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Academic Writing. Learning Development Service Student Guidance Centre. What attracts good marks?. Lowest marks Weak structure Shows little research Mostly descriptive Considers only one point of view Better marks Evidence of background learning Answers the question

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academic writing

Academic Writing

Learning Development Service

Student Guidance Centre

what attracts good marks
What attracts good marks?

Lowest marks

  • Weak structure
  • Shows little research
  • Mostly descriptive
  • Considers only one point of view

Better marks

  • Evidence of background learning
  • Answers the question
  • Organises information into a logical structure
  • Develops an argument
  • Draws conclusions
  • Provides evidence to support arguments
the writing process
The writing process
  • Defining the question/area of research
  • Good quality reference material
  • Read, make notes, think critically about material, formulate an argument
  • Create your plan
  • Write draft
  • Edit
  • Proofread and presentation
the question
The question
  • Define each word in the assignment/essay title
  • Keep your assignment title/task in front of you as you are reading and writing
key words in essay titles
Key words in essay titles
  • Account for
  • Analyse
  • Critically discuss
  • Discuss
  • Illustrate
  • What do these terms mean?
key words in essay titles1
Key words in essay titles
  • Account for – give reasons for, explain why
  • Analyse – examine in close detail
  • Critically discuss– weigh arguments for and against something, assessing the strength of evidence on both sides
  • Discuss – write about the most important aspects of, give arguments for and against
  • Illustrate – make something clear and explicit by giving examples
next steps
Next steps
  • What do I know already?
  • What do I need to find out?
  • Where will I get the information? (library session)

Main topic

Key areas

research
Research
  • Find appropriate sources – read and make notes

Keep all bibliographic details(referencing session)

  • Decide what information is relevant (title)
  • Discard what you do not need – don’t be tempted to quote from everything just to show that you have read widely
academic style http www qub ac uk directorates sgc learning academicskills writingskills
Academic stylehttp://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/sgc/learning/AcademicSkills/WritingSkills/
  • Precise, objective language
  • Grammatically correct
  • Properly punctuated
  • Formal
  • Lists in essay use appropriate layout

The causes of migration include:

      • Drought
      • famine
      • Disease.

(McMillan, K., and Weyers J., How to write essays and assignments Pearson 2nded 2011)

academic writing is precise
PreciseAcademic writing is precise

Vague

A woman ruled the country for over 10 years

Some people believe …

At the time

Margaret Thatcher served as British Prime Minister between 1979 and 1991

Who exactly?

When?

Always check that you have given your readers enough detail so that they know exactly what you are talking about

non academic
Non-academic
  • In this country, we have changed the law so that the King or Queen is less powerful since the Great War. But he or she can still advise, encourage or warn the Prime Minister if they want.

What could be improved?

Write this in an academic style

slide13
In this country (non-specific),we have changed (active voice) the law (not precise) so that the King or Queen (duplication of nouns, better to use a singular term) is less powerful since the Great War. But he or she can still (informal) advise, encourage or warn the Prime Minister if they want. (If who wants? Not clear who ‘they’ refers to – the King or Queen? The Prime Minister?)
academic style
Academic style
  • In the United Kingdom, legislation has been a factor in the decline of the role of the monarchy in the period since the Great War. Nevertheless, the monarchy has survived and, thus, the monarch continues to exercise the right to advise, encourage and warn the Prime Minister.
abbreviations and contractions
Abbreviations and contractions

Avoid abbreviations such as:

  • e.g. - for example
  • i.e. - that is

Avoid contractions such as:

  • Isn’t – is not
  • Couldn’t - could not
slide16
Acronyms – an abbreviation that takes the initial letters of a name or procedure to form a word in its own right.
  • World Health Organisation becomes WHO.
  • The first time the term is used it should be written out in full, followed by the acronym or abbreviation in brackets. Thereafter, the acronym or abbreviation can be used.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states …

The National Health Service (NHS) was established …

do not doubt yourself
Do Not Doubt Yourself
  • ‘In this assignment I will try to analyse/ endeavour to demonstrate/ attempt to argue that’…
  • When you do this you are implying that you may not be able to do what you have set out to do and you are inviting your reader to pass judgement on the success or otherwise of your attempt.
  • It is better to state confidently that ‘in this assignment I will analyse / demonstrate / argue that’…
  • Or to say, ‘This assignment will critically analyse differing perspectives on …’
technical register jargon specialist terms
Technical register (jargon, specialist terms)
  • Do not use technical jargon to try to impress; however, become comfortable with the language of your discipline and use it confidently.
  • If you are having difficulty understanding some of the terminology, create a personal learning dictionary; this will be useful for exam revision.
academic writing can be
Academic writing can be:
  • Descriptive
    • Being precise about methods used in a procedure
    • Giving essential background information

While most assignments will have an element of descriptive content, an essay that is only descriptive will usually get a lower mark

argumentative analytical critical
Argumentative/analytical/critical
    • Highlights a point of view or opinion and a line of reasoning to support it.
    • highlights an alternative point of view and demonstrates an understanding of the debate.
    • Offers evidence and examples to support a particular view in order to convince the reader that it is the right view to hold.
  • For more detailed help on critical writing, attend an LDS workshop.
descriptive versus analytical writing
analyticalDescriptive versus analytical writing

descriptive

States what happened

States what something is like

Explains what a theory says

Gives information

Explains why what happened is significant

Evaluates strengths and weaknesses

Shows why the theory is relevant or how it relates to practice

Draws conclusions

features of academic writing
Features of academic writing
  • Use source materials – do not simply state your personal opinion. Use material from books, articles, reports, lectures
  • Use the most up-to-date research
  • Show that you are aware that answers are not always clear cut. State clearly where there are flaws in an argument and back up what you say by referring to research
features of academic writing1
Features of academic writing
  • If there are difficulties coming to a firm conclusion about a controversial subject, show that you understand the complexities of the debate
  • Make sure that one point follows logically from another
  • Be objective
essay structure
Essay structure
  • Introduction (10%)
    • Engage the reader by introducing your topic.
    • Identify the issues you are about to explore and preview how you plan to answer the question.
  • Main text
    • Divided into paragraphs.
    • Structure set out by introduction and approach to question.
    • Must cover everything you said you would cover in the introduction.
  • Conclusion (10%)
    • Summarises your argument and the main themes.
    • Do not present new arguments.
slide25
90%     High / Excellent 1st80%     Definite 1st 75%     Low 1st -------------------------------- >=70%  1st 68%     High / Excellent 2-1 65%     Definite / Solid 2-1 62%     Low / Clear 2-1 -------------------------------- >=60%  2-1 58%     High 2-2 55%     Definite / Solid 2-2 52%     Low / Clear 2-2 -------------------------------- >=50%  2-2 48%     High 3rd 45%     Definite / Solid 3rd 42%     Low 3rd -------------------------------- >=40% 3rd 35%     Marginal Fail 25%     Weak Fail 15%     Poor Fail 0%     Bad fail  / no answer / Nothing of merit
feedback
Feedback
  • Comments on your assignment
  • What are your strengths
  • What do you need to develop
  • Action you have taken to follow up on feedback given
powerpoints
Powerpoints
  • Acknowledge your sources
  • Check you module handbook for guidelines
  • Clear
slide28
For one-to-one study support in essay writing, maths, time management etc..,

contact

Learning Development Service

[email protected]

02890973618

www.qub.ac.uk/lds

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