Academic Writing Carol M. Allen May 2007 Writing Styles in the Online Program Personal/Informal –E-mail –Discussion Topics –Journals Formal –Academic.
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Writing Styles in the Online Program Personal/Informal –E-mail –Discussion Topics –Journals Formal –Academic Papers –Presentations –Projects
Writing Plan Regardless of what writing style you are using, your writing should include: –Title (or topic) –Introduction –Body –Conclusion
Writing Plan: Preparation Consider the following: –The purpose of the writing –The audience (reader) –Sources of information available For assignments: –Understand the assignment expectations –Note guidelines for length of paper and number/type of sources required –Note the submission dates
Writing Plan: Title The title should identify what the writing is about. Easily identify content focus It can help the reader and sender with organizing communications Might adjust wording once content completed
Writing Plan: Introduction States your purpose in the writing Indicates topics in the content (your main point) States your conclusion It should –Engage the reader –Spark curiosity about the topic –Tell the reader what to expect in the writing “This paper will…”
Writing Plan: Body The body of the paper develops the concepts and supports the points you cover in the paper Using an outline –A rough outline may be acceptable for most informal writing assignments –A formal outline should be developed for Formal writing assignments
Writing Plan: Conclusion Use the conclusion to wrap up your main point(s) It may summarize the key points made in the body of your paper without introducing new concepts You may give suggestions, advice, or propose future study needs It should be decisive and come full circle (from the introduction)
Writing Plan: Revising Regardless of what style of writing you are involved with, you should anticipate revising: ALWAYS CHECK YOUR WORK Areas to check: –Focus/purpose –Organization of content (Sequence) –Completeness of content –Grammar and Punctuation –APA format
Writing Plan: Proof Read This is the final and most important step before submitting Methodical search for typos, omitted or added words, and clarity “A carefully proofread essay sends the message that you value your writing and respect your readers” (Hacker, 2007, p. 23).
Qualifying for the WPE Your papers must demonstrate three elements of proficiency: –Critical Thinking, effective use of your own ideas (worth 40%) –Critical Reading: Effective use of multiple sources (worth 40%) –Elements of Writing: Effective use of writing skills (worth 20%)
Critical Thinking Develop a sustained, clear position (often by using a thesis, central idea, or hypothesis) –Assignment question will instruct you how to focus on the topic; maintain focus throughout your paper –Paper should go in depth about a single topic –May include: examination of evidence, assess the source and quality of evidence, distinguish between fact and fiction, acknowledge, analyze, and evaluate value judgments in the readings and your own position
Critical Thinking (cont) Synthesize source materials –Develop own position with clear references –Quote, frame, and analyze passages with the clear purpose of supporting your position –Summarize and attribute (cite) any ideas used from readings Organize your argument in a clear and appropriate sequence –Support central idea –Sustain throughout –Each paragraph contains one idea, supported and developed –Paragraphs are “linked” in a chain of reasoning that develops your argument persuasively
Critical Reading Identify, Summarize, Define key terms or categories of classification –Identify the key terms and definitions in the readings; establish common themes as well as contested –Summarize: generalizations that condense complex ideas
Critical Reading (Cont) Analyze and Evaluate –Begins with summarizing, but goes further, working the meaning –Evaluation acknowledges various perspectives and explains your position –Weighs complex issues in terms of strengths and weaknesses of the varied perspectives
Critical Reading (cont) Synthesize and Assess key concepts –Pulls together various assumptions in the readings and assesses them –Synthesize the ideas—connect to your position. Often a continuation of analysis and evaluation –Puts the ideas back together to connect your position
Elements of Writing Organize Paragraphs –Globally: Each signals a new idea, and how it is related to the paragraphs before and after. Check length, unity, and order –Locally: Focus on one idea per paragraph, each sentence connects, develop ideas—sentence picks up idea from previous one and advances it further by analysis
Elements of Writing (Cont) Sentences should express your meaning clearly –Avoid: clichés, common place knowledge, contractions, and underdeveloped or overdeveloped sentences –Organize to make meaning clear and understandable to the reader –Check for wordiness, spelling, word choice, and mechanics
References Hacker, D. (2007). A writer’s reference. (6th Edition). Boston:Bedford/St.Martin’s. UMB. (2006). A brief version of the elements of writing proficiency. [Unpublished summary of WPE evaluation tool].