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About this book

This engaging guide will equip students who are non-native speakers of English with the tools and confidence to respond effectively and appropriately to written assignments at university. It supports students in the development of essential writing skills, such as structuring paragraphs and building an argument, and provides practical guidance on adhering to the conventions of academic writing. It guides students systematically through a series of text analyses which bring out key linguistic and rhetorical features, making complex textual issues manageable and understandable for learners of all abilities.

This is an ideal self-study aid for non-native English speakers, both on pre-sessional language courses and on degree programmes, who need to get to grips with the conventions of academic writing.

Table of Contents

Essential Features of Academic Writing

Frontmatter

UNIT 1. Appropriate writing style

Abstract
The word ‘style’ refers to the particular way you use words and sentences to express ideas. At university, you are often communicating complex issues and facts. When you write, it is important to think about the most effective way to convey your message to the reader. Writing appropriately means using a writing style that is suitable or right for university contexts and the assignment you have been given.Using speech sentence patterns and words in a written assignment gives it a conversational and casual quality, which is inappropriate in university contexts.The table below summarises some common features of language use in both styles.
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UNIT 2. Correct conventions for using sources

Abstract
At university, you are expected to read other people’s research findings and ideas and use them to support your arguments.Quotations, paraphrases and summaries are drawn from other sources and must be referenced. You must tell the reader the source of your information and document it accurately in your essay or report, using standard referencing conventions.You will soon become familiar with some of these referencing styles: American Psychological Association (APA), Harvard, Modern Language Association (MLA), and Chicago. The latest editions of these and other styles are readily available via the internet. Use a style appropriate to your discipline or as recommended by your faculty. Once you have selected a style for a particular subject area, use the format consistently and accurately throughout the assignment.
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UNIT 3. Clear structure and layout

Abstract
When you receive feedback comments in your written assignment such as ‘poor structure’ or ‘not well-organised in parts’, do you know what they mean? This unit presents an overview of some general principles relating to structure, organisation and layout. From PART III Developing your writing to PART V Putting it all together, you will see examples of how these principles are applied by students writing longer essays.The strategy is a useful guide. It gives you control over the overall structure of your essay or report in relation to the assignment question. Too many body paragraphs gives your writing a fragmented look. The entire discussion may also lack coherence or flow and connectivity.
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UNIT 4. Coherent flow of ideas

Abstract
The logical flow or ‘coherence’ of ideas can be improved by the use of specific cohesive devices to provide meaningful links between ideas and to signal your intentions clearly to the reader. In written assignments, coherence occurs on two levels: [1] within a paragraph and [2] between paragraphs. We will look at some examples of how these two levels work later in the unit.
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UNIT 5. Accurate use of language

Abstract
Accuracy is the quality of being correct and precise by using the rules governing English grammar, sentences and word use. Accuracy is an important feature of written communication because if your writing contains a high error rate, the message you want to convey may be unclear. The reader’s engagement with your writing may also be reduced.We will look at some common areas of difficulty for students writing in English as an additional language.
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Types of University Written Assignments

Frontmatter

UNIT 1. Essays

Abstract
Essays are the most common types of undergraduate written assignments, especially in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. In academic contexts, essays usually involve a point of view or some indication of your position or thesis on the issue. Depending on the assignment question and type of essay, the thesis may be explicitly stated at the beginning of the essay or implied and stated more clearly at the end of the essay.This unit presents five types of essays you may write at university: analysis, visual analysis, discussion, reflection and argumentation. These labels may not be used in the assignment question itself, but you are often instructed to ‘analyse’, ‘describe’ or ‘discuss’ an issue (see a list of instruction words and their meaning in Appendix B)
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UNIT 2. Case studies

Abstract
A case study is a discussion of a specific organisation, person or situation in a real-life context to investigate a problem, arrive at a decision and propose solutions. Case study assignments are commonly used in Business, Law, Political Studies and Nursing.There are some variations. In some case study assignments, you do not gather your own data using research methods such as observations, interviews or site visits. Instead, you use existing descriptions or published information on a case. You may be given a scenario, which is a fictional sequence of events or setting.Most undergraduate case study assignments are concerned with the application of knowledge. You discuss the evidence from the case, relate it to relevant theory, generalise and predict future trends from the case analysis.
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UNIT 3. Reports

