Writing descriptively part 2


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Writing Descriptively - part 2
Describing processes, including charts and diagrams, classifying/categorizing, reporting

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Writing descriptively part 2

  1. 1. Writing DescriptivelyPart 2 - describing processes, including charts and diagrams,classifying/categorizing, reportingwoensdag 12 juni 2013
  2. 2. Describing processesItʼs often necessary to describe processes: how things aredone or made. These could be products or laws, for example.On the following slides is a description of the PDCA (Plan DoCheck Act) problem-solving cycle. The PDCA cycle is aproblem-solving technique often used in quality control. Noticethat as the text is about the cycle and how it works, when youwrite about processes in this way the passive form of the verb(are solved, is consolidated) is used. This is because in thistype of writing, the focus is usually on the process rather thanon the people doing the work. In this case, the present tenseis used as the procedure is still commonly made use of.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  3. 3. Describing processesThe PDCA cyclePlan GoCheckActDefineMeasureAnalyzeImproveControlFigure 7.3 (a) the plan-do-check-act or ʻDemingʼ improvementcycle, and (b) the define-measure-analyse-improve-control orDMAIC Six sigma improvement cycle(a) (b)woensdag 12 juni 2013
  4. 4. Describing processesThe PDCA cycle model is shown in figure [7.3]. It starts with the P (forplan) stage, which involves an examination of the current method or theproblem area being studied. This involves collecting and analyzing data soas to formulate a plan or action which is intended to improve performance.Once the plan for improvement had been agreed, the next step is the D(for do) stage. This is the implementation stage during which the plan istried out in the operation. This stage may involve a mini-PDCA cycle asthe problems of implementation are resolved. Next comes the C (forcheck) stage, where the new implemented solution is evaluated to seewhether it has resulted in the expected performance improvement. Finally,at least for this cycle, comes the A (for act) stage. During this stage thechange is consolidated or standardized if it has been successful.Alternatively, if the change has not been successful, the lessons learnedfrom the ʻtrialʼ are formalized before the trial starts again.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  5. 5. Describing processesThe cycle consists of four clear stages, which are explicitly referred to withthe following phrases:It starts with ...The next step ...Next ...Finally...woensdag 12 juni 2013
  6. 6. Describing processesThe stages are also connected with linking words or phrases, which youcan make use of, such as:Once a plan for improvement has been agreed, ...This is the implementation stage during which ...During this stage, ... .Also, make sure that you make the time sequence clear with words suchas:firstlynextsubsequentlywoensdag 12 juni 2013
  7. 7. Describing processesInstructionsMake sure you describe how the process works rather than just giveinstructions. As a student, you will often need to read and understandinstructions - for example in a laboratory manual or an assignment briefingsheet - but you will probably not need to write them very often. So makesure you distinguish between them in your writing. Instructions are tellingsomeone how to do something and descriptions are describing howsomething happens or happened.Instructions can be given in many ways. A numbered list with theimperative form of the verb is one common way. Continuous text using thepassive form of the verb with should is also common. Look at the followingexample of one method of giving instructions. Notice the highlightedlanguage items:woensdag 12 juni 2013
  8. 8. Describing processesCleaningThe following steps should be followed when cleaning objects in a hospital.1. Rinse the article with cold water to remove organic material. Hot water coagulatesthe protein of organic material and tends to make it adhere. Examples of organicmaterial are blood and pus.2. Wash the article in hot water and soap. The emulsifying action of soap reducessurface tension and facilitates the removal of substances. Washing dislodges theemulsified substances.3. Use an abrasive, such as a stiff-bristled brush, to clean equipment with grooves andcorners. Friction helps dislodge foreign material.4. Rinse the article well with warm or hot water.5. Dry the article; it is now considered clean.6. Clean the brush and sink. These are considered soiled until they are cleanedwoensdag 12 juni 2013
  9. 9. Describing processesTIP:Make sure you describe when you should be describing. Do not justgive instructions.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  10. 10. Describing processesSequenceSequence, or order, is important in describing processes. The followingtable shows some common expressions that you can use to indicatesequences.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  11. 11. Describing processesFirst, The first step is ...To begin with, .. begins with ...Initially, ... commences with ...Beforehand, Before this,At the same time, During...Secondly, Thirdly, etc. After this,Next, The next step is to ...Subsequently, In the following stage,Later, Following this,Lastly, ... finishes with ...Finally, ... concludes with ...In the last stage The last step is to ...woensdag 12 juni 2013
