How to achieve Academic writing

how to writing an academic essay and how to approach academic writing and how to teach academic writing skills and how to improve academic writing skills for ielts
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HelenaColins,New Zealand,Professional
Published Date:06-07-2017
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CHAPTER 1EEE 2 Background to 3 1.1 4 5 writing 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 EEE3 4 5 62222 7 Most academic courses assess students through written 82 assignments. These include coursework, which may take weeks 9 to write, and exam answers, which often have to be written in an 20 1 hour or less. This unit deals with: 2 • The names of different writing tasks 3 4 • The format of long and short writing tasks 5EEE • The use of sentences and paragraphs 6 7 8 9 1 The purpose of academic writing 30 Writers should be clear why they are writing. The most common reasons 1 for writing include: 2 3 • to report on a piece of research the writer has conducted 4 • to answer a question the writer has been given or chosen 5 • to discuss a subject of common interest and give the writer’s view 6 7 • to synthesise research done by others on a topic 8 9  Can you suggest any other reasons? 40 • 1 In all cases it is useful to bear in mind the likely readers of your work. 2 How can you explain your ideas to them effectively? Although there is no 36222 4 Part 1 The writing process fixed standard of academic writing, it is clearly different from the written style of newspapers or novels. Similarly, it is generally agreed that academic writing attempts to be accurate and objective. What are its other features?  Working alone or in a group, list your ideas below. • Impersonal style ____________________________________________________________ • ____________________________________________________________ • ____________________________________________________________ • ____________________________________________________________ 2 Common types of academic writing Below are the most common types of written work produced by students.  Match the terms on the left to the definitions on the right. Notes A piece of research, either individual or group work, with the topic chosen by the student(s). Report The longest piece of writing normally done by a student (20,000+ words) often for a higher degree, on a topic chosen by the student. Project A written record of the main points of a text or lecture, for a student’s personal use. Essay A general term for any academic essay, report, presentation or article. Dissertation/ A description of something a student has done Thesis e.g. conducting a survey. Paper The most common type of written work, with the title given by the teacher, normally 1000–5000 words. 5 1.1 Background to writing 1EEE 3 The format of long and short writing tasks 2 3 Short essays (including exam answers) generally have this pattern: 4 5 Introduction 6 7 Main body 8 Conclusion 9 10 1 Longer essays may include: 2 EEE3 Introduction 4 5 Main body 62222 Literature review 7 Case study 82 Discussion 9 Conclusion 20 References 1 Appendices 2 3 4 See Units 4.3 Reports, case studies and literature reviews  5EEE and 4.5 Writing longer essays 6 7 Dissertations and journal articles may have: 8 9 Abstract 30 List of contents 1 List of tables 2 Introduction 3 4 Main body 5 Literature review 6 Case study 7 Findings 8 Discussion 9 Conclusion 40 Acknowledgements 1 References 2 Appendices 36222 6 Part 1 The writing process  Find the words in the lists above that match the following definitions: (a) A short summary of 100–200 words, which explains the paper’s purpose and main findings. __________________________________________________________ (b) A list of all the sources the writer has mentioned in the text. __________________________________________________________ (c) A section, at the end, where additional information is included. __________________________________________________________ (d) A short section where people who have helped the writer are thanked. __________________________________________________________ (e) Part of the main body in which the writer discusses relevant research. __________________________________________________________ (f) A section where one particular example is described in detail. __________________________________________________________ 4 The features of academic writing There is considerable variation in the format of academic writing required by different schools and departments. Your teachers may give you guide- lines, or you should ask them what they want. But some general features apply to most formats.  