Abstract
A report is a specific form of writing that gives a full account of what has been observed, done or investigated in a laboratory or experimental study. It has structural elements not found in essays and is visually distinguishable from essays by its use of headings and numbering systems. Undergraduate reports are common in the Physical Sciences (e.g. Engineering, Chemistry, and Physics), Social Sciences (e.g. Anthropology and Sociology) and Life Sciences (e.g. Psychology, Medical, Health and Biological Sciences).Report writing gives you practice in preparing a professional document. It also tests your ability to describe, explain and analyse results of an experiment or study.
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UNIT 4. Literature reviews

Abstract
A literature review brings together arguments from multiple sources to make a case for a research proposal or new investigation. It involves a thorough investigation and assessment of what has been written and researched on a topic. You may be asked to write literature reviews in your third or final year of study at universit.A literature review can be the assignment itself to establish a case for a research proposal or integrated into a research proposal assignment. In undergraduate writing, a literature review is more likely to be integrated into your research proposal. In this case, the review is guided by your research question or hypothesis (see Research proposals in Unit 5).
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UNIT 5. Research proposals

Abstract
In your third or final year of undergraduate study, you may be asked to submit a research proposal on a topic related to your course. You will need to establish a clear purpose for your proposal. This involves stating at least one research question, which is a statement of what you expect to find.A research proposal assignment includes detailed planning and methodology and persuasive argumentation. More specifically, it tests your ability to.
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Developing Your Writing

Frontmatter

UNIT 1. Aspects of development

Abstract
Considering these two aspects of development gives you control over the writing process, because you will have a clearer idea of how you are going to construct an effective response to the assignment question.
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UNIT 2. Methods of organisation

Abstract
This method involves breaking a subject down into workable units by classifying or dividing it into types or categories and discussing each one in a systematic manner. It is often used in analytical essays, which involve close examination of a topic by breaking it down into smaller components. In terms of language and style, the progression from one category or type to the next may be signalled explicitly by using sequence markers (such as the first, secondly, finally, a final point, another, also, the latest, the most recent).
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UNIT 3. Introductions and conclusions

Abstract
One of the challenges of writing is beginning the essay or report because you think you are constructing something from nothing. Ending the essay or report can also be challenging because you feel you are just repeating the same information. This unit describes models for constructing effective introductions and conclusions that reflect their respective functions in a piece of extended writing.
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UNIT 4. Paragraph structure and construction

Abstract
The brief discussion of paragraphing in PART I, Unit 4 emphasises the importance of clear presentation and layout. This unit discusses the principles that govern paragraphing in more detail and describes a model for constructing a coherent paragraph. Understanding these principles will give you a framework for developing ideas in logical paragraphs in the main body of the essay.
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UNIT 5. Techniques for developing your writing

Abstract
This unit looks at some ways of elaborating on and expanding ideas in individual paragraphs in the body of the essay or report. Each technique is examined separately, although in practice, you may use more than one technique to build a whole essay (see these techniques in practice in the full-length essays in PART V Putting it all together).
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Presenting a Point of View: Argumentation

Frontmatter

UNIT 1. The elements of argumentation

Abstract
Academic arguments require careful analysis of the topic and the issues it raises. In academic contexts, argumentation is not about being right or wrong about an issue or pointing out that something is either true or false, However, a thesis is usually expected and needs to be justified with logical reasoning and good judgement.
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UNIT 2. The issue and thesis statement

Abstract
These are two basic approaches to undergraduate argumentative essays. A thesis-led argument usually has a thesis statement in the introduction which identifies your position on the issue clearly. In developing the argument in the body of the essay, you set out to defend your thesis, using persuasion and reasoning. The thesis is usually restated in the conclusion, which reviews the main arguments that support the thesis.
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UNIT 3. Structuring the argument

Abstract
Argumentative essays have the basic structure of an academic essay, with an introduction, main body paragraphs and a conclusion. Building an argument is also more successful if the principles of paragraph construction based on the TEC model are applied (see Part III, Unit 4 Paragraph structure and construction).
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UNIT 4. Building the argument

Abstract
In logical reasoning, you want to make sure that the reader can follow the line of reasoning. One way to achieve this is to uselogical connectors. These are words or phrases that help to organise your argument into logical segments. They may be used at the start of a sentence or in the middle.
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UNIT 6. Argumentative essays for study

Abstract
Up to this point, we have looked at elements of argumentation using short extracts of student writing. This unit brings all these elements together in full-length essays. The essays have been selected to illustrate two approaches to argumentative essays: thesis-led and discussion-led. The approach you choose affects the overall argumentative style and use of the argumentative strategies examined in the earlier units. The first three essays use a thesis-led approach with varying degrees of intensification and qualification. The last essay uses a discussion-led approach.
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Putting it all Together

Frontmatter

ESSAY 1. Analytical: comparison and contrast

Abstract
The genre label ‘historical film’ is one of several used to describe films with narratives set wholly or partly in the past (Chapman 2)….. Other labels include costume, period or heritage film. These films put fictional characters in historical settings and provide glimpses of a past era. The accuracy of their representation of the past may be debatable but the visual accuracy of the setting achieved through mise-en-scene of authentic period objects and costume enable these films to reflect on social attitudes of the period in a specific and vivid manner. The following is an exploration of how two historical films, The Last Samurai and Gosford Park, … construct images of the past that cause the audience to reflect on issues of class, intercultural and transnational relations, which still have relevance today.
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ESSAY 2. Analytical response

Abstract
The third movement of Webern’s String Quartet op.5 explores the notion of musical time and defies the classical presumption that music must have harmonic progression to define a clear trajectory. Webern instead creates this trajectory through the use of counterpoint in structure, pitch organisation, timbre and rhythm.
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ESSAY 3. Analytical and discursive

Abstract
Emile Zola, a friend of Manet, saw him as one of the ‘masters of the future but a child of his own time.Indeed, Manet is now regarded by many as the father of modernism. He was a realist with his content, but developed the impressionist technique, both of which reacted against the traditions of the French Royal Academy. However, Manet did not ignore the Academy completely, as Reyburn comments, ‘Manet…was a sphinx-like figure, on the one hand outrageously confronting the salon and its audience, on the other craving its acceptance.’ Indeed, Manet saw the Salon as the ‘true field of battle’ where ‘one must measure oneself’.
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ESSAY 4. Analytical

Abstract
Artist Andy Warhol, leader of the 1960s ‘Pop Art’ movement, created work that paralleled the consumer culture of the time. One of his most famous works is Campbell Soup Cans, produced in 1963. The work consisted of thirty-two almost identical images, each of a different flavoured can of Campbell’s Soup. While being simplistic in style, it has proved to be a complicated and ambiguous piece, with its meaning being up for interpretation Although the text can be easily related to the consumer driven society of the 1960s, employing sociological theory helps to develop a deeper understanding of the text to determine how Campbell Soup Cans reflects, glorifies or even mocks the mass-consumption of the modern era.
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ESSAY 5. Discursive

Abstract
The organisation of modern families has changed over time, with men and women participating in paid work to provide for family. With both in paid work, who performs the unpaid work that sustains day-to-day living? This research essay critically discusses the notion that men make significant contributions to childcare and other household duties. It will do this by first addressing a brief history of changes to the family organisation …and describing two dominant views. Secondly, it draws on statistics from … to argue the notion of men’s significant participation in unpaid work. Thirdly, there is a discussion on the practice of ‘doing gender’ which describes how men and women participate in gender roles influenced by society … It will also discuss the power relations between men and women, which comes from inequalities of income, policy, tradition and attitudes. Lastly, this essay highlights research that explain why men do not participate as much as women in unpaid work.
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ESSAY 6. Case study

Abstract
Culture is an important organisational facet and plays a vital role in influencing employee behaviour and a firm’s success. Organisational culture is defined as ‘the shared values and beliefs that provide the norms of expected behaviour in an organisation’ (Hogan & Coote, 2014, p. 1). The critical perspective maintains that organisational culture is constructed naturally by employees and not something that management can manipulate (Knights & Wilmott, 2012). It creates a weaker culture because the same values are not shared by all employees (Saffold III, 1988). The mainstream perspective advocates that organisational culture plays a pivotal role in a firm’s success. It describes culture as something an organisation ‘has’; it is manufactured by management to unite staff and create a common goal (Knights & Wilmott, 2012). Kermally (2005) argues that in a firm with a strong manufactured culture, it is easier to know what behaviour is expected as opposed a culture in which the behaviours and attitudes emerge naturally. This essay analyses the culture at Mars Incorporated, an American global manufacturer of pet care products, confectionery, drinks and health products. It draws on the theories of Schein (1989), Handy (1999) and Peters and Waterman’s (1982) 7s framework for culture and management. It concludes that the manufactured culture at Mars has led to its overall success.
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ESSAY 7. Discursive

Abstract
Some people have questioned whether caffeine should be considered a drug of abuse and caffeine dependence included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (Hughes et al., 1992; Nehlig, 1999). This essay will describe the effects of caffeine and where it is found and explore whether caffeine should be considered a drug of abuse. The basis of this consideration will be whether caffeine fits the DSM-IV criteria for substance abuse or dependence, and the abuse liability of caffeine.
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