Writing an academic paper
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WRITING AN ACADEMIC PAPER. GENERIC, STYLISTIC AND RHETORICAL ISSUES. AN ACADEMIC PAPER IS. A CODIFIED GENRE WITH A WELL- DEFINED STRUCURE WRITTEN IN A FORMAL STYLE USED TO PRESENT A SIGNIFICATIVE PIECE OF RESEARCH OR TO TAKE STOCK OF A PARTICULAR RESEARCH FIELD. STRUCTURE (1). TITLE PAGE

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WRITING AN ACADEMIC PAPER

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Writing an academic paper

WRITING AN ACADEMIC PAPER

GENERIC, STYLISTIC AND RHETORICAL ISSUES


An academic paper is

AN ACADEMIC PAPER IS

  • A CODIFIED GENRE WITH A WELL- DEFINED STRUCURE

  • WRITTEN IN A FORMAL STYLE

  • USED TO PRESENT A SIGNIFICATIVE PIECE OF RESEARCH

  • OR TO TAKE STOCK OF A PARTICULAR RESEARCH FIELD


Structure 1

STRUCTURE (1)

  • TITLE PAGE

    SHOULD INCLUDE NAME OF THE FACULTY

    DEGREE COURSE

    TITLE

    YOUR NAME (AND MATRICULATION NUMBER)

    NAME OF LECTURER WHO ASSIGNED THE TASK


Structure 2

STRUCTURE (2)

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    IN THE ANGLOSAXON TRADITION COMES AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PAPER

    MUST BE CLEARLY STRUCTURED AND PROVIDE PAGE NUMBERS FOR THE MAIN SECTIONS AND SUBSECTIONS


An example

AN EXAMPLE

Part 1 From Corpus linguistics to computer learner corpora 11

1.1 A “Pilgrim’s Progress” from literature to corpus linguistics: a personal recollection ………………………………………….. 13

1.2 Computer corpus linguistics at the beginning of the 21st century ………………………………………………………….. 20

1.2.1 The three phases of computer corpus linguistics …… 20

1.2.2 Some key issues in computer corpus linguistics ……. 23

1.2.3 The main research trends in computer corpus linguistics ………………………………………………… 25

1.2.4 The education of future corpus linguists ……………… 29


Structure 3

STRUCTURE (3)

  • ABSTRACT (OPTIONAL)

    SHOULD GIVE SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION

    STATE THE MAIN PURPOSE OF THE PAPER

    GIVE SOME INFORMATION ABOUT THE METHODOLOGY USED

    STATE THE MOST IMPORTANT RESULTS AND CONCLUSION


Structure 4

STRUCTURE (4)

  • INTRODUCTION

    IT USUALLY CONSISTS OF THREE “MOVES”

    1) Establishing a research territory (by showing that the general research area is important, interesting, problematic or relevant in some way)

    2) Establishing a niche (by indicating a gap in the previous research, raising a question about it or extending previous knowledge in some way)

    3) Occupying the niche (by outlining the purposes of your research and by indicating the structure of the paper)


Structure 5

STRUCTURE (5)

  • METHODOLOGY

    GIVES DETAILS OF PROCEDURES FOLLOWED TO GATHER AND ANALYZE THE DATA (e.g. comparison of an ad hoc specialised corpus to the BNC to find out key words in a specific domain)

    always include information about the source of your material and about the procedures followed


Structure 6

STRUCTURE (6)

  • FINDINGS/RESULTS

    ARE USUALLY SHOWN IN THE FORM OF TABLES, GRAPHS OR DIAGRAMS

    EACH TABLE(OR FIGURE) IS NUMBERED AND ACCOMPANIED BY A CAPTION

    don’t clog your paper with too many tables. Use summary tables when possible


Structure 7

STRUCTURE (7)

  • DISCUSSION

    ITS MAIN PURPOSE IS TO SHOW THAT THE RESULTS LEAD CLEARLY TO THE CONCLUSION BEING DRAWN

    THIS MAY INCLUDE ANY LIMITATIONS THAT MIGHT CAUSE PROBLEMS WITH THE CLAIMS BEING MADE (e.g. limited size of a corpus may affect the significance of a result)


Structure 8

STRUCTURE (8)

