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Overview
Academic Writing
SEMINAR I:
–Textual level
–Quoting
English Language Support

Open Seminar

Löwenadler/ed. Mondor/Petzell/ed. Jahlmar 2011-10-04 www.gu.se www.gu.se


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What is academic writing?


Two major kinds of writing
• Writing in an academic setting • Writer-oriented • Reader-oriented
• By scholars for scholars, e.g. research articles
• Logically structured Audience: Audience:
• Objective self others
• Combines theory and empirical data Purpose: Purpose:
• Analytic and critical communication between
personal, exploration of individuals
• Develops a central problem area ideas Language:
• Draws conclusions Language: formal
• Argues in relation to what others have said/written informal Forms:
• Includes references Forms: essays, papers, theses,
• Formal in style journals, notes, rough business letters
(after Dysthe et al. 2002:19-20) drafts (Björk & Räisänen 2003:16-19)

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Logically structured
Logically structured

• Clear structure • Clear overall structure

– Introduction
–Introduction (Background, Aims, etc)
– Main body
– Conclusion
– Method & Material (How was the study done? Materials
and methods used?)
–Results (What did the study find?)
–Discussion and Conclusion (Implications of what the
study found, further studies, etc.)

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Feedback Coherence

• The paragraph as a thought unit


•Peer response • Topic sentence
• Supporting sentences
• Having a fellow student read and comment on
your work One idea and its supporting arguments =
one paragraph.

• Deduction: from general to specific

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Example of a Deductive Paragraph Writing paragraphs


Identify the topic sentences in the following paragraph:
Hurricanes, which are also called cyclones, exert Though the United States has spent billions of dollars on
tremendous power. These violent storms are often foreign aid programs, it has captured neither the affection nor
esteem of the rest of the world. In many countries today
a hundred miles in diameter, and their winds can Americans are cordially disliked; in others merely tolerated.
reach velocities of seventy-five miles per hour or The reasons for this sad state of affairs are many and varied,
more. Furthermore, the strong winds and heavy and some of them are beyond the control of anything this
rainfall that accompany them can completely country might do to try to correct them. But harsh as it may
seem to the ordinary citizen, filled as he is with good intentions
destroy a small town in a couple of hours. The and natural generosity, much of the foreigners' animosity has
energy that is released by a hurricane in one day been generated by the way Americans behave.
exceeds the total energy consumed by humankind (Edward Hall, (1973), The silent language, p. xiii)
throughout the world in one year.
(Oshima & Hogue 1999) Downloaded from http://www.uefap.com/writing/exercise/parag/paragex3.htm (date
of access 29 August 2011)

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Information structure

Writing paragraphs • The information structure principle:


Known/given info first – unknown/new info last
Identify the topic sentences in the following paragraph:
Though the United States has spent billions of dollars on
foreign aid programs, it has captured neither the affection My cousin bought a new car. The car is red.
nor esteem of the rest of the world. In many countries today
Americans are cordially disliked; in others merely tolerated.
The reasons for this sad state of affairs are many and varied, • Principle of end weight:
and some of them are beyond the control of anything this Heavy subject noun phrases are placed later in
country might do to try to correct them. But harsh as it may the clause
seem to the ordinary citizen, filled as he is with good intentions
and natural generosity, much of the foreigners' animosity has
been generated by the way Americans behave. A very relevant and interesting issue that needs
(Edward Hall, (1973), The silent language, p. xiii) attention is unemployment.
Downloaded from http://www.uefap.com/writing/exercise/parag/paragex3.htm (date
of access 29 August 2011) Unemployment is a very relevant and interesting
issue that needs attention.
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Information structure
Mix long and short sentences

• “The basic coloration of the leopard cat is Primarily short sentences:


usually yellowish, grey or reddish with a
whitish belly. Dark spots dot its body. Bands (1) There is one positive result of the rising crime rate. (2)
are formed by regular merging of these dots.” This has been the growth of neighborhood crime prevention
programs. (3) These programs really work. (4) They teach
citizens to patrol their neighborhoods. (5) They teach
• “The basic coloration of the leopard cat is citizens to work with the police. (6) They have dramatically
usually yellowish, grey or reddish with a reduced crime in cities and towns across the country. (7)
whitish belly. It is also dotted with dark spots. The idea is catching on.
These spots are in regular lines merging to (Fawcett 2007:294)
form bands.”

