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NE4016 Academic Writing 1

NE4016 Academic Writing 1

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NE4016 Academic Writing 1

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  1. NE4016Academic Writing 1 Íde O’Sullivan, Lawrence Cleary Regional Writing Centre

  2. Workshop outline • Introduction to a literature review/critique • Getting started and keeping going • Key consideration: • The writing process • The rhetorical situation • Reporting the work of others • Academic writing style Regional Writing Centre

  3. Writing to a prompt • “An area of Nursing and Midwifery that I would like to research is …“ • Keep writing non-stop for 5 minutes. • Write in sentences. • Do not edit or censor your writing. • Discuss what you have written in pairs. • Joining the conversation • Broad and narrow conversations Regional Writing Centre

  4. Assignment • Literature critique • Conduct a literature critique on a chosen area of interest relevant to nursing and midwifery practice. Regional Writing Centre

  5. Context • Final Year Project: Research Proposal • Chapter One: Introduction • Chapter Two: Literature Review • Chapter Three: Research Design/ Methodology • Chapter 4: Conclusion Regional Writing Centre

  6. Literature review: Definition • “A literature review is an objective, thorough summary and critical analysis of the relevant available research and non-research literature on the topic being studied”. (Hart 1998 cited in Cronin, Ryan and Coughlan 2008:38). Regional Writing Centre

  7. Literature review: Key skills • Choose a research topic. • Design and develop a research question/problem (scope). • Undertake literature searching and retrieval. • Analyse, synthesis and evaluate data. • Present a literature critique. • Develop good writing and reporting skills. Regional Writing Centre

  8. Literature review: Significance • Fundamental to the success of academic research (Hart 1998) • Establishes the purpose of the research • Ensures the feasibility of the research • Displays an understanding of the research and its significance • What are the main theories, concepts and ideas? • How have they been applied? • What has been done? What problems/questions have been addressed? • How have they been researched? • What are the key issues? Regional Writing Centre

  9. Literature review: Qualities • Qualities of a good literature review • Appropriate breadth and depth • Rigour and consistency • Clarity and brevity • Effective analysis and synthesis (Hart 1998:1) Regional Writing Centre

  10. Questions your lit review should answer (Murray 2006: 115) • Why is this subject important? • Who else thinks it is important? • Who has worked on this subject before? • Who has done something similar to what I am doing? • What can be adapted to my own study? Regional Writing Centre

  11. Questions your lit review should answer (Murray 2006: 115) • What are the gaps in the research? • Who is going to use my material? • What use will my project be? • What will my contribution be? • What specific question will I answer? • [What specific questions will my research not be able to address?] Regional Writing Centre

  12. Literature review • Organising and writing the literature review Regional Writing Centre

  13. Key Considerations

  14. Key stages in the process • Pre-writing • Drafting • Revision • Editing and Proofreading Regional Writing Centre

  15. The rhetorical situation Occasion Topic Audience Purpose Writer Regional Writing Centre

  16. Organising principles Research question Thesis Hypothesis Regional Writing Centre

  17. Key tasks for academic writers Participating in academic conversations Developing and advancing balanced arguments Exploring your personal writing process Developing strategies that work for you Regional Writing Centre

  18. Getting Started Writing and Keeping Going

  19. It is not too late • Take stock of where you are now • Outline your literature critique • Make plans based on the time that is left • Organise your time accordingly • Get writing • Keep writing • Allow time for revision and to put it all together • Let family and friends know • Be selfish with your time Regional Writing Centre

  20. Where am I? • What writing have you done for the literature critique, and what writing do you need to do in order to complete the critique on time? • Keep writing non-stop for 5 minutes. • Write in sentences. • Do not edit or censor your writing. • Private writing -- no one will read it. • Discuss what you have written in pairs. Regional Writing Centre

  21. ‘Writing in layers’(Murray 2006: 125-27) • Outline the structure: write your chapter or section heading for the Literature Review. • Write a sentence or two on the contents of the chapter and each section. • List out sub-headings for each section. • Write an introductory paragraph for each section. • At the top of each section, write the word count requirement, draft number and date. Regional Writing Centre

