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How to write an academic essay

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					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

           complete                         correct
clear                       considerate
               concise
                                 concrete
                     Complete
Clear writing        Include all
straight forward     necessary details!        Concise
                                               No irrelevances!
logical
unambiguous
 introduction,                           Concrete
topic sentences,
                   Functional             Never vague or
conclusion         writing                abstract but
                                          wide
                                                         4 keys:
                                          vocabulary!
                                                         be concise,
   Correct                                               simple words;

   … word usage                     Considerate          be precise /
                                                         specific; do
   … grammar                        awareness of readers not use slang
                                                         or colloquial
   … punctuation                                         language;
                                                         avoid jargon;
   … spelling                                            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
                                          10. Be emotionally neutral
Avoid the use of random points!
                                          Stand back and analyse
Link your points!                         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
anecdotes                  Structure of an essay
            shocking                                           examples
            examples                        statistics

             historical background                       definitions
                                         thesis
            narrational story telling
                                                         rhetorical questions



                                        topic sentence / argument




                                        restatement of thesis
      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?
       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?



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?

				
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posted:1/20/2013
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