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Drafting and Revising Academic Writing. A presentation by The Graduate Writing Center of the The Center for Excellence in Writing. Drafting and Revising Academic Writing . Instructor: Rosalyn Collings Eves Graduate Writing Center Coordinator rmc216@psu.edu. Goals.

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drafting and revising academic writing

Drafting and Revising Academic Writing

A presentation by

The Graduate Writing Center

of the

The Center for Excellence in Writing

drafting and revising academic writing2
Drafting and Revising Academic Writing

Instructor: Rosalyn Collings Eves

Graduate Writing Center Coordinator

rmc216@psu.edu

goals
Goals
  • To help you develop a greater sensitivity to audience in your writing.
  • To help you develop sustainable, audience-centered revision techniques.
  • To help you develop collaborative revision practices and ethics.
about the graduate writing center
About the Graduate Writing Center
  • One-on-one consultations
  • All types of writing
  • All stages of the writing process
  • To schedule, see the Center’s website:
    • http://www.psu.edu/dept/cew/grad/gwc.htm
  • Or go directly to the online schedule:
    • https://secure.gradsch.psu.edu/wccal/studentview.cfm
writing a first draft
Writing a First Draft
  • Set intermediate or small goals.
  • Write daily.
  • Become familiar with conventions and jargon.
  • Write an outline or use other kinds of idea generation.
    • Freewrite
    • Cluster diagram
    • Outline
sample outline how do female physicians balance work and family
Sample OutlineHow do Female Physicians Balance Work and Family?
  • Introduction/Why is this study important?
    • More women are working
    • More physicians are women
  • Issues
    • Physicians (mostly males, not much literature on females)
      • Role Conflict
      • Identity Issues
      • Gender Attitudes
    • All working women
  • Strategies
    • Life
    • Workplace
    • Home
    • Juggling
  • Methods
  • Results/Discussion
    • Role Conflict
    • Identity Issues
    • Gender Attitudes
  • Conclusions
writing a first draft cont d
Writing a First Draft—cont’d
  • Don’t expect perfection.
  • Write what you can.
    • Save any problems for later.
    • Leave yourself notes.
  • Write in a natural style.
  • Write the introduction last.
writing additional drafts
Writing Additional Drafts
  • Take a break.
  • Print a copy to read.
  • Read your draft aloud.
  • Ask someone else to read your draft.

Writing is never done. It’s just due.

writing additional drafts cont d
Writing Additional Drafts—cont’d
  • Work from higher-level concerns to lower-level concerns.
  • Find and evaluate your thesis.
  • Write an abstract and compare it with your text.
  • Write a “scratch outline.”
  • OR consider post-outlining your draft.
  • Look at paragraph function.
  • Check for topic sentences.
writing additional drafts cont d11
Writing Additional Drafts—cont’d
  • Keep a record of consistent problems.
  • Don’t rely on computer-based spell or grammar check.
  • If time is short, concentrate on sections most likely to be read.
exercise 1 revising for different audiences
Exercise 1: Revising for Different Audiences
  • Look at the excerpts on p. 3-4 of your packet.
  • Which excerpt is from which publication? How do you know? Note a few specific reasons
questions about audience
Questions about Audience
  • Who are my readers?
  • What do I want them to know?
  • What are my readers like? How will this influence their reading?
  • What do they already know? What do they need to know?
revising paragraphs
Revising Paragraphs:

Effective paragraphs are:

  • Well-developed
  • Unified
  • Coherent
revising paragraphs strategies for improving unity
Revising Paragraphs:Strategies for Improving Unity
  • Eliminate unrelated information.
  • Add relevant information.
  • Separate ideas and develop them in different paragraphs.
  • Rewrite your topic sentence.
revising paragraphs strategies for improving coherence
Revising Paragraphs:Strategies for Improving Coherence
  • Move from “old” to “new” information.
  • Use “stock” transitional phrases.
  • Use pronouns and/or recycling.
  • Start sentences with short, easily understood phrases.
revising paragraphs coherence example
Revising Paragraphs:Coherence Example
  • Which of the following paragraphs “flow” better? Why?
  • A. Some astonishing questions about the nature of the universe have been raised by scientists studying black holes in space. The collapse of a dead star into a point perhaps no larger than a marble creates a Black Hole. So much matter compressed into so little volume changes the fabric of space around it in puzzling ways.
  • B. Some astonishing questions about the nature of the universe have been raised by scientists studying black holes in space. A Black Hole is created by the collapse of a dead star into a point perhaps no larger than a marble. So much matter compressed into so little volume changes the fabric of space around it in puzzling ways.
revising paragraphs example
Revising Paragraphs:Example