  • CONCLUSION

    RECALLS THE ISSUES RAISED IN THE INTRODUCTION AND DRAWS TOGETHER THE POINTS MADE IN THE RESULTS AND DISCUSSION SECTIONS

    SHOULD LEAVE A CLEAR IMPRESSION THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE PAPER HAS BEEN ACHIEVED


Structure 9

STRUCTURE (9)

  • REFERENCES

    IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH THE PREVAILING STYLE IS APA (American Psychological Association)

    THE SECTION IS ALWAYS AT THE END OF THE PAPER, AFTER THE APPENDIX (OR APPENDICES)

    DETAILS ARE ORGANIZED ACCORDING TO THE FOLLOWING ORDER:

    Surname, Name (usually only the first letter), publication date (in brackets) title of book (in italics), place of publication : publisher


Style 1

STYLE (1)

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH IS

  • LINEAR (one central point; every part contributes to the main line of the argument (it. argomentazione); avoid digressions or repetitions)

  • INFORMATIVE (its objective is to inform rather than entertain)

  • FORMAL (encoded using the standard written form of the language)


Style 2

STYLE (2)

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH IS:

4) OBJECTIVE (the main emphasis is on the information provided rather than on the writer or reader. More nouns and adjectives; less verbs and adverbs)

5) EXPLICIT (makes it clear to the reader how the various parts of the texts are related)


Style 3

STYLE (3)

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH IS:

6) “HEDGED” (generallyavoidsmakingbaldclaims. Itisnecessarytomakedecisionsabout the stance (it. posizione) on a particularsubject or the strengthof the claimbeingmade)


Examples of hedging

EXAMPLES OF HEDGING

  • With these considerations in mind it seems that a description of the combinatory properties of words based on the notion of lexical functions (see section 2.2.2) may be the most adequate tool for capturing the lexical relations involved in collocation production and illustrating them to learners. (Martelli, 2007: 81)


Examples of hedging1

EXAMPLES OF HEDGING

a) It may be said that the commitment to some of the social and economic concepts was less strong than it is now.

vs

a1)The commitment to some of the social and economic concepts was less strong than it is now.

b) Weismann suggested that animals become old because, if they did not, there could be no successive replacement of individuals and hence no evolution.

vs

b1) Weismann proved that animals become old because, if they did not, there could be no successive replacement of individuals and hence no evolution.


Language used in hedging

LANGUAGE USED IN HEDGING

  • INTRODUCTORY VERBS: e.g. seem; tend; appear to be; indicate; suggest

  • CERTAIN MODAL VERBS: e.g. would; could; may; might

  • ADVERBS OF FREQUENCY: e.g. often; sometimes; usually; generally

  • MODAL ADVERBS: e.g. certainly; definitely; clearly; probably; possibly; conceivably (it. plausibilmente)

  • THAT CLAUSES: e.g. It could be the case that

    It might be suggested that

  • STRUCTURES WITH IT + BE + ADJ + TO INF e.g.

    It may be possible to obtain

    It is important to note

    It is useful to study


Style 4

STYLE (4)

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH IS:

  • ORGANIZED IN WELL-STRUCTURED COHESIVE PARAGRAPHS (i.e. in paragraphs where sentences are arranged in logical order and linked together by appropriate transition signals)


Why bothering about paragraphs

WHY BOTHERING ABOUT PARAGRAPHS?

  • PARAGRAPHS ARE IMPORTANT IN ACADEMIC WRITING AS THEY PROVIDE:

    • THE BASIC TYPOGRAPHIC UNIT IN A LONG PIECE OF WRITING

    • A COMPLETE UNIT OF MEANING WHICH DEVELOPS ONE MAIN IDEA


Two possible layouts for paragraphs

TWO POSSIBLE LAYOUTS FOR PARAGRAPHS

  • LAYOUT ONE (WITH INDENTATION)

    (TITLE)

    Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Two possible layouts for paragraphs1

TWO POSSIBLE LAYOUTS FOR PARAGRAPHS

LAYOUT TWO (DOUBLE SPACED)

(TITLE)

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Sense what are paragraphs for

SENSE: WHAT ARE PARAGRAPHS FOR?

