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Planning the writing process

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Planning the writing process

  1. 1. Academic Writing Academic Language Centre, English Section
  2. 2. Audience: who do you write for? - Normally: scholars in your field - In this course: your peers and your tutor - The tutorials provide you with an audience for your writing so it is absolutely essential that you do the writing tasks before you come to class - You need to give feedback to other students’ writing, and be open to feedback from others Academic Language Centre
  3. 3. Academic Writing is a complex task: As a student you need to learn two processes simultaneously: 1.Writing is a process of drafting, writing, and revising 2.Academic writing requires the use of a formal register. Academic Language Centre
  4. 4. Two Models for Writing: 1. Writing as a linear process of pre-writing, drafting, revising, fine-tuning, editing and post-writing 2. Writing as a recursive process of exploring, structuring, polishing and publishing, incubating and unloading Academic Language Centre
  5. 5. Organisation of an academic paper: - Introduction, with a thesis statement, problem statement, research question or hypothesis - Main body, with arguments arranged in a logical order - Conclusion, which addresses the statement presented in the introduction Academic Language Centre
  6. 6. Purpose and audience in Academic Writing (1): - Expository essay: aims to explain a (new) body of knowledge to the reader, using facts and statistics in a logical order, with examples. - Argumentative essay: has a debatable topic, presents arguments for and against, takes a clear position. Academic Language Centre
  7. 7. Purpose and audience in Academic Writing (2): - Scientific article: describes the results of the writer’s own research, critically reviews someone else’s research, or develops new theories on the basis of other people’s research. - Its organisation is based on the IMRD model: Introduction, Methodology, Research and Discussion Academic Language Centre
  8. 8. Characteristics of informal writing - Short, simple sentences - Phrasal verbs (to carry out), colloquial and slang expressions - Simple linking words (and, or, so, but) - Informal punctuation: !, ?,  - Contractions used (it’s, doesn’t) - Active voice (people say) - Personal tone, use of 1st person (I think) Academic Language Centre
  9. 9. Characteristics of informal writing - May not be clearly or logically organised (Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention) - Use of abbreviations (asap, fyi, etc.) Academic Language Centre
  10. 10. Characteristics of formal writing - Long, complex sentences (use relative clauses, embedded sentences, inversion) - One-word verbs of Greek or Latin origin (to conduct) - More sophisticated use of linking words and phrases (in addition to, alternatively, as a result, however, etc.) - Formal punctuation (e.g. including semi- colons) Academic Language Centre
  11. 11. Characteristics of formal writing - Full forms (does not, it is, etc.) - Passive voice (it is said) - Impersonal tone (in my opinion) - Clear organisation sign-posted by linking words; rephrasing of vocabulary items (use of synonyms / antonyms); clear referencing (this phenomenon, one of the reasons) - Words written out in full (as soon as possible, for your information) Academic Language Centre
  12. 12. British or American English? The need to be consistent British English: - Differences in vocabulary (autumn, curriculum vitae) - Differences is spelling (programme, centre, colour, realise, etc.) American English: - fall, resumé - Program, center, color, realize Academic Language Centre
  13. 13. Resources supporting academic vocabulary - www.academicvocabularyexercises.com - Academic Word List (AWL) - Lextutor - Phrasebank Apps: Advanced Learners’ Dictionary (Audio) Chambers’ Thesaurus Academic Language Centre
  14. 14. How to begin writing a paper? - Setting the goal: what type of paper? - Choose a topic: - Brainstorming: generating ideas, and then narrowing the topic to the specific perspective you would like to explore in your paper - Scope: the amount of detail will depend on the length of your paper and the knowledge of your audience. Academic Language Centre
  15. 15. Developing your topic (1): Read actively (and efficiently): 1.Read critically 2.Look at the structure of the text 3.Read the topic sentences 4.Understand and interpret the author’s message 5.Analyse how it relates to your topic 6.Develop your own response to the author’s message Academic Language Centre
  16. 16. Developing your topic (2): Take notes while you are reading, and include: Bibliographic information Sources, page numbers Paraphrase the author’s message, unless you want to quote verbatim Academic Language Centre
  17. 17. Paraphrasing: - Find synonyms using a thesaurus - Find antonyms - Change the grammar (passive to active voice, and vice versa) However, a much better strategy is to write an outline with key and supporting points, put the original away, and write down what you have understood. Academic Language Centre