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BETTER:
Avoid vagueness
(1) One cause of the falling crime rate in some cities is the
growth of neighborhood crime prevention programs. (2) These
programs really work. (3) By patrolling their neighborhoods The president did The president’s
and working with the police, citizens have shown that they can things that caused military spending
dramatically reduce crime. (4) The idea is catching on. problems increased the budget
deficit
(Fawcett 2007:295)
(Fawcett 2007:322)

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Avoid wordiness Linking strategies

• In my opinion I • The financial aid


think that the system at Ellensville
Junior College needs • Repetition of key words or phrases
financial aid system reform • Use of synonyms for such key words
at Ellensville Junior • Use of pronouns
College is in need • Use of connective words
of reform

(Björk & Räisänen 2003)


(Fawcett 2007:328)

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How is Coherence Achieved in this


“Since readers all read differently it is important
Paragraph? that you make the logical links between your
“Since readers all read differently it is important that you sentences explicit. The more clearly you indicate
make the logical links between your sentences explicit. such links concretely in the text, the greater the
The more clearly you indicate such links concretely in chance of helping your reader follow and
the text, the greater the chance of helping your reader understand your line of thought. Naturally, there
follow and understand your line of thought. Naturally, is a limit, you are not writing academic papers
there is a limit, you are not writing academic papers for for schoolchildren. However, the risk of
schoolchildren. However, the risk of oversimplification is oversimplification is a minor one. The vast
a minor one. The vast majority of students fail to be majority of students fail to be explicit enough.”
explicit enough.”
(Björk & Räisänen, 187)
(Björk & Räisänen, 187)

Coherence – signposts, linking (connective)


words Coherence, cont.
Addition: also, and, as well, besides, beyond that, furthermore, in
addition, moreover, what is more Hedging: perhaps, may be due to, maybe, probably,
presumably, possibly
Attitude: naturally, of course, certainly, strangely enough, luckily,
fortunately, unfortunately, admittedly, undoubtedly Illustration: as a case in point, as an illustration, for example,
for instance, in particular, one such, yet another
Comparison: also, as well, both, in the same way, likewise, similarly,
in comparison Order: first, in the first place, firstly, to begin with, second, third,
etc., last, lastly, finally
Contrast: although, but, even though, however, by contrast,
nevertheless, on the contrary, on the other hand, whereas, yet, in Result/effect: and so, as a consequence, consequently, as a
spite of, while result, because of this, therefore, hence, thus, so, accordingly

Emphasis: above all, especially, indeed, in fact, in particular, most Summary: all in all, finally, in brief, in short, in conclusion, to
important, surely sum up, in other words, on the whole, summing up

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Let’s look closer at how to… Adding Information


from MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2 nd ed. 2007: writing section

• Add information
• Compare and contrast
• in addition – moreover – furthermore – other –
• Exemplify
another
• Express cause and effect
• Express personal opinion • “After the election, we asked whether the
• Express possibility and certainty parties should change their leaders, their
• Introduce a concession policies or both. In addition, we asked about
• Introduce topics and related ideas voting preferences.”
• List items
• Reformulate
• Quote and report MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section
• Summarize and draw conclusions

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Adding Information cont. Moreover cont.

 Moreover – used to add a “final powerful argument” • “There was an assumption that whoever did
take up the office would closely reflect Lee’s
* “When the prisoner is released, his situation views. It was likely, moreover, that candidates
will be very painful because he will have to would be restricted to former ministers and
reintegrate into society. Moreover, he will senior civil servants.”
have the greatest difficulties of integration
because of his past as a prisoner. MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section

MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing
section

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Comparing and Contrasting Comparing and Contrasting cont.

• resemblance – similarity – parallel – analogy • contrast – difference – distinction – the


contrary – the opposite – the reverse –
resemble – comparable – correspond
• “A useful analogy for understanding Piaget’s
theory is to view the child as a scientist who is
seeking a ‘theory’ to explain complex • “There is a sharp distinction between
phenomena.” domestic politics and international politics.”

MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section

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Consider: Exemplification

• for example – as an illustration – a case in point –


resemblance and similarity tend to occur with:
for instance – such as – exemplify – e.g. – i.e. –
certain, close, remarkable, striking, strong, viz.
superficial
“This is very much a generational problem.
contrast tends to occur with: Consider, for example, the new students who
begin courses at universities and polytechnics.
direct, marked, sharp, stark, striking They cannot remember when Britain was not part
of the European Community.”
MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section

MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section

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Exemplification cont. Expressing Cause and Effect

*”Nowadays children play with technological toys (i.e. video because – due to – the cause – the factor – therefore –
games) thus – accordingly – consequently – hence – thus – the
effect – the implication – the outcome – arise from – stem
from
“It implied primogeniture amongst males, i.e. inheritance by the
eldest son.”
“Differences in performance can be measured. Employees
MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section
can therefore be rewarded differently and appropriately.”

NOTE: Learners tend to overuse therefore at the


beginning of sentences. More frequent inside sentences.

MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section

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Expressing Personal Opinions Remember

The writer is usually invisible


it is reasonable – it is essential – it seems that
– (in my opinion) – (in my view) –Rephrase
I will write about the situation in my country.
This essay will focus on the situation in Sweden.

MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section
–Passivize
We carried out the investigation in 2006.
The investigation was carried out in 2006.

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Expressing Possibility and Certainty Introducing a Concession

may – must – argue – claim – conclude – appear – however – nevertheless – nonetheless – although
suggest – tend – to some extent – possible – – though – even if – albeit – despite – in spite of
certain – assumption - likelihood
NOTE: learners tend to overuse however at the
“One possible explanation for these findings is beginning of sentences
that people take time to adjust to living in
residential homes.” NOTE II: despite is much more frequent in
academic writing than in spite of
MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section

MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section

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Introducing Topics and Related Ideas Listing Items

consider – discuss – examine – the subject – the First/firstly/first of all – second – third –next -
aim – the issue – another/further/next/last question finally
– the objective – the topic – concern – emphasis –
focus of attention
AVOID: last but not least…
Common in speech: thing – by the way

MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section
MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section

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Reformulation Summarizing and Drawing Conclusions

i.e. – that is – that is to say – in other words –


namely – viz. in summary – in sum – to summarize – in
conclusion – it is reasonable to conclude
“This was particularly so in areas with larger
farms, namely Derbyshire, Leicestershire, INFREQUENT: in a nutshell – in brief – all in all
South Wales, and Speyside.” – we can conclude

MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section

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Quoting and Reporting Fill in the blanks with a connective word

X argues – notes – points out – states – finds 1. The documents will be scrutinised by the police; ______ they will be
sent back to the relevant authority.
– suggests – claims – insists – to quote X – in 2. The retailers have been making losses, ______ they intend to wind
the words of X – according to X – argument – up their business.

contention – hypothesis – view 3. Wash the potatoes first. ______ you can boil them.
4. We have been trying to contact Michael for the past few days. ______
we managed to trace him to a hotel in town.
5. Life in the country may not be as exciting as life in the city. ______
you are close to nature which provides peace and quietness.
6. Let us not be complacent with ourselves. ______ we may lose out in
MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007: writing section the final round.

Based on http://www.englishdaily626.com/sentence_connectors.php?005 (date of access 29


August 2011).

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Key References

1. The documents will be scrutinised by the police; then they will be sent
back to the relevant authority.
• Indicate your sources
2. The retailers have been making losses, therefore they intend to wind
up their businesses.
3. Wash the potatoes first. Afterwards you can boil them.
• All sources mentioned in the text must occur in
4. We have been trying to contact Michael for the past few days. the list of references. Similarly, the list of
Eventually we managed to trace him to a hotel in town. references may only include works mentioned
5. Life in the country may not be as exciting as life in the city.
Nevertheless, you are close to nature which provides peace and
in the text.
quietness.
6. Let us not be complacent with ourselves. Otherwise we may lose out
in the final round.

Based on http://www.englishdaily626.com/sentence_connectors.php?005 (date of access 29


August 2011).

