The three core Academic writing skills


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WHAT is Academic English?
(why are language skills important) .
HOW are Academic Writing skills used?
- clarity of expression
- soundness of argument
- reader engagement

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The three core Academic writing skills

  1. 1. Today’s topic: Academic Writing Skills By Tristan Currie Contents: 1.0) What is Academic English? 2.0) Academic Writing Skills 2.1 – D -> What I should be able to do -> Classroom Activities 2.2 - R 2.3 - P 3.0) Conclusion: What this course is about
  2. 2. 1.0) What is Academic English? (why are language skills important) • Knowledge and understanding • Analytical skills • Communication • Information literacy • Learning how to learn • Practical and professional skills/development Open University – OU skills website
  3. 3. 2.0) Academic Writing skills
  4. 4. 2.1a) Drafting What I should be able to do: Plan Develop Complete Re-phrase Reference Signpost White & Arndt (1991) p.11
  5. 5. 2.1b) Drafting * Identifying signposting, inserting signposting in a text. * Dividing your work into paragraphs (structuring activity) * Creating cohesion in your writing activity * Structures for expressing purpose (infinitives of purpose etc.) * Expressing causality using sentence structure activity
  6. 6. 2.1c) Drafting – Examples : 1 2 Divide these linking words into those announcing causes and those announcing effects announce cause announce effect so that, owing to, because, therefore, due to, consequently, as There are six main ways to create cohesion: COHESIVE NOUNS Eg… SUBSTITUTION Eg… CONJUNCTION Eg… REFERENCE Eg… ELLIPSIS Eg… LEXIS Eg…
  7. 7. 2.2a) Reasoning What I should be able to do: Express abstract ideas with precision. Express complex ideas Evaluation Synthesis Analysis Focus an argument Present ideas with consistent logic. Provide sufficient evidence. Application Comprehension Knowledge Bloom (1956)
  8. 8. 2.2b) Reasoning * Use passive voice to focus on who is receiving or experiencing the action. * Changing emphasis in a sentence using adverbs & ‘fronting’ * Checking appropriate use of advanced level vocabulary * Researching usage of conjunctions (corpus concordancer) * Using modal verbs to express logical possibility
  9. 9. 2.2c)Reasoning – Examples : 1 2 Enter these conjunctions into the online concordancer at Although, even though, however, nevertheless, nonetheless, despite, in spite of, whereas, whilst, because of, due to. Answer these questions for each. Is it followed by a comma? Is it normally used at the beginning of a clause or sentence? Is it used to introduce ideas within a sentence or paragraph? What other linking words could I use this as an alternative for? The following text has one example of each of the following: - Unclear reasoning - An indirect assumption - Poor referencing technique - Speculation (claim without evidence) - Generalisation - Mixed metaphor Identify the mistakes in the sample text, then correct them.
  10. 10. 2.3a) Positioning What I should be able to do: Be succinct Academic tone, style Use subtlety Meet expectations of audience Reader feels obligation, necessity etc. Show your own point of view Eunice Yunjung Nam (2013)
  11. 11. 2.3b) Positioning * Enhancing introductions to attract and inform the reader * Improving academic tone of the language (complex noun-phrase patterns) * Using hedging and intensifiers, and transitional words and phrases * Structures for expressing purpose (infinitives of purpose) activity * Writing strong and descriptive sentences
  12. 12. 2.3c) Positioning – Examples : 1 2 Noun phrases can replace relative clauses to reduce word count in a sentence. Change the following noun + relative clause fragments into noun phrases 1. the fossils that have been newly unearthed 2. some of the radio stations that broadcast on shortwave 3. researchers who know a lot about the subject Adjectives, adverbs and verb-choice can be used to show how much you agree with a statement. It is certain that driving a car is dangerous. It is unlikely that driving a car is dangerous. It is likely that driving a car is dangerous. It is conceivable that driving a car is dangerous. It is possible that driving a car is dangerous. It is probable that driving a car is dangerous the most committed (1), to the least committed (6) to the statement in the sentence.
  13. 13. 3.0) Conclusion This class IS about: - The what AND how of good academic writing - Explain(ing) the way that the resources of language can be deployed to create different meanings needed for successful Academic writing This class is NOT about: - Grammar out of context
  14. 14. References Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of education goals by a committee of college and university examiners. David McKay. Eunice Yunjung Nam (2013) ESL 115: Principles of Academic Writing. Retrieved 15/07/2013 from R. Zak (2010) Life in Paint. Retrieved 15/07/2013 from White, R., & Arndt, V. (1991). Process writing. London: Longman. Skill for OU Study. Retrieved 15/07/2013 from