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What is Academic Writing?
Transcript of What is Academic Writing?
Week 1: Introduction
Types of academic texts
What do we need to consider when we write?
Who is your reader?
What is academic writing?
"Writing for academic purposes" (!!!)
"The kind of writing that you read in your studies"
"The kind of writing that you are expected to produce as university students"
However, academic writing comes in various forms and styles
(Ref.) Swales & Feak, 2004, p7.
The general public?
The research community?
"Writing for academic purposes"!!
Writing that you read in your studies
The kind of writing that you are expected to produce yourself as a university student
Academic writing comes in many forms and styles but they all share some features and processes
Dissertations / Honours projects
Present information in structured format
To help readers make better sense of the information
The way the writer moves from one statement to the next
Clear connection of ideas to help readers follow text
Linking words / phrases to help establish clear relationships
Create effective flow with the use of correct punctuation
Small language errors made by non-native speakers are expected
Significant errors that could be avoided by careful editing and proof-reading are not acceptable
Always edit your work carefully:
Formatting: Clear paragraphs
Grammar: S-V agreement
Spelling and punctuation
Why are you writing?
Growing up in Hong Kong, I have always written in Chinese. But there were exceptions. In the last years of my
high-school studies, while I had already published poems in the literary supplements of the local newspapers, my
Chinese was considered by my Chinese teacher, an old scholar graduated from Beijing University, to be less than
elegant. Each of my compositions was marked heavily by his red brush, and into my 'modern' style of experimental
writing, the wisdom of old idioms was added. But I refused to incorporate them into my revisions, and therefore
always ended up with a C- for all my work! At the same time, the English teacher was a kind-hearted young
woman who encouraged us to read widely and lent us works by Virginia Woolf and George Orwell. We were also
encouraged to write our diary in English, and I was not penalized for writing in the stream-of-consciousness style
to sketch my daily thoughts. On the contrary, she offered very encouraging comments!
Writer: Leung Ping-kwan (former Professor – LNU)
Text: Introductory paragraph to academic article in an international journal
Leung, P-K. (2000). Writing between Chinese and English. World Englishes, 19(3), 399-404.
How you negotiate aspects of your Chinese and English (language / culture) while writing
Writing a reflective essay:
Reporting on research
Discussing subject of common interest; presenting own viewpoint
Synthesising research done by others
Demonstrating what the writer has learned
Establishing writer's identity -- part of academic community
Engaging in learning, using writing as tool for reflection
Use consistent and appropriate style for message being conveyed / for audience
Usually more formal rather than informal language
Usually more complex grammatical structures
Comments, evaluates, analyses
‘I’ as the observer and commentator
Information comes from a range of sources, and refers to what others say
Evidence and argument
Conventions of referencing and citing to acknowledge others’ work
Crème, P. & Lea, M. (2008). Writing at University. Buckingham: OUP, pp.134.
Commonly noted stylistic features of academic writing:
What type of text is this?
What features do you see in the text?
Where do you think the text comes from?
Does personal language (use of I, my, myself, we… or other personal and subjective elements) have a place in academic texts?
What genre (text type) would you categorise this piece of text as?
How does this affect the way we determine what “academic writing” is?
Download the notes and readings 1 & 2 from Moodle, and do the critical reading / thinking tasks
Be prepared to share your ideas with the class next week!
This will give you some ideas for your first writing task…
Reflect on your own experiences as a writer. Write a short reflective essay (< 1000 words) to explore some aspect of those experiences and share them with your reader.
You might consider:
Your status as a writer
Your difficulties or pleasures in writing, writing in English, or writing in EAP
How your experiences might impact on your current and future learning
* Purpose and audience are interconnected
For audience who 'knows less' than writer":
- Research article...
For audience who 'knows more' than writer:
Display familiarity / expertise
- Knowledge / understanding of a subject
- Linguistic competence / English proficiency
- Ability to analyse / argue / discuss topic...
with Sherman Lee