information you have used;
• avoid plagiarism.
Totraku’s, (2014) study set out with the
aim of assessing the importance of
group working skills in the learning
Direct reference - short
This finding corroborates the ideas of Burton and Turvey (2014),
who suggested that “In successful groups all students equally
contributed towards the final product.” (p35)
Setting ground rules and expectations can help to facilitate a
shared sense of responsibility. Although people will sometimes
have different viewpoints it is how that conflict is handled which
“determines whether it works to the team's advantage, or
contributes to its demise.” (Bundock, 2014, p19.)
Direct reference - long
Wiliam's (2008) views on the benefits of learners working in
group situations and the importance of group goals and
individual accountability is clearly recognised in Bundock’s
review of the literature. However, there is an inconsistency
with her argument as William points out:
Within-class grouping also makes little difference, because
what really matters is not how students are grouped. It’s
what happens in the groups, and that depends crucially
on the quality of the teacher.
(William, 2014, p201)
References (not bibliography)
• Just include those references you’ve included in your
• List all references in alphabetical order according to
• Don’t separate out books, journals, web sites etc
Totraku, P. (2014) Succeeding in academic
essays Brighton: Bracken Publishing
Read: Guidelines for the Use of References. Student Central >
my school: BA Primary education>School of Education
handbook for students teachers 2013-2014 > section 5.1
Within the two hour allotted time, each member of the group
must prepare and then present a 5 minute presentation on
one of the following areas:
Planning an assignment – strategies
Structuring your assignment – approaches
Use of academic language to frame your writing
Proof reading strategies
• Before Friday 15th of November you will need to upload onto
Pebblepad, in the Support Tutor folder, a 500 word piece of
academic writing titled “Strategies for effective group work”
• In w/c 25th of November you will meet with your support tutor for a
second time. They will have read a selection of your work and will
provide general feedback.
Assessment task 1
• In response to this feedback you will reflect on your writing and
prepare an academic action plan, together with the steps you need
to take to improve in this area. This will form the first assessment
task for this module and will need to be available for EP404 tutors to
view via Pebblepad no later than 6/12/13. This will be marked on a
Pass/Fail basis and returned to you by 17/1/14
• It will posses an academic tone
• It will make sense, be accurately
punctuated and spelt correctly
• Your ideas and points will be supported
by drawing on and making reference to
your reading and personal experience.
• It will demonstrate your ability to use the
Harvard reference system
• It will be critical rather than overly