  18. 18. Introduction: - gives the topic of the essay - gives (historical) background information - shows concession (although, despite) - may include a definition - may contain interesting statistics or an anecdote - usually ends with your thesis statement
  19. 19. How to begin? Strategies for “grabbing” the reader’s attention
  20. 20. Defining a word/phrase - Identify key term/phrase - Various definitions in the literature? - Define term/phrase as you will use it
  21. 21. Asking questions - Attract attention - Answer question(s)
  22. 22. Turn about - Introduce opposing idea, belief or opinion - Turn about with a “but” or “however” - Present your own point of view
  23. 23. Using an anecdote - Relevant? - Brief? - Illustrative?
  24. 24. Using quotations - Clear link with thesis? - Sums up your argument? - Illustrates your idea?
  25. 25. Reference Source: http://www.buowl.boun.edu.tr/students/the%20e This website provides useful information.
  26. 26. Planning stage (1) The thesis statement: -is the guiding main idea or hypothesis -may very well be revised later on the basis of what you have read in order to minimise or expand the scope of your paper -is generally the last sentence of your introductory paragraph expressing what you intend to prove / explain in your paper
  27. 27. Planning stage (2): The thesis statement may be: -a debatable statement (used in argumentative essays in which you try and persuade the reader to your point of view). -a non-debatable statement (used in expository and scientific articles in which you explain a situation based on facts).
  28. 28. Effective Thesis Statement: suggests your essay’s direction, emphasis and scope Widely ridiculed as escape reading, romance novels are becoming increasingly important as a proving ground for many never-before- published writers and, more significantly, as showcases for strong heroines.
  29. 29. Introduction: Organisation: from general to specific •Setting the scene: - Statements about the subject / background information - Attention grabber: question, quote, anecdote, example, staggering statistic, etc. •Thesis statement
  30. 30. The funnel method Sentence 1: broad, general statement Subsequent sentences: narrower scope, more focused. Thesis
  31. 31. Example paragraph 1 - (1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a great story that develops around the legend of the Sorcerer’s Stone, a long sought after substance that would transform any metal into gold and bestow immortality. (2) In telling the story of the Sorcerer’s Stone, the novel also touches on many universal themes, such as overcoming difficulties, dealing with conflict, relating to authority and learning new ideas. (3) Choosing just three themes to analyze from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was a difficult task because so many themes are fully developed in the novel. (4) However, the three significant themes that I chose to explain from the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone novel are the power of love, the importance of friendship, and courage on the hero’s journey. (source: http://academicenglishcafe.com/ModelEssay5.aspx)
  32. 32. Thesis statement (in bold) - (1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a great story that develops around the legend of the Sorcerer’s Stone, a long sought after substance that would transform any metal into gold and bestow immortality. (2) In telling the story of the Sorcerer’s Stone, the novel also touches on many universal themes, such as overcoming difficulties, dealing with conflict, relating to authority and learning new ideas. (3) Choosing just three themes to analyze from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was a difficult task because so many themes are fully developed in the novel. (4) However, the three significant themes that I chose to explain from the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone novel are the power of love, the importance of friendship, and courage on the hero’s journey.
  33. 33. Example paragraph 2 - (1) Assignment essays are developed from set questions that give students a period of time to research a topic and produce their answer with references to their sources of information. (2) While there are some disadvantages with using assignment essays as an assessment tool, there are sound educational purposes underpinning this practice. (3) This essay examines the reasons why assignment essays are beneficial for student learning and considers some of the problems with this method of assessment. (source: http://www.une.edu.au/tlc/aso/aso-online/academic- writing/sample-essay.php)
  34. 34. Thesis statement (in bold) - (1) Assignment essays are developed from set questions that give students a period of time to research a topic and produce their answer with references to their sources of information. (2) While there are some disadvantages with using assignment essays as an assessment tool, there are sound educational purposes underpinning this practice. (3) This essay examines the reasons why assignment essays are beneficial for student learning and considers some of the problems with this method of assessment. (source: http://www.une.edu.au/tlc/aso/aso-online/academic- writing/sample-essay.php)

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