  12. 12. Describing processesFor example:The company first gains a full understanding of the marketplace. Itsubsequently designs a customer-driven marketing strategy.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  13. 13. Describing processesYou may also want to explain how something is done:... slowly/carefully... with care/precision... in a careful way/manner... by researching ...For example:The company first gains full understanding of the marketplace byresearching customer needs and managing marketing information.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  14. 14. Describing processesTIP:Always check that your sequence of actions is clear.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  15. 15. Including chart and diagramsIt is often useful when you are describing objects, systems or processes toinclude reference to tables and charts.Look at the following text. Notice how Figure 7.5 is explicitly referred to inthe written text and also notice the language that is used there. Forexample, Figure 7.5 shows ...woensdag 12 juni 2013
  16. 16. Including chart and diagrams020004000600080001998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009Sales $Figure 7.5 Sales of notebook computers per yearwoensdag 12 juni 2013
  17. 17. Including chart and diagramsFig 7.5 shows sales of notebook computers per month. As can be seen, itcovers the years between 1998 and 2008 and shows that the sales ofnotebook computers increased steadily in the first two years, thenremained steady from 2000 until 2004. The sales then rose steeply,throughout 2005 and 2006, with a rapid increase at the end of 2007, andreached a peak of 8000 in January 2007. A Sharp fall followed in the firsthalf of 2007 but sales leveled off at about 7000 per month in the middle ofthe year. Sales fluctuated slightly through the second half of 2007 and arenow increasing again. The figures strongly indicate that we haverecovered from the problems in early 2007 and are on target to improve onour 2007 peak by the end of 2008.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  18. 18. Including chart and diagramsIn such cases, you do not simply add the visual to the text: you usuallyinclude some kind of comment or analyses as shown in the text.Typically, when you are referring to charts and diagrams, you will:• make an explicit reference to the diagram or chart• draw the readers attention to important features and describe them• add some kind of comment which will depend on your purpose in includingthe diagram in your writing.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  19. 19. Including chart and diagramsHere is some language that you might find useful when you are referring tocharts and diagrams.As can be seen from figure 7.5, the sales of notebook computers increasedsteadily in the first two years.As can be seenfromintable 1,Figure 2,Graph 3,...It can be seenWe can seefromintable 1,Figure 2,Graph 3,...woensdag 12 juni 2013
  20. 20. Including chart and diagramsFrom Figure 7.5, it can be seen that the sales of notebook computersincreased steadily in the first two years.FromTable 1Figure 2Table 1Figure 2itcanmaybeseenconcludedshownestimatedcalculatedinferred...Fromthefigureschartdiagramitcanmaybeseenconcludedshownestimatedcalculatedinferred...woensdag 12 juni 2013
  21. 21. Including chart and diagramsFigure 7.5 shows sales of notebook computers per month.The graphFigure 1shows ...woensdag 12 juni 2013
  22. 22. Including chart and diagramsIf you want to comment on trends and developments shown in graphs, thefollowing phrases may also be of useThere was a(very)slightsteadydramaticsteeprise.increase.There was a(very)slightsteadydramaticsteepfluctuation.There was a(very)slightsteadydramaticsteep decline.reduction.drop.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  23. 23. Including chart and diagramsSalesPriceExportsetc.increasedgrewroseslightly.gradually.steadily.markedly.dramatically.sharply.suddenly.SalesPriceExportsetc.declineddroppedfellslightly.gradually.steadily.markedly.dramatically.sharply.suddenly.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  24. 24. Including chart and diagramsTIP:Do not forget to label your diagrams and make sure your refer tothem clearly in your own text.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  25. 25. Classifying/categorizingWhen you classify, you arrange things into groups according to certain criteria.For example, if you take the following list:Physics Chemistry Biology English History ArtIt is quite clear that all the words are school subjects but some are sciencesubjects and some are arts subjects. As there are only arts subjects andscience subjects it is simple to divide the list into two:When you are classifying, you need to explain what you are classifying and onwhat basis you are making your classification - your criterion or criteria. In thiscase the school subjects according to whether or not they are sciencesubjects or arts subjects.Physics, Chemistry, Biology AND English, History, Artwoensdag 12 juni 2013
  26. 26. Classifying/categorizingThe following text is classifying the different powers in governments. Noticehow the powers are classified into three types, depending on who holds thepower. The different powers are then described.The separation of powersOne of the fundamental principles underlying our constitution is that of theseparation of powers. According to this principle, developed by the eighteenth-century French philosopher Montesquieu, all state power can be divided intothree types: executive, legislative and judicial. The executive represents whatwe would call the Government and its servants, such as the police and civilservants; legislative power is Parliament; and judicial authority is exercised bythe judges.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  27. 27. Classifying/categorizingIn the next example, financial assets are divided into two groups, dependingon whether they are short term or long term.The classification of assetsAssets may be categorized as being either current or non-current....Current assets are basically assets that are held for the short term....Non-current assets (also called fixed assets) are simply assets that do notmeet the definition of current assets. Generally speaking, they are held forlong term operations.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  28. 28. Classifying/categorizingTIP:Make sure the basis of your qualification is always clear, i.e. yourcriteria are clearly stated.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  29. 