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Writing at University Part 1 – General introduction to the academic writing process Cristina Felea, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing at University Part 1 – General introduction to the academic writing process Cristina Felea, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing at University Part 1 – General introduction to the academic writing process Cristina Felea, Ph.D.

2 Course objectives General
Students will learn basic aspects of academic writing Specific Students will be able to plan and manage the key steps needed to accomplish a written assignment

3 Content Writing assignments at university
What makes a good piece of academic writing? Planning academic writing The academic writing process (key steps) Academic writing tips References and further resources

4 Writing assignments at university

5 What makes a good piece of academic writing?
It answers the question set. It demonstrates understanding and clarity of thought. It provides evidence of reading and research. It supports any assertions by evidence. It is well structured. It is written in an appropriate style. It flows logically from one section to another, and from one paragraph to another. It is appropriately referenced. It is interesting to read!

6 Planning academic writing

7 time effort thought A good piece of academic writing needs
Students often underestimate how much time is required for academic writing, and end up submitting a piece of work that doesn't really represent their ability.

8 Common negative experiences
Heading off to do the reading without being clear enough about what exactly was required. Too much information collected and not enough time to sort it out properly. No time to edit or revise their writing. Not allowing time away from the writing to think. (Thinking is really important!)

9 The academic writing process (key steps)

10 What are the key steps in academic writing?
Exercise 1 Put the following steps in their right/logical order: Timetable, Write up, Review and edit, Brainstorm, Analyse the task, Read and Research (Check with the key at the end of the presentation.

11 The academic writing process
Key step 1 - Analysing the task Read carefully all the information and guidelines you have been given for the task. Do you understand all the words in the title? If not, check them out. What about the 'task' words? Are you being asked to 'describe' something, or 'outline' something or 'critically evaluate'? What exactly do these words mean? Make sure you know what's required. Sometimes the task includes several different questions or issues. Are you dealing with one question or more? What are they? Sometimes the information given may imply a structure for your writing. Look carefully for this.

12 The academic writing process
Vocabulary of instructions

13 The academic writing process
Vocabulary of instructions

14 Additional activities
Go to the following resources to see examples of essay questions and to practice analysis of essay questions. Using English for Academic Purposes – Understanding the question Unilearning – Analysis of questions – Getting started

15 The academic writing process
Key step 2 – Stop and think – Pre-writing strategies Brainstorming techniques Journal Writing Listing Freewriting Clustering . When you feel clear about the title or question, you're ready to move on. It's always tempting at this stage to go directly to the library and begin your reading, but it's much better to pause… Consider what you already know about the topic. Perhaps you could brainstorm your ideas onto a large sheet of paper. Make a mind map or spidergram or just jot down your ideas as they come to you. It can be very messy! The main thing is just to get down your ideas on the topic. If you do this it will help in two important ways: It will help you work out what you need to find out. It will allow you to formulate questions you will need to answer through your reading, and so it will make your reading more selective and more purposeful, and therefore more effective. It is likely that this initial brainstorm will also provide you with a rough idea of what the structure for your writing might be like. This will help you later when you start organising your information

16 Pre-writing strategies Journal Writing Listing
The advantage of this technique is that you are writing only for yourself. You can write down your thoughts and explore ideas without worrying what other people will think. In this technique, you think about your topic and quickly make a list of whatever words or phrases come into your mind.

17 Pre-writing strategies Free writing Clustering/ Mindmapping
Note: you can find here 6 top free resources for mindmapping in education! The most important aspect of free writing is not to allow yourself to stop. Just let your ideas and imagination flow. In this technique, in the centre of your paper, write your topic and draw a “balloon” around it

18 The academic writing process
Key step 3 – Planning your time Be realistic. Estimate how much time you will need for each of the stages. Give yourself a timescale for your intermediate goals. Remember to work backwards from your deadline.

19 Practice Go to Assignment Survival Kit page of the University of Kent and practice with their assignment time calculator. Watch this time management video from Leeds University to learn how to break assignments into manageable chunks.