  22. Writing goals Regional Writing Centre

  23. Keep writing • Where and when do you write? • Why are you not writing? • “I don’t feel ready to write.” • Writers’ block • Getting unstuck • Writing to prompts/freewriting (write anything) • Set writing goals • Write regularly • Integrate writing into your thinking • Break it down into a manageable process Regional Writing Centre

  24. Keep writing • Be patient • Be creative • Taking pleasure in writing • Be proud of your writing • Get stuck in Regional Writing Centre

  25. Reporting the Work of Others

  26. Reporting the work of others Making use of the ideas of other people is one of the most important aspects of academic writing because • it shows awareness of other people’s work; • it shows that you can use their ideas and findings; • it shows you have read and understood the material you are reading; • it shows where your contribution fits in; • it supports the points you are making. (Gillet 2008) Regional Writing Centre

  27. Reporting the work of others • We report another author’s ideas by using paraphrase, summary, quotation and synthesis, and we use introductory phrases and reporting verbs to communicate our relationship to the ideas that we are reporting. • Compare, for example: • Brown (1983, p.231) claims that a far more effective approach is ... • Brown (1983, p.231) points out that a far more effective approach is ... • A far more effective approach is ... (Brown 1983, p.231) Regional Writing Centre

  28. Reporting the work of others • Reporting the work of others: • Integral • Non-integral • Language for reporting: • Short quotations (quotations in text) • Long quotations (block quotations) • Omitting words […] • Using the abbreviation et al. • Secondary sources Regional Writing Centre

  29. Paraphrasing ‘Paraphrasing is writing the ideas ofanother person in your own words. You need to change the words and the structure but keep the meaning the same’ (Gillet 2008). Regional Writing Centre

  30. Paraphrasing Example: • Original Text: • Memory is the capacity for storing and retrieving information. • Paraphrase: • Memory is the facility for keeping and recovering data. (Gillet 2008) Regional Writing Centre

  31. Paraphrase “…the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) high-level summit on world food security, climate change and bio-energy… blames weather conditions in major grain-producing regions (mainly Australia and Canada) for the spike in prices. It also fingers population growth, higher oil prices, changing dietary habits as well as demand for bio-fuels” (Gibbons 2008). Regional Writing Centre

  32. Changing words The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) high-level summit on world food security, climate change and bio-energy… implicates changing climactic norms in agricultural centres (chiefly Australia and Canada) for sharp price increases. It also identifies increases in populations, elevations in the price of oil, modifications in what people eat as well as an insistence a supply of bio-fuels be made available (Gibbons 2008). Regional Writing Centre

  33. Summary ‘A summary is a shortened version of a text. It contains the main points in the text and is written in your own words. It is a mixture of reducing a long text to a short text and selecting relevant information. A good summary shows that you have understood the text’ (Gillet 2008). Regional Writing Centre

  34. Summary Example: • Original text: People whose professional activity lies in the field of politics are not, on the whole, conspicuous for their respect for factual accuracy. • Summary: Politicians often lie. (Gillet 2008) Regional Writing Centre

  35. Example: (Meei-Fang et al. 2007, p.471) People with dementia are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition: they have a decreased ability to understand directions and to express their needs verbally, are easily distracted from eating, prone to become agitated, and may use utensils incorrectly. Inability to feed oneself (eating dependency) is a major risk factor for malnutrition among older people living in long-term care settings (Abbasi & Rudman 1994, Durnbaugh et al. 1996). When people with dementia can no longer take food voluntarily, assistance is required although, as the disease progresses, even taking food with assistance can become difficult and, in some instances, tube-feeding may be required to supply nutrition. This form of feeding can, however, cause distress and anxiety, not only for the person being fed, but also for caregivers (Akerlund & Norberg 1985, Burgener & Shimer 1993). Regional Writing Centre

  36. Peer review • Did the writer cover the main points? • Does the summary give a good, brief overview of what the article is about? • Is it written in complete sentences? • Is it accurate? • Was it sourced? How? • Can you introduce your summary with one of the phrases covered earlier? Regional Writing Centre

