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Issues in developing narrative structures Postgraduate writing, seminar 7 John Morgan.

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1 Issues in developing narrative structures Postgraduate writing, seminar 7 John Morgan

2 Tracking changes  Did you follow the track changes exercise during the last week?  Work with a partner to look at some of the things you found.  Can you categorise these errors in any way? You could start with the checklist on the next page.

3 Global issues  Ideas  ______________________________________________  Main issue/thesis  ______________________________________________  Aims  ______________________________________________  Overall structure  ______________________________________________  Full text  ______________________________________________  Other issues  ______________________________________________

4 Local issues  Sections  ______________________________________________  Paragraphs  ______________________________________________  Sentences  ______________________________________________  Words  ______________________________________________  Examples & references  ______________________________________________  Other issues  ______________________________________________

5 Action plan for writing  What is the next step in working on developments for your writing?  Where did you identify the majority of errors in the categories above?  How can you work on these independently?

6 Plotting your narrative  All writing has some kind of narrative structure, i.e. it is an account or “story” of the issues that you are writing about.  Constructing the narrative can be a problematic issue as there are many directions to follow when you have identified a specific topic and many ways in which you could argue your case.

7 Logical structure  The basic academic narrative is firstly functional. This means it is used to achieve some kind of descriptive, discursive or analytical purpose (among other purposes).  Academic writing general follows a variation on this pattern (delete unnecessary stages of adapt as required).

8 Introduce Background Issue Hypothesis (measurable, quantitative) Research question (not necessarily measurable, qualitative) Aims Structure or sequence of argument of paper Summary of results Other

9 Review  Historical perspectives  Chronological development  Perspectives developmental to an argument or theory  Qualitative aspects (significant commentators and the value or relative value of their work)  Comparative/contrastive aspects  Perspectives that lead directly (and selectively) to your own theory  Other

10 Indicate method  What method are you using? (if you can identify one)  Action research (detailing specific descriptive actions that lead to some kind of evaluation)  How will you analyse/represent the data (specific tools)  Argument patterns in analysis: what criteria will you use to argue your point?  Other

11 Indicate results  What have you found?  How will you present the data?  In terms of qualitative research “results” may not be separable from “method”, or even a useful concept.  Other

12 Discuss  Review background/context.  State results (if appropriate).  If the outcome is unexpected, comment on this.  Refer back to previous research to put it in new context of your findings.  Explain anything unexpected.  Give examples to support this by referring back to your own method, results and/or argumentation.  If you have a hypothesis it needs full evaluation here.  Overall relevance of your own work in creating a place for yourself in the academic field.  Other

13 Conclude  Compare with introduction to give a rounded view of what the paper was about.  Background and issue combined.  Procedure in discussing or solving the issue/problem.  Solution (or lack of solution).  Recommendations for further research.

14 Variations  The immediate problem that presents itself here is that different academic disciplines will view these functions very differently and as such there is no single way of approaching writing that will work for everybody.  The more scientific the discourse, the more likely it is to follow a rigorous methodology yielding specific, measurable results.

15 Your own narrative  In Arts and Humanities critical argumentation patterns in discussing and analysing a specific issue are more common.  What kind of narrative are you creating in your own current work? Think about the pattern of argument in a current essay or draft. You may be able to use the categories above or you may need to adapt them according to your own work.

16 Bibliography  Bhatia, V.K. (1993). Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings. London: Longman.  Dudley-Evans, T. (1989). “Genre Analysis: An Investigation of the Introduction and Discussion Sections of MSc Dissertations.” In Coulthard, M. (Ed.). Talking about Text, English Language Research, University of Birmingham. In Bhatia, V.K. (1993).  Swales, J. (1990). Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: CUP.

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