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Academic Writing for Educators. Chinwe H. Ikpeze, Ph.D. Gloria E. Jacobs, Ph.D. Susan M. Schultz, Ph.D. What Do Teachers Write?. Internal Documents. Public Documents. CSE case reports IEPs Lesson Plans. Letters home Permission slips Worksheets Tests and Essay Prompts Newsletters

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academic writing for educators

Academic Writing for Educators

Chinwe H. Ikpeze, Ph.D. Gloria E. Jacobs, Ph.D. Susan M. Schultz, Ph.D.

what do teachers write
What Do Teachers Write?
  • Internal Documents
  • Public Documents

CSE case reports


Lesson Plans

Letters home

Permission slips


Tests and Essay Prompts




Abridged texts

what is academic writing
What Is Academic Writing?
  • Discussing a topic in depth from an authoritive perspective
    • Thesis/claim driven
    • Claims are backed with evidence
      • from existing research
      • Field based research and/or
      • Experimental data
    • Evidence from literature is cited
features of academic writing
Features of Academic Writing
  • Claim / thesis
  • Citations (evidence) to support the claim
  • Conclusions and Implications
  • Clear
  • Concise
  • References
the upright pronoun or the discursive i
The Upright Pronoun orThe Discursive “I”
  • Based on instructor preference
  • Qualitative research and post-modern stances permit the use of “I” in order to acknowledge the positionality of the author
  • Many professional journals also allow the use of “I”
  • If your instructor allows the use of “I,” use it sparingly.
apa style
APA Style
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) guides the style and format of papers written within the field of education.
apa style main concerns
APA Style: Main Concerns
  • Page Format
  • Parenthetical Citations
  • Reference Page
the basic components
The Basic Components
  • Cover or title page
  • Abstract
  • Body of the paper
  • Reference section
page format
Page Format
  • Minimum of 1” margin on all sides
  • Flush left (ragged right edge)
  • New Times Roman
  • 12 pt.
  • Double‐spaced throughout
    • including references
  • One space following punctuation marks within a sentence.
  • Two spaces after punctuation at the end of a sentence
  • Indent the beginning of a new paragraph 0.5”
  • Avoid one‐sentence paragraphs
  • Page numbers begin with the title page (i.e., page 1), but the number is not shown on the title page.
  • Beginning with page 2, numbers are placed in the upper right‐hand corner.
  • Title page and each page should have a running head in UPPER CASE in upper left-hand corner
  • Long papers should be “chunked” using headings and subheadings
headings and subheadings
Headings and Subheadings
  • Level 1 – Centered, Bold, Title Case
    • All words start with a capital letter except prepositions (of, with, to, for, and so on)
  • Level 2 – Flush left, Bold, Title Case
  • Level 3 – Indented, Bold, Sentence case, End with a Period
    • First word is capitalized, subsequent words are all lower case
  • Numbers less than 10 are written out as words (i.e., one through nine)
  • Numbers 10 and greater use Arabic figures (10 – 999,999) Use the % symbol and figures to report any number as a percentage (6 %, 22.5%)
  • EXCEPTIONS: Do not use a figure to start a sentence: write out the number ‐When writing out the number also write out “percent”
citation practices
Citation Practices
  • Cite when directly quoting, paraphrasing or summarizing.
    • Use direct quotes sparingly.
      • Introduce direct quotes explaining the meaning, relevance, or significance of the quote to your text.
      • Avoid ending paragraphs with a quote. Follow quotes with further explanation or transition to the next idea.
why use apa citation style
Why Use APA Citation Style?
  • Readers can cross-reference your sources easily
  • Gives your writing an authoritative voice
  • Backs up your opinion with evidence
  • Shows the dates of the research you are using as evidence
  • Protects you from charges of plagiarism
  • Implicitly shows which ideas are yours
    • Those sentences not containing citations are assumed to be yours
  • Using facts and ideas from someone else but condensing them using your own words.

Since computer mediated communication was initially identified as a possible source of language change (Baron, 1984) and as a medium that people find socially meaningful despite its apparent lack of social and emotional cues (Ferrara, Brunner, & Whittemore, 1991; Walther, 1996), researchers have struggled over several key questions.

  • Using someone else’s ideas but in your own words.

Literacy involves the ways in which we use text for culturally meaningful purposes within culturally meaningful activities (Gee, 2000).

direct quotes
Direct Quotes:
  • Repeating someone else words word for word. Use quotation marks to identify the quotation.
    • Author’s last name, publication year, and page number(s) of quote must appear in the text

Wired teens have developed the “the skills, achievements, and previous experiences that he or she can arrange and rearrange (in terms of a literal or metaphorical portfolio) to sell him or herself for new opportunities in changed times” (Gee, 2000, p. 4).

direct quotes1
Direct Quotes
  • In‐text quotations (fewer than 40 words) are incorporated into the text
    • set within double quotation marks,
    • followed by the in‐text citation with the page number of the quote.
    • Use p. for a quote from a single page
    • Use pp. for a quote that spans a range of pages.
    • Note that the sentence punctuation follows the citation.
  • For an‐text citation for the quoted author given earlier in the sentence, only the page number follows the quote.
    • Example: Smith and Jones (1993) found gum chewing improved students’ retention of classroom material, but also noted professors found “the sight of 30 cud-chewing faces completely disgusting and demoralizing” (p. 32).
block quotes
Block Quotes
  • Long quotes of 40 words or more are set as block quotes; each line is indented 5 spaces (0.5” in.) and double‐spaced.
    • Period goes before the page number

Jones's (1998) study found the following: Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)

citing an author multiple times within a paragraph
Citing an Author Multiple Times within a Paragraph
  • The first mention requires the full set of information.
  • Subsequent mentions require only the name, unless there is a chance of confusion because a different publication of the same author is referred to in the paragraph.