Read the text below and identify the features underlined, using the words in the box. sentence heading sub-title paragraph title phrase (a) A fishy story (b) Misleading health claims regarding omega-3 fatty acids (c) Introduction 7 1.1 Background to writing (d) There has been considerable discussion recently about the 1EEE benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. (e) It is claimed that 2 these reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and may even 3 combat obesity. Consequently food producers have added 4 omega-3s to products ranging from margarine to soft drinks in 5 6 an attempt to make their products appear healthier and hence 7 increase sales. 8 (f) However, consumers may be unaware that there are two types 9 of omega-3s. The best (long-chain fatty acids) are derived from 10 fish, but others (short-chain fatty acids) come from cheaper 1 sources such as soya. This latter group have not been shown 2 to produce the health benefits linked to the long-chain variety. EEE3 According to Tamura et al. (2009) positive results may only be 4 obtained either by eating oily fish three times a week, or by 5 taking daily supplements containing 500mg of 62222 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). 7 (a) __________________________________________________________ 82 9 (b) __________________________________________________________ 20 (c) __________________________________________________________ 1 2 (d) __________________________________________________________ 3 (e) __________________________________________________________ 4 5EEE (f) __________________________________________________________ 6 7 8 9 5 Some other common text features 30 1 (a) Reference to sources using citation: 2 According to Tamura et al. (2009) 3 (b) The use of abbreviations to save space: 4 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) 5 (c) Italics: used to show words from other languages: 6 Tamura et al. (= and others) 7 8 (d) Brackets: used to give subsidiary information or to clarify a point: 9 . . . but others (short-chain fatty acids) come from cheaper sources such 40 as soya. 1 2 36222 8 Part 1 The writing process 6 Simple and complex sentences  Study the table below. Annual vehicle production 2005–9 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 135,470 156,935 164,820 159,550 123,075 All sentences contain verbs: In 2005 the company produced over 135,000 vehicles. Between 2005 and 2006 vehicle production increased by 20 per cent. Simple sentences are easier to write and read, but complex sentences are also needed in academic writing. However, students should make clarity a priority, and avoid writing very complex sentences until they feel confident in their ability.Complex sentences contain conjunctions, relative pronouns or punctuation, which link the clauses: In 2005 the company produced over 135,000 vehicles but between 2005 and 2006 production increased by 20 per cent. Over 164,000 vehicles were produced in 2007; by 2009 this had fallen to 123,000.  Write two simple and two complex sentences using data from the table above. (a) __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ (b) __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ (c) __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ (d) __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ 9 1.1 Background to writing 1EEE 7 Writing in paragraphs 2 3  Discuss the following questions: 4 What is a paragraph? 5 6 Why are texts divided into paragraphs? 7 How long are paragraphs? 8 9 Do paragraphs have a standard structure? 10 1  Read the text below and divide it into a suitable number of paragraphs. 2 EEE3 4 7.1 BIOCHAR 5 62222 Charcoal is produced by burning wood slowly in a low-oxygen environment. 7 This material, which is mainly carbon, was used for many years to heat iron ore 82 9 to extract the metal. But when Abraham Darby discovered a smelting process 20 using coke (produced from coal) in 1709 demand for charcoal collapsed. At 1 approximately the same time the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere began 2 to rise. But a new use for charcoal, re-named biochar, has recently emerged. It is 3 claimed that using biochar made from various types of plants can both improve 4 soil quality and combat global warming. Various experiments in the United States 5EEE have shown that adding burnt crop wastes to soil increases fertility and cuts the 6 7 loss of vital nutrients such as nitrates. The other benefit of biochar is its ability to 8 lock CO into the soil. The process of decay normally allows the carbon dioxide in 2 9 plants to return to the atmosphere rapidly, but when transformed into charcoal 30 this may be delayed for hundreds of years. In addition, soil containing biochar 1 appears to release less methane, a gas which contributes significantly to global 2 warming. American researchers claim that widespread use of biochar could 3 4 reduce global CO emissions by over 10 per cent. But other agricultural scientists 2 5 are concerned about the environmental effects of growing crops especially for 6 burning, and about the displacement of food crops that might be caused. 