Academic Writing - Avery Hill In-Person
Develop Your Academic Writing
Week 1 – Thursday 27th January 2022, 12pm - 1pm
Breaking down the question.
This session will focus on how to understand assignment instructions so that you can be more confident about what you are being required to do. We shall look at the importance of identifying key instruction words and how helpful it can be to rephrase the question in your own terms to develop a greater understanding of what the question is asking. We shall also consider how important it is to spend some time pondering on your own response to the question and considering your possible position in relation to beginning to plan an answer.
Locating your source material.
In this session, advice will be given on how to find reputable source material using the library search facilities. We shall introduce you to the Dewey Decimal book cataloguing system that is essential in finding books in direct relation to what you are looking for. We shall also include advice about accessing the journal databases; useful tips will be provided in identifying key words, combining these using the Boolean operators, to get to the most relevant and up to date information. We will show you how to narrow down a search so that you can more readily access research articles that are directly relevant.
Evaluating your source material.
Having found information, we then need to decide on whether it is trustworthy. This session will look at how to decide on whether a source is a reputable academic source. This is important because when marking your work, tutors will be looking at the quality of the source information you have used. If you use information that is not from a trusted academic source, it will call into question the quality of your own work. We shall also look at the necessity of using current or the most up-to-date research information that will give your work greater credibility.
Identifying and developing your argument.
In the first session we considered the issue of trying to identify a position; this is the angle you are proposing to take towards a topic or argument, for example, are you going to argue for something or against something? It could be that you feel there is insufficient evidence to come to a definite conclusion. Whatever way you propose, you will need to persuade your reader, by answering the how and why questions. In general, you will be focusing on issues that are more probable in the light of the evidence you have identified. This session will provide advice in terms of identifying and developing your arguments using signposting language as a tool to help your reader understand the points you are trying to make.
Sequencing your ideas using effective paragraphing.
This session will give some tips on how to construct a paragraph in terms of layout, structure and length. Then we shall look at how to bring these paragraphs together, so that your ideas are sequenced in a logical way. This will enable your reader to follow your train of thought so that they can be persuaded by your argument(s).
Writing an introduction.
Your first paragraph is one of the most important because this is where your reader encounters you (the writer) for the first time. It is essential that you prepare your reader for what you propose to discuss. We shall look at how to write a good and focused introduction, being careful to keep it reasonably short because an introduction should be no more than 10 per cent of the word count.
Effective paraphrasing – how to introduce and reference your citations.
This session will provide some advice on how to use your own words, rather than relying too heavily on direct quotations which can suppress the development of your own academic voice. We shall also provide some tips on how reference correctly using the Harvard system.
Writing your conclusion.
While the introduction is your first paragraph your final paragraph will be your conclusion and this is where you will leave your reader. We shall provide advice on keeping a conclusion reasonably short and what to include in them, along with the importance of not introducing any new information, since you will have done this in the main body of the assignment. A good conclusion should convince your reader of the validity of your viewpoint and that it rounds off your work, so that your assignment feels complete.
Tidying up – proofreading and editing your work.
In this session we shall look at the importance of proofreading your work, because this is a very useful way of identifying mistakes and tidying up your work before submitting it in. We shall provide some useful tips in doing this effectively.
To register to attend in person at G004a - Academic Skills Hub in Avery Hill Library, please sign up by clicking the Begin Registration button at the bottom of this page.
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