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Using References Common Knowledge


• Academic writing always relates to sources, but you must It is not necessary to give a reference for:
indicate when, and where it comes from, in a parenthesis • Commonly accepted dates of important events (”For this
(Smith 2001, 63), or in a footnote. discovery, Professor Arvid Carlsson was awarded the Nobel
Prize in year 2000”)
• Facts that can be found in standard reference works: ”The
• Plagiarism is to: human genome consists of DNA.” ”Beijing is the capital of
• Copy text word-by-word without quotation marks or China.”
reference. • General observations that anyone can make: ”The Internet is an
excellent tool for finding information.”
• Summarize or paraphrase without a reference. • Information that is shared by everyone in the intended
• Translate a text without giving a reference. audience/discipline. ”Autosomal hereditary disorders are either
• Take sections of a text and just change a few words to dominant or recessive.” Reference needed in some contexts.
synonyms, whether you are giving a reference or not. • Questions to ask: Is the fact widely known? Can it be
disputed?

Quotations
References in the text There are different referencing systems. This
presentation will focus on what is known as the
Harvard system, but there are two general rules
• Respect for ideas and results you must always follow:
• Be selective
1) Be consistent! Make sure that you always
• Short quotations (1-3 lines):
cite a certain type of source or provide
”…….” (in the running text) source data in the same way throughout
• Long quotations (more than 3 lines): your text
within a new paragraph with extra 2) Be observant! In most situations where you
indentation, often in a smaller fontsize write academic text, you are not the one to
• Never change the content of a quotation decide which system to use. In other words,
make sure that you know the expected
guidelines and follow them.
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Quotations List of references

Name, year of publishing, page Article in a journal:


Sag, I. 1997. English relative clause constructions. Journal of
according to the format: Linguistics 33:431-483.

In this article, Goldberg (1995:210) argues Article in a larger volume:


that… Kenstowicz, M. 1989. The null subject parameter in Modern
Arabic dialects. The Null Subject Parameter, ed. by O. Jaeggli & K.
OR Safir, 263-275. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Another view is that these facts cannot be Internet source:


Peek, G. 2004. Crosslinguistic perspectives.
determined without considering more data
http://www.tbs.com/cad/rac%20.htm. (date of access 2 April, 2004).
(Goldberg 1995:210).

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List of references Page references


Book, a single author:
A single page: (1995:34)
Heath, J. 1998. A Grammar of Koyra Chiini. Berlin: Mouton de
Gruyter. Several pages: (1995:21-27)

Book, two authors: Alternatively:


Pollard, C. & I. Sag. 1994. Head-Driven Phrase Structure
Grammar. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
(1995:38f) = p. 38 and the following page
Book, more than two authors: (1995:38ff) = p. 38 and the following few pages
Quirk, R., S. Greenbaum, G. Leech & J. Svartvik. 1985.
A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London:
Longman.

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Academic writing seminar I & II


Number of authors Works mentioned
Bailey, S. 2006. Academic Writing. A Handbook for International
Students, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.
• A single author: (Goldberg 1995) Björk, L. & C. Räisänen. 2003. Academic Writing. A University Writing
• Two authors: (Goldberg & Johnson 2002) Course, 3rd ed. Lund: Studentlitteratur.
Dysthe, O., F. Hertzberg & T. Løkensgard Hoel. 2002. Skriva för att lära:
• More than two authors: (Goldberg et al. 2003) skriva i högre utbildning. Lund : Studentlitteratur.
• Several works: (Goldberg 1995; Smith 2001) Fawcett, S. 2007. Evergreen. A Guide to Writing with Readings, 8th ed.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
• No official author: (2003:36)
MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, 2nd ed. 2007.
Oxford: MacMillan.
Mesthrie, R., Swann, A., Deumert & W. L. Leap. 2000. Introducing
Sociolinguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Oshima A. & A. Hogue. 1999. Writing Academic English, 3rd ed. River, NJ:
Pearson Education.
Aitchinson, J. 2007. The Word Weavers. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

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10/31/2012
Löwenadler/ed. Mondor
THANK YOU!

http://www.utbildning.gu.se/student/sprakhandledning

joakim.jahlmar@sprak.gu.se

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