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Introductions Postgraduate writing: seminar 3 John Morgan.

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1 Introductions Postgraduate writing: seminar 3 John Morgan

2 Intros you’ve written or read  What kind of information do you need to include in an introduction?  Think in terms of essays, reports and journal papers.  What features can you remember of papers you have read, especially those which were more memorable or inspiring to read?

3 Some specific concerns  Where do we begin and how do we structure the introduction?  A good introduction can be used as a reference throughout the writing, as it sets the scope of the paper.  It may not be possible to write the introduction before the body of the essay as you may not know what you are going to say.

4 Predicting content  A good introduction tells the reader what the essay will be about.  If you read an introduction on its own you should be able to safely predict the content of the paper and assess whether it will be useful to read.  If you can’t do this, the introduction should be edited to suit what you have written in the body of the essay.

5 Create A Research Space (CARS)  John Swales (1990: 141)  Through “genre analysis”, Swales identified common structures of biomedical research papers that have since been identified as being common in most academic fields

6 Three “moves” a)Establishing a territory: providing background information that previews the main problem. b)Establishing a niche: providing details of the nature of the problem, or topic to be researched, from your own perspective, or from the perspective of how you are interpreting a set question. c)Occupying the niche: indicating objectives and/or structure and/or findings as a result of your specific focus on the problem or topic.

7 Your own introduction framework  Look at the notes or draft plans for an assignment or paper you are working on. Alternatively, you could look at a completed piece of work. Or even a paper in a published journal or a short paper in an edited textbook collection.

8 Consider…  Can you see patterns like this running through the work?  Can you see variations on this theme?  Why would you choose to follow or vary this type of structure?  Do you have reasons for your choices?

9 To get started … …think about your topic in terms of:  background needed to introduce it to your reader;  the main academic problem related to this issue;  your objectives in writing about this issue.

10 Bibliography  Hill, S.S., Soppelsa, B.F. & West, G.K. (1982). “Teaching ESL Students to Read and Write Experimental Research Papers.” TESOL Quarterly 16: 333-47. In Swales, J.M. (1990).  National School Boards Foundation (2000). “Safe and Smart: Research and Guidelines for Children’s Use of the Internet.” [on-line] http://www.nsbf.org/safe-smart/full-report.htm (Accessed 26/10/05).  Swales, J. (1990). Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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