7 However, the potential twin benefits of greater farm yields and reduced 8 greenhouse gases mean that further research in this area is urgently needed. 9 40 1 2 See Unit 1.10 Organising paragraphs  36222 10 Part 1 The writing process Examples of types of academic texts Argument and discussion Unit 2.1 and Website Case studies Unit 4.3 Cause and effect Unit 2.2 Classification Website Comparisons Unit 2.4 and Website Descriptions Website Laboratory reports Website Literature reviews Unit 4.3 Problems and solutions Unit 2.9 Recommendations Website Reports Unit 4.3 Survey reports Unit 4.4 CHAPTER 1EEE 2 Reading: finding 3 1.2 4 5 A suitable sources 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 EEE3 4 Students often underestimate the importance of effective 5 62222 reading, but on any course it is vital to be able to locate the most 7 relevant and suitable sources. This unit: 82 9 • examines the most appropriate text types for academic work 20 • explores ways of locating relevant material in the library 1 • explains the use of electronic resources 2 3 4 5EEE 1 Academic texts 6 7 You need to read a variety of text types for your course, so it is important 8 to identify suitable types and recognise their features. This will help you 9 to assess their value. 30 1  You are studying Tourism Marketing. Read the text extracts 1–4 below 2 and decide which are the most suitable for academic use, and why. 3 4 Text Suitability? 5 6 Yes, it summarises some relevant research, and 1 7 includes citations 8 9 2 40 1 3 2 36222 4 12 Part 1 The writing process 1.1 To promote tourism and market destination, it is important to study the tourists’ attitude, behaviour and demand. The studies of Levitt (1986) and Kotler and Armstrong (1994) suggest that an understanding of consumer behaviour may help with the marketing planning process in tourism marketing. The research of consumer behaviour is the key to the underpinning of all marketing activity, which is carried out to develop, promote and sell tourism products (Swarbrooke and Horner, 1999; Asad, 2005). Therefore, the study of consumer behaviour has become necessary for the sake of tourism marketing. 1.2 The romance of travel has always fascinated me, and our recent trip to Thailand lived up to expectations. We flew from Dubai and after a comfortable flight arrived in Bangkok just as the sun was rising. Our stay in the city lasted only a couple of days before we set off for the hill country around Chang Mai, where we were planning to visit some of the indigenous tribes who live in this mountainous region. When we arrived the weather was rather disappointing, but after a day the heavy rain gave way to sparkling clear sunshine. 1.3 Holiday trips to the Antarctica have quadrupled in the past decade and last year more than 46,000 people visited the land mass and surrounding oceans. However, safety fears and concerns about the impact visitors are having on the delicate frozen landscape have soared and members of the Antarctic Treaty – an agreement between 28 nations, including the UK, on the use of the continent – are now meeting to discuss ways to regulate tourism. British officials are seeking to establish a ‘strategic agreement for tourism’ around the South Pole. If successful, it will see treaty members introduce new measures to improve the safety of tourist trips, while also reducing the impact that visitors will have on the environment. The regulations could see limits on the number of ships and landings, restrictions on how close they come to shore, a ban on building tourist facilities and hotels on the continent, and rules on waste discharges from ships. 13 1.2A Reading: finding suitable sources 1EEE 1.4 Equally, from a political perspective, the nature of state 2 involvement in and policies for tourism is dependent on both the 3 4 political-economic structures and the prevailing political ideology in the 5 destination state, with comparisons typically made between market-led 6 and centrally planned economies. For example, the Thatcher–Reagan- 7 inspired neo-liberalism of the 1980s, and the subsequent focus on 8 privatisation and the markets in many Western nations contrasted starkly 9 with the then centrally planned tourism sectors in the former Eastern 10 1 Europe (Buckley and Witt, 1990; Hall, 1991). At the same time, of course, it 2 has also long been recognised that the political-economic relationship of EEE3 one nation with another or with the wider international community (that is, 4 the extent of political-economic dependency) may represent a significant 5 influence on tourism development (Telfer, 2002). Thus, in short, tourism 62222 planning and development in the destination tends to reflect both the 7 structures and political ideologies of the state and its international political- 82 9 economic relations. 20 1 2  3 The main features of academic texts are listed in the table below. 4 Find examples of each using the texts above. 5EEE 6 Feature Examples 7 8 1 Formal vocabulary the marketing planning process in tourism marketing . . . 9 the extent of political-economic dependency . . . 30 1 2 Use of references 2 3 4 5 3 Impersonal style 6 7 8 4 Long, complex 9 sentences 40 1 2 36222 14 Part 1 The writing process 2 Types of text  The table below lists the most common written sources used by students. Work with a partner to consider their likely advantages and disadvantages. Text type Advantages Disadvantages Textbook Written for students May be too general Website Journal article Official report (e.g. from government) Newspaper or magazine article e-book 3 Using reading lists Your teacher may give you a printed reading list, or it may be available online through the library website. The list will usually include textbooks, journal articles and websites. If the list is electronic there will be links to the library catalogue to let you check on the availability of the material. If the list is printed, you will have to use the library catalogue to find the texts. You do not have to read every word of a book because it is on the list. Your teacher will probably suggest which pages to read, and also tell you which parts are the most important. On reading lists you will find the following formats: 15 1.2A Reading: finding suitable sources Books 1EEE Miles, T. R. Dyslexia: A Hundred Years On / T.R. Miles and 2 Elaine Miles, 2nd ed. Open University Press, 1999. 3 4 Journal articles 5 6 Paulesu E. et al. Dyslexia: Cultural Diversity and Biological 7 Unity. Science, 2001, 291, pages 2165–7. 8 9 Websites 10 www.well.ox.ac.uk/monaco/dyslexia.shtml 1 2 EEE3 4 Using library catalogues 4 University and college libraries usually have online catalogues. These allow 5 students to search for the materials they want in various ways. If the title 62222 and author’s name are known it is easy to check if the book is available, 7 but if you are making a search for material on a specific topic you may 82 have to vary the search terms. For instance, if you have been given an essay 9 title: 20 1 ‘Is there a practical limit on the height of tall buildings? 2 Illustrate your answer with reference to some recent 3 skyscrapers.’ 4 5EEE you might try: 6 7 Skyscraper design 8 9 Skyscraper construction 30 Design of tall building 1 2 Construction of tall buildings 3 If you use a very specific phrase you will probably only find a few titles. 4 ‘Skyscraper construction’, for example, only produced three items in one 5 library database, but a more general term such as ‘skyscrapers’ found 57. 6 7  You have entered the term ‘skyscrapers’ in the library catalogue 8 search engine, and these are the first eight results. In order to 9 answer the essay title above, which would you select to borrow? 40 Give your reasons. 1 2 36222 16 Part 1 The writing process Full Title Ed/ Location Holdings details Year 1 Skyscraper: the politics and power c2009 Main Availability of building New York city in the library twentieth century / Benjamin Flowers. 2 Skyscraper for the XXI century / 2008 Science Availability edited by Carlo Aiello. library 3 Taipei 101 / Georges Binder editor. 2008 Main Availability library 4 Tall buildings: image of the 2008 Fine Arts Availability skyscraper / Scott Johnson. Library 5 Skyscrapers: Fabulous Buildings 2008 Main Availability that Reach for the Sky / Herbert library Wright. 6 Eco skyscrapers / Ken Yeang. 3rd Science Availability Ed. library 2007 7 Cost optimization of 2006 Science Availability structures: fuzzy logic, genetic library algorithms, and parallel computing / Hojjat Adeli, Kamal C. Sarma. 8 Skyscrapers: a social history of the 2004 Main Availability very tall building in America / by library George H. Douglas. Full details If you click on this you will get more information about the book, including the number of pages and a summary of the contents. This may help you decide whether to borrow it. Ed/year If a book has had more than one edition it suggests that it is a successful title. The books are listed by the most recent first; always try to use the most up-to-date sources. 