Advanced Models of Academic Writing - Ms Anne Taib


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Part of the HDR Development Seminar Series, Ms Anne Taib presented the following workshop on these topic areas: Advanced academic writing; The standard thesis story…; Where are you up to?; Focus on stylistic revision & close scrutiny; Producing a reader-friendly text; Developing a PhD voice that is authoritative, engaging and original through; Text Format Activity: Considering the Table of Contents; Text Structure (global); Reviewing the LR; Additional structural considerations; Text structure (local): Three elements; Academic meta-discourse; Being critically reflective; Critiquing studies; Tense choice as a feature of meta-discourse; Tense in reporting verbs; Citing Previous Research; Voice and stance; Writing the introduction; Toward the end, expect over-familiarity; Central unity can also be affected by; Want to know more?

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Advanced Models of Academic Writing - Ms Anne Taib

  1. 1. Workshop :Advanced Models of Academic Writing
  2. 2. The workshop will explore: Skills Knowledge Attitude Awareness
  3. 3. The standard thesis story…1. There is a topic/issue/problem that I want to address2. This is what is currently known or thought about this topic and related topics that we should consider3. My project extends knowledge of this topic/addresses the problem by doing ……..4. More particularly, I did X, Y, Z in the following manner … because…5. I found out…6. These findings advance previous knowledge of the topic in a number of important ways…7. This is how the topic/problem has been addressed. Further study would examine….ACTIVITY:Talk about some of these points in your group. Language and Learning Skills Unit 3
  4. 4. Activity: Where are you up to?Planning draft Review draft Near-final draftThis is a draft to clarify what This is a well This is a draft that isinformation needs to be presented organised draft that ready for stylisticand what is the best way to present results from revision and closeit. It can be: comments on the scrutiny. ‘Planning draft’ ora) a draft written to discover what the from previous It should not bewriter thinks, or discussions. reworked in major ways unless it hasb) a set of tables/figures plus dot It is subject to significant omissions.points of proposed ‘take-home ongoing revisionsmessages’ from the data for learning purposes.c) it is primarily a learning documentthat is not ready for detailed review orclose editing.
  5. 5. Workshop Outline Introduction Where are you up to? Stylistic revision and close scrutiny Text format – Considering the Table of contents Test structure – (global) – Revisiting the LR Text structure – (local) – Meta-discourse features Ensuring a critically reflective style Some considerations for writing the introduction Central unity
  6. 6. Focus on stylistic revision & close scrutiny
  7. 7. Producing a reader-friendly textTEXT DESIGN: Text formatThe ways in which written information is visually presented including page layout, headings, spacing, white space, typographical cues e.g. font, boldface. italics Text structureSystem of arrangement of ideas in a text and the nature of the relationship of the ideas at both a global level (higher level ideas across a whole section) and at the local level (within and between sentences.) Spatial aidsDiagrams, graphs, charts, pictures, illustrations, and images. These can be powerful in augmenting the text. 4 October 2012 7
  8. 8. Developing a PhD voice that is authoritative, engaging and original through:What you say - content – What is your topic and why is it significant? – How does your research contribute to knowledge? – What are the outcomes and implications of your research?How you say it - form – What are the requirements of academic writing? – Are there particular conventions within your discipline? – What choices can you make regarding expression of ideas/data and organisation of material?
  9. 9. Text Format Activity:Considering the Table of ContentsCompare the examples given and discuss:1. Does the organisation make sense to you?2. Do the heading titles indicate clearly what is in each section?3. How do the styles differ?4. Which do you find easiest to read?5. How do these compare with your own Table of Contents draft? 4 October 2012 9
  10. 10. ACTIVITY: Text Structure ( global)Discuss your treatment of the literature review with your group. 10
  11. 11. Reviewing the LR Does the Literature Review: •present relevant research • synthesise research • analyse sources thoroughly • organise themes and trends • identify questions that need further research • establish a theoretical framework • clarify important definitions/terminology 4 October 2012 11
  12. 12. Additional structural considerations 1. Does your LR reflect what has already been done in your research field? 2. How have you ordered your discussion?chronologically, thematically, conceptually, methodologically or a combination? 3. How do the various studies relate? 4. How are their contributions and limitations described? - Your choice and weighting will demonstrate your understanding. 5. Have you structured your discussion to ensure a critical approach.
  13. 13. Text structure (local)Three elements•explicit organisation of the discourse•engagement of the audience•signalling the writers attitude 13
  14. 14. Academic meta-discourse"Meta-discourse refers to aspects of a text whichexplicitly organise the discourse, engage the audienceand signal the writers attitude. Its use by writers toguide readers and display an appropriate professionalpersona is an important aspect of persuasivewriting"(Hyland, 1998).Use of meta-discourse - evident across a range ofdisciplines, although the interactional resources areused less frequently in science based writing than inthe social sciences. Understanding and masteringthese three elements will assist your students in writingtheir theses.
