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									                             Academic Writing
Writing Research Papers
Some of the work in this course involves research. Many handbooks of Standard English
provide succinct guides to writing research papers that adhere to the University’s citation
The Center for Writing Excellence
The online Center for Writing Excellence, available from your student Web page, offers
WritePoint, an automated essay-review system. WritePoint provides feedback on basic
grammar, usage, and some formatting issues by inserting comments into the text of your
paper. Generally, a paper can be processed within a matter of minutes.
The Academic Word List
Academic writing is often couched in so-called academese—a form of Standard English
that can seem daunting to the uninitiated and tedious even to those accustomed to it. Yet
this academic language is not terribly difficult to learn. Researcher Averil Coxhead of
Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, has compiled a relatively small list of
words that identify a piece of writing as academic English. In her teaching, Coxhead
helps students master academic writing by mastering the terms in this list, which she calls
the Academic Word List (AWL).

Mastering the Terms in the AWL
The introductions to the Academic Word List provided by Victoria University of
Wellington, New Zealand (, and by
the University of Nottingham ( include
suggestions on how to master the AWL’s words. The sites,, and, among others, provide
useful exercises based on the AWL.

Monitoring the Frequency of AWL Terms
Averil Coxhead’s research indicates that about ten percent of the words in a broad sample
of academic writing can be found in the AWL. The first paragraph of this handout is a
fair example of such academic writing: about ten percent of the words in it come from the
AWL. The online utility “Profile a text with the MFWL K1 + K2 and the Academic
Word List” at reports what percentage of a writing
sample comes from the Academic Word List:
            Percentage of words in the sample that come from the AWL

This enables you to know, ahead of time, whether ten percent of the words in an
assignment come from the AWL. If you need to, you can edit the assignment before you
turn it in and bring the number of AWL terms up to ten percent.

Terms Found in the AWL
The Academic Word List consists of 570 key words, along with related terms (for
example, appreciation is related to the Academic Word List key word or headword
appreciate). The AWL’s 570 key terms are reproduced below, with permission from
Averil Coxhead:
abandon                      behalf    capable
abstract       annual        benefit   capacity
academy        anticipate    bias      category
access         apparent      bond      cease
accommodate    append        brief     challenge
accompany      appreciate    bulk      channel
accumulate     approach                chapter
accurate       appropriate             chart
achieve        approximate             chemical
acknowledge    arbitrary               circumstance
acquire        area                    cite
adapt          aspect                  civil
adequate       assemble                clarify
adjacent       assess                  classic
adjust         assign                  clause
administrate   assist                  code
adult          assume                  coherent
advocate       assure                  coincide
affect         attach                  collapse
aggregate      attain                  colleague
aid            attitude                commence
albeit         attribute               comment
allocate       author                  commission
alter          authority               commit
alternative    automate                commodity
ambiguous      available               communicate
amend          aware                   community
analogy                                compatible
compensate      consume
                               data            diverse
compile         contact        debate          document
complement      contemporary   decade          domain
complex         context        decline         domestic
component       contract       deduce          dominate
compound        contradict     define          draft
comprehensive   contrary       definite        drama
comprise        contrast       demonstrate     duration
compute         contribute     denote          dynamic
conceive        controversy    deny
concentrate     convene        depress
concept         converse       derive
conclude        convert        design
concurrent      convince       despite
conduct         cooperate      detect
confer          coordinate     deviate
confine         core           device
confirm         corporate      devote
conflict        correspond     differentiate
conform         couple         dimension
consent         create         diminish
consequent      credit         discrete
considerable    criteria       discriminate
consist         crucial        displace
constant        culture        display
constitute      currency       dispose
constrain       cycle          distinct
construct                      distort
consult                        distribute
economy       evolve     facilitate    gender
edit          exceed     factor        generate
element       exclude    feature       generation
eliminate     exhibit    federal       globe
emerge        expand     fee           goal
emphasis      expert     file          grade
empirical     explicit   final         grant
enable        exploit    finance       guarantee
encounter     export     finite        guideline
energy        expose     flexible
enforce       external   fluctuate
enhance       extract    focus
enormous                 format
ensure                   formula
entity                   forthcoming
environment              foundation
equate                   founded
equip                    framework
equivalent               function
erode                    fund
error                    fundamental
establish                furthermore
hence        identical        injure         job
hierarchy    identify         innovate       journal
highlight    ideology         input          justify
hypothesis   ignorant         insert
             illustrate       insight
             image            inspect
             immigrate        instance
             impact           institute
             implement        instruct
             implicate        integral
             implicit         integrate
             imply            integrity
             impose           intelligence
             incentive        intense
             incidence        interact
             incline          intermediate
             income           internal
             incorporate      interpret
             index            interval
             indicate         intervene
             individual       intrinsic
             induce           invest
             inevitable       investigate
             infer            invoke
             infrastructure   involve
             inherent         isolate
             inhibit          issue
             initial          item
maintain     negate            objective   panel
major        network           obtain      paradigm
manipulate   neutral           obvious     paragraph
manual       nevertheless      occupy      parallel
margin       nonetheless       occur       parameter
mature       norm              odd         participate
maximise     normal            offset      partner
mechanism    notion            ongoing     passive
media        notwithstanding   option      perceive
mediate      nuclear           orient      percent
medical                        outcome     period
medium                         output      persist
mental                         overall     perspective
method                         overlap     phase
migrate                        overseas    phenomenon
military                                   philosophy
minimal                                    physical
minimise                                   plus
minimum                                    policy
ministry                                   portion
minor                                      pose
mode                                       positive
modify                                     potential
monitor                                    practitioner
motive                                     precede
mutual                                     precise
presume        radical      retain       scenario
previous       random       reveal       schedule
primary        range        revenue      scheme
prime          ratio        reverse      scope
principal      rational     revise       section
principle      react        revolution   sector
prior          recover      rigid        secure
priority       refine       role         seek
proceed        regime       route        select
process        region                    sequence
professional   register                  series
prohibit       regulate                  sex
project        reinforce                 shift
promote        reject                    significant
proportion     relax                     similar
prospect       release                   simulate
protocol       relevant                  site
psychology     reluctance                so-called
publication    rely                      sole
publish        remove                    somewhat
purchase       require                   source
pursue         research                  specific
               reside                    specify
               resolve                   sphere
               resource                  stable
               respond                   statistic
               restore                   status
               restrain                  straightforward
               restrict                  strategy
stress        tape         ultimate    valid
structure     target       undergo     vary
style         task         underlie    vehicle
submit        team         undertake   version
subordinate   technical    uniform     via
subsequent    technique    unify       violate
subsidy       technology   unique      virtual
substitute    temporary    utilise     visible
successor     tense                    vision
sufficient    terminate                visual
sum           text                     volume
summary       theme                    voluntary
supplement    theory
survey        thereby
survive       thesis
suspend       topic
sustain       trace
symbol        tradition

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