17 1.2A Reading: finding suitable sources Location 1EEE Many large universities have more than one library. This tells you 2 which one the book is kept in. 3 4 Holdings 5 If you click on availability it will tell you how many copies the 6 library holds and if they are available to borrow or out on loan. 7 8 9 10 5 Using library websites to search 1 electronic resources 2 EEE3 E-journals and other electronic resources such as subject databases are 4 becoming increasingly important. Their advantage is that they can be accessed by computer, saving the need to visit the library and find a text. 5 Most library websites have a separate portal or gateway for searching 62222 electronic resources. This allows you to enter the name of a specific journal, 7 or look for possible journals in your subject area by entering a term such 82 as ‘international business law’. In this case, the database may offer the 9 following titles: 20 1 European Business Law Review 2 3 European Business Organisation Law Review 4 International Trade and Business Law Review 5EEE 6 Law and Business Review of the Americas 7 8 In each case, you can access a list of issues available, which will let you 9 read a list of published articles. Most journals publish four issues per year. 30 In the case of European Business Organisation Law Review, the list would 1 include: 2 3 Dec 2009 Vol. 10 Issue 4 4 Sep 2009 Vol. 10 Issue 3 5 June 2009 Vol. 10 Issue 2 6 7 Mar 2009 Vol. 10 Issue 1 8 By clicking on any of these issues you can read a full list of articles. It is 9 usually sufficient to read the abstract to find out if the article will be 40 relevant to your work. Note that most journal websites contain a search 1 engine to allow you to search all back issues by subject. They may also 2 offer links to articles in other journals on the same topic. 36222 18 Part 1 The writing process The best way to become familiar with these methods is to practise. Library websites usually contain tutorials for new students, and librarians are always willing to give help and advice when needed.  Select a specific topic from your subject area. (a) Use the library catalogue to search for relevant books. Write down the most useful titles. (b) Look for a few relevant journal articles, using the library portal. Write a reference for each article. CHAPTER 1EEE 2 Reading: 3 1.2 4 5 B developing critical 6 7 8 9 approaches 10 1 2 EEE3 4 5 62222 7 82 9 Students are expected to adopt a critical approach to sources, 20 which requires a full understanding of written texts. This unit 1 2 • explains effective reading methods 3 • examines common text features, including abstracts 4 • explores and practises a critical analysis of texts 5EEE 6 7 8 9 1 Reading methods 30 It is easy for students to underestimate the importance of reading skills. 1 Especially for international students, reading academic texts in the quantity 2 required for most courses is a demanding task. But students will not benefit 3 from attending lectures and seminars unless the reading is done promptly, 4 while clearly most writing tasks require extensive reading. 5 6 Moreover, the texts often contain new vocabulary and phrases, and may 7 be written in a rather formal style. This means that distinct methods have 8 to be adopted to cope with the volume of reading required, which is 9 especially important when you are reading in another language. Clearly, 40 you do not have time to read every word published on the topic you are 1 studying. The chart below illustrates an approach to finding and dealing 2 with texts. 36222 20 Part 1 The writing process  Complete the empty boxes in the chart with the following techniques: • Read intensively to make notes on key points • Scan text for information you need (e.g. names) • Survey text features (e.g. abstract, contents, index) Choosing suitable texts Look at title and sub-title Skim text for gist – is it relevant? Read extensively when useful sections are found  Can you suggest any other reading skills to add to the chart above? 21 1.2B Reading: developing critical approaches 1EEE 2 Titles, sub-titles and text features 2 3 Many books and articles have both a title and a sub-title: 4 5 The Right to Have Rights: Citizenship Practice and the 6 Political Constitution of the EU. 7 The title is usually shorter; the sub-title often gives more information 8 about the focus. 9 10 After finding a relevant text, it is worth checking the following text features 1 before starting to read: 2 EEE3 4 Author 5 Is the writer well-known in his/ her field? What else has he/ she 62222 published? 7 Publication date and edition 82 Do not use a first edition if there is a (revised) second edition 9 available. 20 1 Abstract 2 See section below. 3 Contents 4 A list of the main chapters or sections. This should tell you what 5EEE proportion of the text is devoted to the topic you are researching. 6 7 Introduction or preface 8 This is where the author often explains his/ her reasons for 9 writing, and also how the text is organised. 30 References 1 This list shows all the sources used by the author and referred to 2 in the text. It should give you some suggestions for further 3 reading. 4 5 Bibliography 6 These are the sources the author has used but not specifically 7 referred to. 8 Index 9 An alphabetical list of all the topics and names mentioned in a 40 book. If, for example, you are looking for information about a 1 person, the index will tell you if that person is mentioned, and 2 how often. 36222

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