29. Classifying/categorizingThe table below show some of the most common language that you canuse in text which have classification as their purpose.You can then follow this sentence with a description of the different groups.Therearetwotypeskindsclassescategoriessortsvarietiesofassets:current and non-current.. These are current and non-current.Thetwotypeskindsclassescategoriessortsvarietiesofassetsare current and non-current.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  30. 30. ReportingIn any writing you do, you might also have to report on how somethingcame into being or how something was done. Read the following text, froma law textbook, and notice how the text is organized and the language thatis used. You will notice that the text starts with a one-sentence introductionto put the narrative in context. It then provides a chronological (time-order)history of the formation of the European Union. It finishes with a predictionabout the future.Before discussing the role of the EU in European law, the text provides ashort history of the EU.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  31. 31. ReportingThe European Union (EU) currently comprises 27 western Europeancountries. The original members - France, Germany, Belgium,Luxembourg, Italy and the Netherlands - laid the foundations in 1951,when they created the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Sixyears later, they signed the treaty of Rome, creating the EuropeanEconomic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community(Euratom). The original six were joined by the UK, Ireland and Denmark in1973, Greece in 1981 and Spain and Portugal in 1986 and, in the sameyear, the member countries signed the Single European Act, whichdeveloped the free movement of goods and people within the community(the single market), and greater political unity. Finland, Austria and Swedenjoined in 1995. Following the Nice summit in 2004, the EU increased itsmembership from 15 to 27 in 3004 with most of the new members comingfrom eastern Europe.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  32. 32. ReportingIn 1993 the Maastricht Treaty renamed the European EconomicCommunity the European community and the European Economic Treatywas renamed the European Treaty. It also created the European Union(EU), which is likely to become the most important body in Europe and sowill be the label that we will refer to in this book.When you write such a report you will normally organize your textchronologically and use the past tense (laid, created, signed, ...). Whenyou are writing about past events in this way, it is necessary the be explicitabout the order in which things happened. To make the order clear, youshould mention dates and times, and also use various links andconnections.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  33. 33. ReportingHere are some phrases you can use to refer to time:In 1981, ...During the 20th century, ...Yesterday, ...Twenty five years ago, ...woensdag 12 juni 2013
  34. 34. ReportingHere are some phrases you can use to make your sequence clear:As with describing processes, make sure you distinguish between givinginstructions - that is, telling someone how to do something - and reporting -that is describing what you did or how something happened.Before this, ...For the previous Xyears, ...Prior to this, ...Previously, ...X years previously, ...When ..., ...As soon as ..., ...For the following X years, ...While ..., ...During this period, ...Throughout this period ...X years later, ...After ...Following this , ...Subsequently, ...Soon/shortly/immediatelyafterwards, ...woensdag 12 juni 2013
  35. 35. ReportingThe methods section of an experimental report typically uses the passivevoice (were taught, were selected, were excluded) as in the examplebelow.MethodTwo groups of students in Higher Education on a one-year Pre-MastersEnglish for Academic Purposes course, each comprising 50 students, weretaught academic writing by different methods and compared. In each groupthere were 50 students from 5 different academic departments - computerscience, business, engineering, life science and law - and four differentcountries - China, Japan, Korea and Thailand. The subjects were selectedfrom the second semester of the University of Herfordshire Pre-MastersProgram in the 2007-2008 academic year.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  36. 36. ReportingThe subjects were selected from the 250 students on the Pre-MastersProgram on the basis of performance at a satisfactory level in theSemester A examination. Students who had performed below the minimumlevel on the Semester A examination were excluded. This criterion wasemployed to ensure competent understanding of the tasks and adequatemotivation.One group - Group A - studied English writing in the traditional way in classwith a teacher. This class met 2 hours each week in a classroom for 12weeks and was supplemented with written homework assignments givenby the teacher each week. The second group - Group B - met together in aclass with a teacher for one hour per week for 12 weeks and wereassigned a homework task of spending one hour per week doing exercisesfrom a website.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  37. 37. ReportingBoth groups A and B were given the same written examination at the endof the semester. The students took the examination under standarduniversity examination conditions as part of their end of semesterexamination. The tests were marked using the following categories: taskachievement, communicative quality, organization, ideas, content andrelevance and grammar and vocabulary, by two experienced writingexaminers and moderated in the standard way to ensure reliability. In thisway it was possible to see the relationship between studentsʼ mainacademic subjects, and the improvement in their writing ability dependingon the teaching method.woensdag 12 juni 2013
  38. 38. ReportingTIP:Make sure your sequence is clear and that you are reporting, notgiving instructions.woensdag 12 juni 2013