  37. Synthesis • A synthesis is a combination, usually a shortened version, of several texts made into one. It contains the important points in the text and is written in your own words. • To make a synthesis you need to find suitable sources, and then to select the relevant parts in those sources. You will then use your paraphrase and summary skills to write the information in your own words. The information from all the sources has to fit together into one continuous text. (Gillet 2008) Regional Writing Centre

  38. Quotation • Quoting a person means writing down the words of that person exactly as you find them and enclosing those words between inverted commas: “There is no such thing as a free lunch” (Gibbons 2008). • The context for the quote should be part of the introduction to the quote: Gibbons (2008) tells us that the current food crisis illustrates that “there is no such thing as a free lunch”. Regional Writing Centre

  39. Direct quotation • The text quoted is sacrosanct. • Do not change spelling (i.e. American to British) or punctuation. • Do not correct spelling and punctuation. • Sic enclosed in square brackets, [sic], is inserted into the quote, after the error, to indicate to the reader that the error was not yours. Regional Writing Centre

  40. Academic Writing Style

  41. Academic writing People always say things like “Why it’s academic, my dear Watson”, as if to suggest that the solution is simple. What makes some writing academic and other writing…not? Is it easy to suss? Writing Prompt: What distinguishes the writing in your discipline from other kinds of writing? Its purposes… The evidence that support its claims… Its features… Regional Writing Centre

  42. Our boys may be facing real war – and I for one am scared By Kevin MyersIrish Independent, Wednesday October 31 2007 Look, I'm not trying to rock the boat here, but I can't be alone in worrying about the Army's new mission in Chad. I don't worry about the capability of the Army itself, for it is composed of the best people in Ireland: I admire patriotism, and the soldiers of the Army are true patriots who loyally serve their country and their flag. But who will they end up serving in Chad? Because it seems to me that a mightily complex command-chain is involved here. This, after all, is a UN-authorised EU operation, under the command of our own Major General Pat Nash. However, Pat will be based in Paris and the French have been involved in the region for over a century. Regional Writing Centre

  43. Features of academic writing Complexity Formality Precision Objectivity Explicitness Accuracy Hedging Responsibility (Gillet, 2008) Regional Writing Centre

  44. Academic writing style • Academic writing is clear, concise and comprehensive • Clarity of expression • ‘Clear writing is direct, orderly, and precise’ (Ebest et al. 1997). • Logical method of development • Effective transition signals • Good signposting • Coherent • Consistent point of view • Conciseness (careful word choice) Regional Writing Centre

  45. Academic writing style • Clarity of expression • Avoid repetition of words • Avoid repetition of ideas • Delete redundant words • Be direct: avoid using too many words • Avoid ambiguity • Avoid unclear pronoun reference • Choose strong active verbs • Use parallel constructions Regional Writing Centre

  46. Academic writing style • Hedge. Distinguish between absolutes and probabilities. Absolutes are 100% certain. Probabilities are less than 100% certain. • Be responsible. Provide traceable evidence and justifications for any claims you make or any opinions you have formed as a result of your research. Regional Writing Centre

  47. Persuasion and truth in academic writing • Because they are argumentative, academic writing tends to be persuasive. • An argument should be persuasive, but don’t sacrifice truth in favour of persuasion. • Academic inquiry is a truth-seeking pursuit. • facts are distinguished from opinions. • relative truths are distinguished from absolute truths. • The integrity of the conclusions reached in an academic essay or report is based on its honest pursuit of truth. Regional Writing Centre

  48. Resources Shannon Consortium Regional Writing Centre, UL Using English for Academic Purposes The Writer’s Garden http://www. The OWL at Purdue The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill /wcweb/handouts/index.html Regional Writing Centre

  49. Works cited • Gibbons, J. (2008) ‘Sustainable production can end food shortages’, The Irish Times, 05 Jun, available: [accessed 05 June, 2008]. • Gillet, A. (2008) ‘Academic writing: Reporting - paraphrase, summary & synthesis’, Using English for Academic Purposes: A Guide for International Students [online], available: [accessed 05 June, 2008]. • Hart, C. (1998) Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. Los Angeles: Sage. • Leedy, P.D. and Ormrod, J.E. (2005) Practical Research: Planning and Design, 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson • Murray, R. (2006) How to Write a Thesis. UK: Open University Press. Regional Writing Centre