What constitutes literacy continues to be a contentious issue, particularly as multimodal media appear to supplant traditional typographic texts. For instance, Steinkuehler (2007) notes that game playing has been blamed for the demise of literacy, but points out that this critique is faulty on two points. The first fault, she argues, is that the critique does not consider the wide range of gaming people engage in. The second fault, and more serious fault, according to Steinkuehler, is that the critique is built on a limited definition of what constitutes literacy. In her research, Steinkuehler identified the literate activities that are inherent within massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs). She demonstrated that game players engage what she calls a "constellation of literacy practices" (p. 297) that include social interaction, in-game letters and orally delivered narratives, as well as postings on online game forums, creating fan sites and writing fan fiction. As such, Steinkuehler argues that gaming does not replace literate activities but instead is a literate activity. If this is the case, then it becomes important for educators to consider the constellation of literacy practices of their students when seeking ways to build on what youth bring to the classroom.

variations to citations
Variations to Citations
  • A Work by Two Authors:
    • Name both authors in the signal phrase or in the parentheses each time you cite the work.
    • Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use the ampersand in the parentheses.

Research by Wegener and Petty (1994) indicates...

Students struggle with APA style (Wegener & Petty, 1994).

variations to citations1
Variations to Citations

A Work by Three to Five Authors:

  • List all the authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses the first time you cite the source (Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, & Harlow, 1993).
  • Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, and Harlow (1993) instruct…
  • In subsequent citations, only use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the signal phrase or in parentheses (Kernis et al., 1993).
variations to citations2
Variations to Citations
  • Citing Indirect Sources
    • If you use a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in your reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses.

Johnson argued that...(as cited in Smith, 2003, p. 102).





The New Literacy Studies (NLS) views language and literacy use as tied closely to the ideologies of a culture(Street, 1995) and as such what counts as literacy is intrinsically associated with the historical, cultural, social, and political values of a community and is contested in relations of power. The NLS, then, takes nothing for granted with respect to literacy and the social practices with which it becomes associated, problematizing what counts as literacy at any time and place and asking “whose literacies are dominant and whose are marginalized or resistant” (Street, 2003, p. 1). That is, literacies are not a set of neutral skills but are deeply embedded within social context and are indices of the power relations enacted within the local context (Barton, Hamilton, & Ivanic, 2000; Hull & Schultz, 2001, 2002a; Lankshear & Knobel, 2003; Luke, 1994; New London Group, 1996, 2000; Street, 1995, 2003).

reference page
Reference Page
  • A list of every source that you make reference to in your essay.
  • Provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any sources cited in your essay.
reference page basics
Reference Page Basics
  • Indent the first line of each entry in your reference list one-half inch from the left margin (hanging indentation).
  • Double space throughout
  • Invert authors' names (last name first); g
  • Give the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work unless the work has more than six authors.
    • If the work has more than six authors, list the first six authors and then use et al. after the sixth author's name to indicate the rest of the authors.
reference page basics1
Reference Page Basics
  • Alphabetize by the last name of the first author of each work.
    • When you have more than one article by the same author, single-author references or multiple-author references with the exact same authors in the exact same order are listed in order by the year of publication, starting with the earliest.
  • For book, article, or Web page, capitalize
    • the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle,
    • the first word after a colon or a dash in the title,
    • proper nouns.
  • Capitalize all major words in journal titles.
  • Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals.
references some examples
References: Some Examples
  • Article in Journal Paginated by Volume

Harlow, H. F. (1983). Fundamentals for preparing psychology journal articles. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55, 893-896.

  • Article in Journal Paginated by Issue

Scruton, R. (1996). The eclipse of listening. The New Criterion, 15(30), 5-13.

references some examples1
References: Some Examples
  • Book

Calfee, R. C., & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

  • Article or Chapter in an Edited Book

O'Neil, J. M., & Egan, J. (1992). Men's and women's gender role journeys: Metaphor for healing, transition, and transformation. In B. R. Wainrib (Ed.), Gender issues across the life cycle (pp. 107-123). New York: Springer.

references some examples2
References: Some Examples
  • Article From an Online Periodical with no DOI Assigned
    • Online scholarly journal articles without a DOI require a URL.

Kenneth, I. A. (2000). A Buddhist response to the nature of human rights. Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 8. Retrieved from

references some examples3
References: Some Examples
  • Article From an Online Periodical with DOI Assigned

Brownlie, D. Toward effective poster presentations: An annotated bibliography. European Journal of Marketing, 41(11/12), 1245-1283. doi:10.1108/03090560710821161

references some examples4
References: Some Examples
  • Article from an electronic version of a print based journal

Whitmeyer, J.M. (2000). Power through appointment [Electronic version]. Social Science Research, 29, 535-555.

where to go for help
Where to go for help
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed.
  • OWL website: