What is Academic Writing?
INTRODUCTION: THE ACADEMIC WRITING TASK
This chapter is produced to show you the importance of writing as a communication skill and specifically what academic writing is like. Understanding what you are doing as you write and how you approach the writing task is the secret of your success with academic writing.
Myths about writing
There are some misconceptions which people often arrive at college possessing.
Myth #1: The “Paint by Numbers” myth
Writes believe that they must follow certain stages in order to write correctly
Myth #2: writers only start writing when they have everything prepared.
They figure out much of what they want to write as they write it.
Myth #3: Perfect first drafts
Polished writings take a lot of revision, so nobody writes perfect first drafts.
Myth #4: some got it; I don’t – the genius fallacy
Writers can improve with effort and study.
Myth #5: Good grammar is good writing
Writing is more than grammatical correctness. A good writing has to do with achieving your desired effect upon your audience.
Myth #6: The Five Paragraph Essay
You should determine whenever this format will be useful for your particular writing assignments.
Myth #7: never use “I”
Avoiding the use of I may implies a distrust of informality.
The academic writing situation
It is very important to develop your writer’s sense about the communicating within the writing situation and that includes knowing the difference between speaking and writing. As we are separated from our audience when we write, we must use punctuation and word choice to communicate our tone.
Three Characteristics of Academic Writing:
Looking More Closely at the “Academic Writing” Situation
There are some questions you must keep in mind in order to have a closer look writing situation in college:
Who is your audience? (Professor, classmates or a secondary outside audience)
What is the occasion or context? (The teacher gives you and assignment for you to learn and demonstrate your learning)
What is your message? (It will be your learning or the interpretation obtained from your study of the subject matter)
What is your purpose? (Getting a good grade or showing your learning)
What documents/genres are used? (The most frequent type of document used is the essay)
To accomplish with a particular task you must be aware of what the professor expects you to do, and that is to demonstrate knowledge and proficiency accompanied with thinking skills, interpretation and presentation. To achieve that you should take into account the next elements:
Knowledge of Research Skills
Researching is an important component of writing assignments, so you will need to learn where to find reliable information.
The Ability to Read Complex Texts
You will be asked to write about topics you are not familiar with. So your ability to write well will depend on how much you read. And you will also need to think critically, separating facts from opinions.
The Understanding of key Disciplinary Concepts
It is important to know that each discipline has its own key concepts and language and what your professors want to see is that you apply these concepts in your writings.
Strategies for Synthesizing, Analyzing, and Responding Critically to New Information
You will need to learn ways of sorting and finding meaningful patterns in this information.
Academic Writing Is an Argument (A carefully arranged and supported presentation of a viewpoint) and an Analysis (identify meaningful parts of the subject to study it closely)
Three Common Types of College Writing Assignments
The Closed writing Assignment: it presents you two counter claims and asks you to determine from your own analysis the more valid claim.
The semi-Open writing Assignment: It presents you a subject matter for you to write upon, but you also have to determine your own claim.
The Open Writing Assignment: It requires you to decide both your writing topic and your claim or thesis.
Three Characteristics of Academic Writing:
- Clear evidence in writing that the writer have been persistent, open-minded and disciplined in study
- The dominance of reason over emotions or sensual perception
- An imagined reader who is coolly rational, reading for information, and intending to formulate a reasoned response.
THE FORMAT OF ACADEMIC WRITING
You will be expected to deliver a paper with specific textual features. The following list contains the characteristics of a “Critical Essay” (critical in the sense of critical thinking, not in the sense of criticize)
- It as an argument, the essay makes a point and supports it.
- The point is debatable and open to interpretation, not a statement of the obvious.
- The critical essay should be organized with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.
- Support: Using quotations is required. You need enough support to be convincing.
- Document the sources to clarify where that information came from.
- Clear transition sentences to help the reader to recognize the movement from one main point to the next.
- A critical essay is put into an academic essay format such as the MLA or APA document format.
- Grammatical correctness: you need to edit your final draft carefully in order to avoid grammatical problems.
Carroll, Lee Ann. Rehearsing New Roles: How College Student Develop s Writers. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2002. Print.
Thaiss, Chris and Terry Zawacki. Engaged Writers & Dynamic Disciplines: Research on the Academic Writing Life. Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook, 2006. Print