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About this book

Reading is part and parcel of academic writing, and knowing which sources to include in assignments and go about this process can be challenging. That’s where this handy guide comes in. With over twenty years’ experience in the field, Jeanne Godfrey is no stranger to essay writing. Taking students step-by-step through the process, from choosing their sources to checking their work, she helps students to develop the skills and confidence they need to use their reading effectively in their essays. Concise and practical, it breaks down the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of using reading in academic writing and contains valuable guidance on paraphrasing, comparing the views of different authors and commenting on sources.

This book is ideal for students of all disciplines, and can be used by college students, undergraduates and postgraduates.

Table of Contents

Using your reading

Frontmatter

Chapter A1. How do you decide what to read?

Abstract
It seems obvious that for a good essay you need good sources, but what exactly is a ‘good’ source? When looking for sources, don’t be tempted to just type your essay title straight into an online search engine in the hope that something useful will come up. Knowing what types of sources are suitable for university work, and spending some time thinking about what information you need before you start searching, will save you a great deal of time and will result in a much better piece of work. This section gives you the key steps and information you need for finding the best sources for your essay.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter A2. How do you understand and question what you read?

Abstract
When you sit down to read a book, chapter or article (we can call all of these texts) you should usually already know what type of text it is, who wrote it, that it is reliable and academic, and that it is relevant and specific to your essay question, so you will probably already have some idea about its content. The next step is to sit down and actually read it. This may sound straightforward, but the two most common reasons for students getting low marks for their essays are firstly, not reading carefully enough and/or not properly understanding the main point of the text, and secondly, not questioning what they read.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter A3. What should you write down?

Abstract
The mental and physical process of making notes helps you to understand, think and reflect on what you have read. Making notes also helps you to formulate your own thoughts and ideas, making connections in your mind with other pieces of knowledge. If you don’t make notes and just go straight from the text to writing your assignment, you will be bypassing key elements in the critical thinking process, and you will find it harder to develop your own independent understanding of the text. Importantly, making notes also helps you to start using your own words, which is essential for when you come to writing your essay. In summary, making notes helps you to control and exploit your sources rather than letting your sources control your essay.1
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter A4. Why and how should you quote?

Abstract
Quotations are phrases or sentences taken from a source unchanged. Below are the last few sentences from the business ethics essay with the quotation the student used given in blue.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter A5. Why and how should you paraphrase?

Abstract
Paraphrasing is when you express one specific idea or piece of information from a short section of source text, using your own words and style. Being able to paraphrase well is central to academic writing, and is also an ability employers look for in graduates. This section gives you essential points on paraphrasing, takes you through some examples of good and poor paraphrasing, and gives you a short practice exercise to help you acquire this complex skill.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter A6. Why and how should you summarise?

Abstract
Summarising a source is when you express its main points in your own way, using your own words. Both paraphrasing and summarising sources require you to use your own words and in-essay references, but while a paraphrase expresses all the information contained in a specific part of a text, a summary gives only the main points from a much larger section or from the whole text. Summarising is a complex skill and one that is central to academic writing and that you will need both at university and in your future career. This section gives you key points and steps for summarising, looks at common problems, and gives examples of good and poor summarising.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter A7. Putting it all together in your essay

Abstract
This final section of Part A reviews the process of using sources and looks at how to integrate quotation, paraphrase and summary into an essay paragraph. It also gives you some final comments and advice on avoiding plagiarism, and a practice exercise to help you become more aware of integrating sources into your writing.
Jeanne Godfrey

Useful vocabulary

Frontmatter

Chapter B1. Introducing sources and using verbs precisely

Abstract
In Section A7 we looked at how to integrate your sources into your assignment. Section B1 looks first at different ways of introducing a source into your essay and then looks at an important area of vocabulary for introducing, reporting and evaluating your sources; using verbs precisely.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter B2. Describing the views of different authors

Abstract
When you are using sources to help develop your own argument, you will need to understand, describe and analyse the various viewpoints of the source authors. Below are some example sentences and word information for vocabulary to describe the position an author takes and to describe viewpoints in general.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter B3. Comparing the views of different authors and showing how they cite and evaluate each other

Abstract
For most essays you will need to discuss your sources in relation to each other, showing how the views of different authors are similar or different. Below are some example sentences and word information that give you vocabulary for comparing sources that have similar, different or diverging views and information, and words and phrases for expressing contrast. Some of the example sentences have been adapted from sentences in the business ethics essay and other extracts from Part A.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter B4. Commentating positively on a source

Abstract
Below are some example sentences that give you vocabulary for introducing, describing and evaluating a source positively, i.e. in a way that shows you agree with the source and that you are using it to support your own argument.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter B5. Commenting negatively on a source

Abstract
The sentences below give you useful vocabulary for introducing, describing and evaluating a source negatively, i.e. in a way that shows you disagree with the source. An important part of developing your argument is to present opposing arguments and to show why they are not as convincing as your own (a process called rebuttal). You will often need to give only a brief rebuttal, but you should always do it fairly — don’t insult your reader’s intelligence by not representing properly the strengths of the opposing arguments.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter 6. Techniques for re-expressing sources

Abstract
Remember that when you paraphrase or summarise, it is not enough simply to replace individual words one by one from the source with your own words; doing this results in a paraphrase that is too similar to the original, mainly because it will have the same sentence pattern. To avoid this trap, make sure that you fully understand the text or text section before you start writing and that you can restate it in your own independent way.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter B7. Vocabulary and writing style

Abstract
As explained in the introduction to Part B, you need to use a fairly formal style in your academic writing that will enable you to express complex ideas precisely. Remember, however, that you also need to write in a way that is clear and to the point and not overly complicated or formal. Below are four key points that will help you use formal vocabulary and write in a clear and precise manner.
Jeanne Godfrey

Checking and correcting your work

Frontmatter

Chapter C1. Common mistakes with in-essay references

Abstract
This section contains student errors relating to different aspects of in-essay referencing (the errors are not highlighted). Identify the mistake or mistakes in each sentence and correct them. Answers and comments are given on pages 134–135.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter C2. Ten grammatical areas that cause problems

Abstract
Below are brief explanations of ten points that are common sources of error in student writing. The information on each point is followed by a few student sentences containing typical errors for you to correct (the errors are not highlighted). Answers and comments on the practice exercises are on pages 135–9.
Jeanne Godfrey

Chapter C3. Correcting other common types of error

Abstract
This section contains real student sentences that contain various common error types, grouped under the given headings. Use these sentences to further improve your awareness of common errors and proof-reading skills.
Jeanne Godfrey
Additional information