A PARAGRAPH IS A BASIC UNIT OF ORGANIZATION IN WRITING IN WHICH A GROUP OF RELATED SENTENCES DEVELOPS ONE MAIN IDEA


Unity

UNITY

  • IN EACH PARAGRAPH ONLY ONE MAIN IDEA IS DISCUSSED

    • IF YOU START DISCUSSING A NEW IDEA, START A NEW PARAGRAPH

  • EVERY SUPPORTING SENTENCE IN THE PARAGRAPH MUST BE DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE MAIN IDEA

    • DO NOT INCLUDE ANY INFORMATION THAT DOES NOT DIRECTLY SUPPORT THE TOPIC SENTENCE


Cohesion

COHESION

MUST BE AT WORK BOTH WITHIN PARAGRAPHS AND BETWEEN SECTIONS

“Itisveryimportanttoreassureyourreaderthatyou are in controlofyourargument. Itisyourdiscussion, so don’t leave people towanderaround in itlikelostthings. Rather, leadthemthrougheachsectionpurposefully, lettingthemknowexactlywhatis happening asyou do it.” (Richard MarggrafTurley, 2000: 31)


Which one reads better

WHICH ONE READS BETTER?

A) Corpus linguistics starts from the same premises as text-linguistics in that text is assumed to be the main vehicle for the creation of meaning. In spite of the initial starting point which they share, one has to accept that the two approaches are qualitatively different from several point of view. We can say that a text exists in a unique communicative context as a single, unified language event mediated between the two participants. The corpus, brings together many different texts and cannot be identified with a unique and coherent communicative event.


Which one reads better1

WHICH ONE READS BETTER?

B) Corpus linguistics starts from the same premises as text-linguistics in that text is assumed to be the main vehicle for the creation of meaning. However, in spite of the initial starting point which they share, one has to accept that the two approaches are qualitatively different from several point of view.To begin with, we can say that a text exists in a unique communicative context as a single, unified language event mediated between the two participants.On the other hand, the corpus, brings together many different texts and therefore cannot be identified with a unique and coherent communicative event.


A selected list of transition signals

A SELECTED LIST OF TRANSITION SIGNALS

  • TO INTRODUCE AN ADDITIONAL IDEA: furthermore; moreover; in addition; as well as; another (+ noun); an additional (+ noun)

  • TO INTRODUCE AN OPPOSITE IDEA: having said that; on the other hand; however; conversely; nevertheless; whereas; while; in spite of (+ noun); despite (+ noun); instead of; in contrast

  • TO INTRODUCE A CONSEQUENCE: as a consequence, consequently; as a result; because of this

  • TO INTRODUCE A CONCLUSION: in summary; to sum up; to conclude; to summarize


Citing sources

CITING SOURCES

  • One of the most important aspects of academic writing is making use of the ideas of other people.

  • In your writing, however, the main voice should be your own and it should be clear what your point of view is in relation to the topic. This means that you are expected to comment on or evaluate any other works that you use.

  • The emphasis should be on working with other people’s ideas, rather than reproducing their words.


Citing sources1

CITING SOURCES

  • When the words or ideas you are using are taken from another writer, you must make this clear or you can be accused of plagiarism.

  • There are two ways in which you can refer to, or cite, another person’s work:

    • by reporting

    • by direct quotation


Reporting

REPORTING

  • This means reporting the other writer’s ideas into your own words.

  • You can either paraphrase if you want to keep the length the same or summarise it you want to make the text shorter.


Reporting1

REPORTING

  • INTEGRAL REPORTING

    According to Peters (1983) evidence from first language acquisition indicates that lexical phrases are learnt first as unanalysed lexical chunks.

    or

    Evidence from first language acquisition indicating that lexical phrases are learnt first as unanalysed lexical chunks was given by Peters (1983)


Reporting2

REPORTING

B) NON-INTEGRAL

Evidence from first language acquisition (Peters, 1983) indicates that lexical phrases are learnt first as unanalysed lexical chunks.

or

Lexical phrases are learnt first as unanalysed lexical chunks (Peters, 1983)

N.B. IF YOU WANT TO REFER TO A PARTICULAR PART OF THE SOURCE QUOTE THE PAGE e.g. (Peters, 1983: 56)


Direct quotation

DIRECT QUOTATION

  • REASONS FOR USING QUOTATIONS:

  • Quote if you use another person’s words: you must not use another person’s words as your own

