Presentation on theme: "How to write an academic essay When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less!"— Presentation transcript:
How to write an academic essay When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less!
What is academic writing? Functional writing - focuses on the information / ideas being explained - conveys the information / ideas from writer to reader with a minimum of confusion clear complete concise considerate concrete correct
Clear writing straight forward logical unambiguous introduction, topic sentences, conclusion Complete Include all necessary details! Concise No irrelevances! Considerate awareness of readers Concrete Never vague or abstract but wide vocabulary! Correct … word usage … grammar … punctuation … spelling Functional writing 4 keys: be concise, simple words; be precise / specific; do not use slang or colloquial language; avoid jargon; non- discriminatory language
Seven-point procedure 1.Clarify the task Make sure you know what you are looking for: Examine title carefully: what exactly is required? Write one line to sum up your basic opinion or argument Brainstorm or make pattern notes to record what you know What do you need to read or find out? 2. Collect and record information Be selective: you can‘t use everything write a set of questions to guide your research then look for the answers check word limit keep asking yourself 2 questions: - Do I need this information? - How will I use this information?
3. Reflect and evaluate What have you discovered? Has your viewpoint changed? Have you clarified your argument? Have you enough evidence / examples? What arguments or evidence oppose your point of view? Is the subject clearer to you now than it was at the beginning? 4. Use source materials Do not simply state your own opinion or say what is in your head! 5. Compare and contrast Read different opinions and weigh them! 6. Follow an argument
7. Show awareness of complexities Demonstrate awareness that answers are not always clear-cut! 8. Follow a set structure - Use of numbered headings 9. Be discursive Avoid the use of random points! Link your points! 10. Be emotionally neutral Stand back and analyse dispassionately! Write as an objective on-looker!
All chicken have wings All winged things can fly Therefore all chicken can fly 1.Premises are false! 2.Formula is valid Unsound argument
thesis topic sentence / argument restatement of thesis Structure of an essay anecdotes shocking examples statistics examples definitions rhetorical questions historical background narrational story telling
Checking your draft essay 1.Introduction: Does your introduction … accurately outline your definition of the question? state your thesis or focus? clearly indicate to your reader the stages by which you develop your argument of exposition, and intrigue your reader?
3. Conclusion: Does your conclusion … reinforce the thesis or focus of the essay? relate to your introduction? finish the essay smoothly, and suggest any further areas or questions to be followed up, without introducing any major ideas? 2. Body: What is the structure of your essay? Does your structure logically and effectively develop your thesis or focus? Is there a balance between your main points? Are the main points clearly linked? Does each paragraph within the body of the essay contain only one key idea, and is this idea clearly relevant to the material it is supporting? Have you clearly connected your paragraphs using transitional words, phrases or sentences?