Academic writing skills

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Communications
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Academic writing skills Sara Steinke

Aims of the session • Undertake study skills audit of your academic writing skills • Identify the key features of postgraduate academic writing skills • Look at the dissertation writing process • Consider how you can develop your writing skills in preparation for your course

The importance of academic writing skills for postgraduate study • Postgraduate studies require you to be a more active and engaged critical thinker • As a postgraduate student you are expected to contribute to your field of study Influence postgraduate writing in 4 ways: 1. Critical thinking 2. Research 3. Academic integrity 4. Academic style

Critical thinking • Think independently • Provide original perspective on previous research • Make connections between ideas/between your work and other research Writing skills: • Organise your discussion into logical points • Establish clear connections between ideas • Cite relevant sources • Explain, not just describe, quotes, examples

Research • Become aware of the current knowledge in your field – deep and breadth – synthesise information – literature review

• You will be expected to contribute personally to the knowledge in your field – creative thinking – presenting information in a new way, applying previous research to new problem, proving a thesis

Academic integrity • Give credit for intellectual property that you borrow – paraphrasing, quotes, referencing • Be familiar with intellectual property rights – opportunities to produce original work

Academic writing style • Use formal style

• Writing style does not have to be complicated/elaborate • Be well organised and present ideas in logical order • Present objective analysis that is critical without being too positive or negative • Use clear precise language • Avoid emotive language

Academic writing: key conventions • • • • •

Do not use contractions or slang Use the terminology of your field Avoid the first (‘I’) and second person (‘you’) Define key terms you use in a particular way Include only ideas that are relevant to your argument and subject • Limit ideas to one per sentence/single point for each paragraph • Be kind to your reader – give reader clues (transition words, summaries) to let them know where they are in your argument • Use subheadings and sections

Think about the following What are the similarities between writing a dissertation and writing an essay?

a) Follows basic procedure b) Adheres to academic conventions c) Involves research skills d) Requires writing in prose e) Uses analytical reading /writing skills

Think about the following What are the differences between writing a dissertation and writing an essay?

a) Individually designed piece of work b) Personal involvement c) Time management d) Self-management and motivation e) Literature search f) Presentation/ structure g) Methodology h) Managing your supervisor i) Viva

Structuring your dissertation • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Title page Abstract Acknowledgments Table of contents Introduction Literature review Theoretical framework/methodology Finding analysis Analysis Conclusions Footnotes/endnotes References Appendices


Write down the three most important things about academic writing that you have learnt/thought about in this session? Why were they important to you?


What are your areas for improvement in your academic writing? What are you doing to do to improve this aspect of your learning?

Recap of the session • Undertaken study skills audit of your academic writing skills – What are you doing well? – What are the areas for improvement in your academic writing skills?

• Identified the key features of postgraduate academic writing skills – similarities and differences between writing a dissertation and writing an essay

• Looked at the dissertation writing process – structuring your thesis – managing your supervisor – preparing for your viva support/phd-support support/dissertations/pg_dissertations postgraduate/index.asp postgraduate/writing.asp

Wisker, G. (2007) The Postgraduate Research Handbook (Palgrave)

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