20 The academic writing process
Key step 4 – Reading and researching Who is the author? Are they respected/experienced? Has the source been checked for quality? Books and journals are often checked Websites and magazines are usually not checked What is the purpose of this information? Are there adverts with the information? Is the information biased? Has the information been recommended to you?

21 The academic writing process
Key step 4 – Reading and researching – How do you know what to read? Your reading list should be a good starting point. You should also read any relevant lecture notes. If you search for additional material, be selective. Use electronic databases specific to your subject area.

22 The academic writing process
Key step 4 – Reading and researching High quality information is likely to have a clear layout, written using specialist vocabulary, discussing the topic in a fair way, from several viewpoints, referring to known theories, giving details of any sources which it refers to. Low quality information may be poorly organised, written using common vocabulary, from a single viewpoint, often as an overview of a topic, giving little information to support the ideas discussed. (Source: Intute Using Information in Your Work Tutorial)

23 The academic writing process
Key step 4 – Reading and researching Learn how to do electronic searches. Finding and evaluating information at Finding and evaluating information on the Internet Intute Internet Detective (see also Intute Tutorials) Intelligent Web search Workbook from Leeds University

24 The academic writing process
Key step 4 – Reading and researching Note-taking: 1.What are the notes for? For revision? For an assignment? For others to use (eg in group work)? To help you concentrate? As a record (eg records of research findings/lab work, of published work)?

25 The academic writing process
Key step 4 – Reading and researching Note-taking: 2. Note features Their accuracy is very important. They must be very detailed. They should summarise (rather than being detailed). I need to understand them after a time lapse (eg in a month/a year). I only need to understand them now, not in the future. Others need to understand them.

26 The academic writing process
Taking notes: 3. Note types Mindmaps Linear Tables

27 The academic writing process
Taking notes: 4. useful tips Take notes in your own words. Make sure you can read your notes later. Don't cram too much on the page. Use different note making methods for different purposes, for example flowcharts for process planning, tables for comparison. Organise your notes so that you can easily find what you are looking for. Title your notes and date them. If you have several pages on one topic, include page numbers. Always record the source of your notes. You will need these for your references. Avoid cutting and pasting, or copying huge chunks from books or articles - you risk committing plagiarism by accident.

28 Practice note taking Learn and practice note-taking with
UniLearning guiding tutorials LearnHigher Notemaker

29 Plagiarism write about someone’s ideas without acknowledging it with an in-text citation and listing the full bibliographic details on the reference list. This includes ideas which are quoted directly or expressed in your own words. use an author’s exact words without indicating you are making a direct quote and/or without giving a reference. present your own version of other people's ideas which you have collected from a number of sources you have no record of. try to put ideas in your own words but change only a few words from the original. A lecturer may decide that as the words are almost the same as the original that this is plagiarism, even if a reference is given. copy another student’s work and submit it as your own. If a student lends an assignment to another student and their assignment is copied and handed in by that student, both students can be penalised as the lecturer may not be able to find out who originally wrote the assignment. submit work written for you by someone else. (Source: University of South Australia Learning and Teaching Unit)

30 Practice Access the Course on plagiarism comprising videos and interactive materials from LearnHigher site Using English for Academic Purposes and learn more about it and the ways you can avoid plagiarism.

31 The academic writing process
Key step 5 – Writing Planning Write first draft Review and discuss Write second draft Proofread (Edit) for errors Write final draft

32 Academic writing tips Analyse the task carefully. What exactly do you need to do? Brainstorm ideas. What do you already know, and what do you need to find out? Make a realistic time table, working back from your deadline. Plan your reading and research. How long will it take to gather and organise the information you need? Develop a writing plan, perhaps using headings or mindmaps. When you start to write, think of it as a draft which you'll improve as you go along. Allow time to review and edit your work. Always reference the work and ideas of others clearly in your writing.

33 References Guidance for Internet search Intute Internet Anthropologist
Intute Internet Sociologist Intute Internet Social Worker Understanding the question Using English for Academic Purposes Analysis of questions Unilearning Getting started

34 Key to activities Activity 1
1. Analyse the task, 2. Brainstorm, 3. Timetable, 4. Read and research, 5. Write up, 6. Review and edit

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