11 Critical reading (and how it benefits your writing) Helps you determine what is and what is not a robust piece of research and writing in your fieldHelps you identify where existing research has left a gap that your work could fillAttention you pay to writing of others helps you become more self-aware of your own written work:Sufficient evidence to back up claims; argumentation/reasoning; becoming alert to your assumptions and how they affect your claimsWallace and Wray, 2006Why pay attention to critical reading…The more you read critically, the more refined your frame of reference is for your thinking.For next few minutes, we’ll think quite practically about what people do in terms of their academic reading, and we’ll look at one of the texts for today.Then – we’ll think a bit deeper about what it means to engage critically with reading and Anne will take you further through a step-by-step exercise in developing a critical engagement with a piece of writing.
12 Critical reading?Get some views from participantsYou sit down with an academic text… what do you do?How do you go about reading an academic text in your field?
13 Critical reading? Some possible approaches How do you go about reading an academic text?Use parts of the text: abstract, contents, index, sub-headings, graphs, tables, introduction and conclusionSkim to get the gist of the argumentRead with questions in mindGet some views from participants
14 Critical reading? Some possible approaches Make notes/mind map/ use highlighterWrite a summary in your own wordsWrite a brief critical responseKeep note of bibliographic detailsGet some views from participants
15 Critical reading/ critical writing Handout – p Wallace and Wray
16 As a critical reader, one evaluates the attempts of others to communicate with and convince their target audience by means of developing an argument;As a writer, one develops one's own argument, making it as strong and as clear as possible, so as to communicate with and convince one's target audience.Wallace and Wray, 2006
17 Free writing Way of using writing as a tool for thinking Allows you to write without constraints.To do it –Write continuously, in complete sentences, anything that occurs to you.
18 Free writingPlease write down EITHER 1. An idea / theme from your field OR 2. Use the topic: ‘what I enjoy about writing…’ Use a free writing technique to write anything at all that occurs to you about this topic. This writing will not be shown to anyone else.Go to handout?
19 Planning (Sharples) Plans should be flexible Through the writing process a deeper understanding of topic is gained – thus, planning is increasingly out of step as writing develops:“The act of writing brings into being ideas and intentions that the writer never had at the start of the task or that could not be expressed in any detail.”.So you’ve analysed the question, done your reading and now you want to start planning –Go thru slide –What planning techniques to people use?Go to next slide and talk thru Sharples handout
20 Plans Free writing Notes/sketches Idea lists Mind map Ideas on post-it notesMind mapSkeleton paper with sub-headingsOutlineDraft textAdapted from Sharples, 1999Sharples has range from the loosest to the most detailed approaches to planning and you may wish to use a range of these. (I’ve added free writing.)- list - v. good starting point, but usually is not sufficient to give shape to the writing; in particular prevents from making multiple associations… only one ordering of ideas.- mind mapping - anyone use? - I don’t use it as a matter of course, but I do use it if I get stuck with a particular structure while I’m writing (feel bogged down, lost in my argument). Do a mind map just to see if I can visually plot the points and their relationship to ea. Other.As MS points out, not enough space for writing notes and can be difficult to reorganise the map as a text structure.Notes network - asks you to think about content and rhetoric ; shows up any holes in argument- next stage of writing draft would be difficult; nonetheless, having put this much thought into the relationships between points you should be able to really control the argumentAlmost the reverse process is to have some idea of a template and then fit your points into it.FinallyOutline.Look at Coffin here - handout ; 38-9Point out research that says that no positive correlation between planning and final text.Suggests planning for ideas and outlining in tandem; thus spending more time on topic improves quality of writing.
22 What techniques do you use to develop ideas in your writing and/or signpost an argument?
23 Developing/sustaining argument ‘proving’ the thesis statement or controlling argumentSignposting argument (Giving the reader cues; anticipating/referring back)Using words which signal transition or development – “However”, “Nevertheless”, “Thus”, “Therefore”, “Despite”Illustrating theoretical positions with concrete examplesGeneralising from a particular set of findings if possibleUsing subheadingsUsing/responding to counterarguments and examplesAnticipate next paragraph at end of previous one
24 Signposting and making transitions Links between paragraphs – pick up point from the end of a paragraph at the start of next one. Conjunctions to express different kinds of meaning relationsTemporal: when, while, after, before, thenCausative: because, if, although, so that, thereforeAdversative: however, alternatively, although, nevertheless, whileAdditive: and, or, similarly, incidentallySignposting through pronouns - this, these, those, that, they, it, themAdverbs: Firstly, secondly, etcIllustrative: For example, in illustration, that is to say,
27 BibliographiesAlberts, Bray, Johnson, Lewis, Raff, Roberts & Walter. Essential Cell Biology, 1st Edition, Garland, 1998Dickson, B (2002) Molecular Mechanisms of Axon Guidance. Science
28 Writing tipsWrite a sentence for each paragraph you want to write – you can then move them about easily to form thread of argumentIndex tag the main points you want to use in your references, so they can be found easily while writingWrite the introduction lastWrite the conclusion firstRead what you have written aloud to see if it sounds rightFind best environment for you – when and where do you work bestTake a break before trying to do your final checkUse a writing checklist
29 Making time for writing Write throughout the courseDo free writing as frequently as possibleSnack and binge writing (Rowena Murray)Writing groupsDon’t wait until you feel ‘ready’ to write…
30 Writing for learningFinally, here are some general suggestions about writing for learning and professional development.Read regularly in the field. Find writers whose work you admire and study what and how they do things.View writing as part of a process rather than a productFind models of good writing in your discipline – analyse it; ask what works and what doesn’t; consider writing style; vocabulary; techniques – metaphor; explanation; signpostingReflect on your own writing practicesKeep a notebook or learning journalExplore free writing
31 To sum up…1. Asked ‘what type of writer are you’? What are your writing practices? 2. What are your approaches to reading? How might you link reading and writing? 3. Free writing as a means of generating ideas 4. Thought about structure of the essay at the paragraph level and the overall level 5. Tried to relate these ideas back to the outline.