Soils represent major sinks for metals like cadmium that are released into the environment. Soil does not have an infinite capacity to absorb metal contaminants, and when this capacity is exhausted, environmental consequences are incurred. Contamination of soils by cadmium and other heavy metals has become a global concern in recent years because of the increasing demands of society for food production, waste disposal, and a healthier environment. The main causes of cadmium contamination in soils are amendment materials (e.g., municipal waste sludge) and fallout from nonferrous metal production and power plants.

What problems (with development, unity, or coherence) can you see in this paragraph?

revising paragraphs example cont d
Revising Paragraphs:Example—cont’d

Such sources as mines, smelters, power plants, and municipal waste treatment facilities release metals into the environment. These heavy metals, especially cadmium, then find their way into the soil. The soil does not have an infinite capacity to absorb these metals. Instead, unabsorbed metals move through the soil into the groundwater or are extracted by crops that take the contamination into the food chain.

How does this revision correct the previous problems?

exercise 2 revising paragraphs
Exercise 2: Revising Paragraphs

The power to create and communicate a new message to fit a new experience is not a competence animals have in their natural states. Their genetic code limits the number and kind of messages that they can communicate. Information about distance, direction, source, and richness of pollen in flowers constitutes the only information that can be communicated by bees, for example. A limited repertoire of messages delivered in the same way, for generation after generation, is characteristic of animals of the same species, in all significant respects.

revising sentences hierarchy
Revising Sentences :Hierarchy
  • Use subordination to emphasize information or demonstrate causality.
  • Subordinating conjunctions: after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, if only, rather than, since, that, though, unless, until, when, where, whereas, wherever, whether, which, while
  • Example:
    • Although production costs have declined,

they are still high.

revising sentences hierarchy22
Revising Sentences:Hierarchy
  • Avoid modifiers with unclear or missing subjects.
  • Example:
    • After reaching northern Alaska or the Arctic Islands, breeding occurs in the lowlands.
    • Revised: After reaching northern Alaska or the Arctic Islands, the swans breed in the lowlands.
revising sentences parallelism
Revising Sentences:Parallelism
  • Make sure the structure of your sentence fits the concept.
  • Use parallel structure for phrases and items in lists.
revising sentences parallelism example
Revising Sentences:Parallelism Example
  • The valving improvements we seek will increase reliability, accessibility, and maintenance and allow application to all sizes of valves.
  • Revised: The valving improvements we seek will increase reliability and accessibility, decrease maintenance, and allow application to all sizes of valves.
improving word choice and conciseness
Improving Word Choice and Conciseness
  • Avoid empty words
  • Avoid unnecessary repetition
  • Limit the use of passive voice
  • Eliminate unnecessary nominalizations
improving word choice and conciseness some tips
Improving Word Choice and Conciseness: Some Tips
  • identify empty words and unnecessary repetition.
  • Circle forms of the verb “to be” to check for passive voice and nominalizations.
  • Revise.
    • Eliminate empty words and repetition
    • Make the character the subject of the sentence.
    • Replace “to be” with an active verb.
improving word choice and conciseness example
Improving Word Choice and Conciseness: Example
  • As far as I am concerned, because of the fact that a situation of discrimination continues to exist in the field of medicine, women have not at the present time achieved equality with men.
  • Revised: Because of continuing gender discrimination in medicine, women have yet to achieve equality with men.
exercise 3 revising sentences
Exercise 3: Revising Sentences
  • Revise the sentences on p. 10 of your packet as necessary.
  • Try one or more of the following:
    • 1) Identify empty words and unnecessary repetition.
    • 2) Circle forms of the verb “to be” and check for passive voice and nominalizations.
    • 3) Use transitions, subordination and parallel structures where appropriate.
revising and getting help collaboratively
Revising and Getting Help Collaboratively
  • Readers
    • Ask questions about audience
    • Look at overall argument, as well as paragraph and sentence structure
    • Be specific with criticism and praise
    • Describe the effect of the writing on you
  • Writers
    • Ask for clarification
    • Be open to suggestions
the end
The End

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