  15. 15. Discuss Hyland’s model of meta-discourse.Apply to a paragraph from one of the thesisexamples with members from your group.
  16. 16. Being critically reflective
  17. 17. Critiquing studiesHow does the author approach your topic?How does his/her approach/argument/methodrelate to existing literature in the field? different, special, unusual, new valuable problematic about his/her approach?In spite of its weaknesses, how or what doesthis work add to your argument or methodology ?Handout: Managing PG Study Booklet (pp. 10-15)
  18. 18. Tense choice as a feature of meta-discourseObserve the following:1.“Barlow and Clark (2002) point out …”2.“Barlow and Clark (2002) have pointed out …”3.“Barlow and Clark (2002) pointed out …”What are the differences between these three examples? • By using the present tense you indicate that you agree with the statement • Using the present perfect indicates a slight difference between your position and that of the statement • The past tense demonstrates a greater degree of distance
  19. 19. Tense in reporting verbsYour voice can be expressed through selected reporting verbs andalso the employed tense: Examples: “Traditional behaviourists believe that language learning is the result of imitation, practice, feedback on success, and habit formation”. Or “Traditional behaviourists believed that language learning is the result of imitation, practice, feedback on success, and habit formation”. (Brick, p. 113)
  20. 20. Citing Previous ResearchTwo broad approaches to referencing other authors:1. you can focus either on the information provided by the author, or2. on the author him/her self - this is known as information or author prominent statements: Wills (2010) states …. It was stated (Wills, 2010, p. 13)How does the choice of either author prominent or information prominent impact upon the writing?
  21. 21. Voice and stanceWhy is the expression of stance important?1. to evaluate other texts, and by doing so2. to persuade the examiner of – the value and relevance of your argument – your authority/credibility as a researcher What kind of ‘voice’ and mode of address are most appropriate for the discipline and/or paradigm of research? Should ‘I’ be used with an active verb, or is the passive voice preferred? How much jargon is conventional? What about informal expression?
  22. 22. Although this research has been useful in terms ofshowing links between negotiations and comprehension,it has come under increasing criticism by a number ofscholars. Some (e.g. Faerch & Kasper, 1986;Sharwood Smith, 1986) criticise the interactionhypothesis itself, particularly the strong version of thishypothesis which lays claim to the link betweencomprehension and acquisition. The lack ofconclusive findings to show that interaction lead toacquisition, and evidence that comprehensible input isinsufficient for successful second language acquisition,as in the case of the immersion programs (Swain, 1985),add weight to these criticisms.Others (e.g. Donato, 1988) criticise the studies basedon the interaction hypothesis because … A majorproblem with experimental students as Mercer (1995, p.94) points out is that…
  23. 23. However, perhaps the most serious criticism leveled at thenegotiation studies is related to how language is viewed inthese studies, and indeed in the interaction hypothesis.Writers such as Ahmed (1994), Donato (1988) and Lantolf(1998) argue that by seeing interaction only in terms of anattempt to clarify input, and by analysing the learner’s talkonly for a certain type of interaction moves, these studiesignore the fact that language is a tool which mediateslearning and social relations (Firth & Wagner, 1997). Donato(1988) points out that negotiation studies seem to assumethat all small groups/pairs behave in the same way or that thenature of pair relations does not affect learning outcomes.Another assumption made by these studies is that thelearners prime goal in the interaction is to process input. Yet,as Donato (1988) points out the learners’ goals in thesestudies are never actually investigated.
  24. 24. Writing the introduction  Three activities:  Handout  Typical moves in thesis Introductions – Paltridge, B & Starfield, J  Discuss examples
  25. 25. Toward the end, expect over-familiarity Evans (p.51) has identified the ‘95 per cent’ syndrome Over the course of your research you become so familiar and expert with the literature and issues related to your study, you assume your reader (examiner) is equally as familiar with the ‘fine detail’ of your field (WRONG!) Many students can write-up their results or conclusions in 3 pages or less (5%) and struggle to generate the required length because they have forgotten what they didn’t know at the beginning of the research (95%)
  26. 26. Central unity can also be affected by:  Dissonance between particular research questions posed and research done / answers provided  Being convinced you are doing X, but appearing to be doing Y  Overestimating what your study can ‘do’, e.g.: – ‘My study will teach teachers how to create in the student internal and intrinsic motivation to learn’ – Which became a study of - ‘the effects of students’ attitudes toward school when competition for grades was removed’ (Gunzel 1993).
  27. 27. Want to know more? 4 October 2012 27
  28. 28. COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA Copyright Regulations 1969 WARNINGThis material has been reproduced and communicated to you by or on behalf of Monash University pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction or communication of this material by you may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act. Do not remove this notice.