  • Use quotations to support your points

  • Quote if the language used in the quotation says what you want to say particularly well (but remember that your paper should be a synthesis of information from sources, expressed in your own words, not a collection of quotations

    N.B. KEEP THE QUOTATION AS BRIEF AS POSSIBLE AND QUOTE ONLY WHEN IT IS NECESSARY


Direct quotation1

DIRECT QUOTATION

  • REASONS FOR NOT USING QUOTATIONS:

  • Do not quote if the information is well-known in your subject area

  • Do not use a quotation that disagrees with your argument unless you can prove it is wrong

  • Do not quote if you cannot understand the meaning of the original source


Direct quotation2

DIRECT QUOTATION

  • INTEGRAL

    Widdowson (1979: 5) states that “ there is a good deal of argument in favour of extending the concept of competence to cover the ability to use language to communicative effect.”

  • NON-INTEGRAL

    According to one researcher, “there is a good deal of argument in favour of extending the concept of competence to cover the ability to use language to communicative effect.” (Widdowson, 1979: 5)

    N.B. USE […] TO INDICATE THAT SOMETHING HAS BEEN OMITTED OR ADDED TO THE QUOTATION

  • SECONDARY SOURCES

    According to Jones (as cited in Smith, 1982: 276), the …


Writing a list of references

WRITING A LIST OF REFERENCES

  • AT THE END OF YOUR PAPER YOU NEED A LIST OF MATERIALS THAT YOU HAVE USED OR REFERRED TO

  • IT CAN BE NAMED

    • REFERENCES

    • BIBLIOGRAPHY

    • WORKS CITED


Footnotes

FOOTNOTES

  • NORMALLY APPEAR AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE TO BE MORE READER-FRIENDLY

  • SOMETIMES THEY APPEAR AT THE END OF THE PAPER

  • THEY ARE ALWAYS NUMBERED WITH ARABIC NUMBERS

  • THEY ARE USED TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


Appendices

APPENDICES

  • THEY APPEAR AT THE END OF THE PAPER, BEFORE REFERENCES

  • THEY ARE ALWAYS NUMBERED FOR CROSS-REFERENCING

  • THEY CONTAIN FULL TEXTS OR LONG EXTRACTS FROM PRIMARY SOURCES

  • THEY MAY CONTAIN TABLES OF DATA WHICH ARE TOO LONG TO BE INSERTED IN THE MAIN PART OF THE PAPER


Writing a list of references1

WRITING A LIST OF REFERENCES

  • THERE ARE MANY REFERENCES SYSTEMS

    • THE HARVARD SYSTEM (the most common system, but there is no definitive version and most universities have their own)

    • THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION (APA) STYLE (the one used in most papers on linguistics)

    • THE MODERN LANGUAGES ASSOCIATION (MLA) STYLE (used mostly in papers on literature)

    • THE GIBALDI STYLE (same as above)


Some examples books

SOME EXAMPLES: BOOKS

  • ONE AUTHOR

    Smith, F. (1978) Reading. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • TWO AUTHORS

    Fromkin, V. & Rodman, R. (1983) An introduction to language. London: Holt-Saunders.

  • EDITED COLLECTIONS

    Martelli, A. & Pulcini, V. (Eds) (2008) Investigating English with Corpora. Studies in Honour of Maria Teresa Prat. Monza: Polimetrica.

  • SELECTION FROM EDITED COLLECTIONS

    Baker, M. (1993) “Corpus linguistics and translation studies – implications and applications”, in M. Baker, G. Francis and E. Tognini-Bonelli (Eds) Text and Technology: in Honour of John Sinclair, pp. 233-252, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins,


Some examples periodical articles

SOME EXAMPLES: PERIODICAL ARTICLES

  • ONE AUTHOR

    Prat, M.T. “Lexico-grammatical errors in Italian EFL university students’ written productions: a corpus-based project”, English Studies 2006, pp. 171-181

  • JOURNAL ARTICLE IN PRESS

    Johns, A.M. (forthcoming) “Written argumentation for real audiences”. TESOL Quarterly.


Acknowledgements

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • This set of slides has mainly been drawn from

    www.uefap.com/writing

    USING ENGLISH FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES

    (A guide for students in Higher Education)

    By Andy Gillett

    School of Combined Studies, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK


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