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About this book

Through its use of conversational and supportive tones, this popular guide puts readers at ease, assisting the transition to academic study. With clear explanations, summaries and exercises, it is an invaluable companion for the mature student. This third edition has much new content including a new chapter on writing a dissertation proposal.

Table of Contents

The Big Picture

Frontmatter

1. Taking Notes

Abstract
In lectures, some of us hope to rely on our memories and some of us try to write down absolutely everything. But unless you have a brilliant memory, the first method won’t work, and if you try the second, you’ll exhaust yourself and your notes might not make much sense. You need a method that picks up key points without having to write too much.
Jean Rose

2. Writing an Essay

Abstract
Writing your essays is likely to be a time-consuming process at first, and many people become extremely worried about them. Sandra, one of my students, was afraid that I would think her work was childish. Another student, Bill, felt he had to prove himself first time round.
Jean Rose

3. Quoting and Referencing

Abstract
When you produce an academic piece of work, it’s very important to show where your ideas and data have come from, to reference your quotations clearly and to set everything out according to particular rules. There’s a reason for this: anyone who does academic work needs to be able to understand references in someone else’s work with ease. They need to be able to decide whether they trust the source and, if they wish, find the original book or journal to do further reading. Getting everything right will give your assignments a professional appearance, demonstrate that you’re applying academic rigour to your work and even enhance your grades. This chapter will give you the basics to get you going.
Jean Rose

Writing for Different Purposes

Frontmatter

4. Style

Abstract
As a student, you’ll be writing other assignments besides essays. You might be asked to write summaries, reports, articles, letters, and even to do some creative writing. This section of the book covers various types of assignment that you might be given, and this particular chapter forms a basis for each of the others. It shows you how to make improvements to the general texture of your writing and how you can write in different ways to suit the purpose of a particular piece of work.
Jean Rose

5. Summaries

Abstract
There are different ways of making summaries. You might be asked to write a careful summary of a short text in a hundred words or so where the aim would be to keep as much of the original information as possible. You might, however, be asked to summarise just the main ideas in a longer piece — perhaps a book. This chapter will first set out the basic method for writing a summary of a short text and then give information on how to proceed with something longer.
Jean Rose

6. Letters and Emails

Abstract
This chapter will look at the differences between formal and informal letters, at the accepted ways for setting these out in Britain, and at some of the different types of letter that you might be required to write. (You’ll find further information in Chapter 18).
Jean Rose

7. Creative Writing

Abstract
Creative writing assignments are sometimes given to enable people to look at topics on a syllabus from new angles and so to become more familiar with them. So you might be asked to do some autobiographical work or to write a poem, story or letter connected with the subject you’re studying.
Jean Rose

8. Reports

Abstract
Report-writing involves the gathering of infor mation, usually to show what’s been done or is report happening in a particular area. The requirements for particular subject areas are likely to be different, however, so it will be very important that you check with your tutor on exactly what’s expected for the task you’ve been given. In particular, the requirements for certain science subjects can be substantially different. Once you’re clued-up on the general nature of a report, however, it should be relatively easy to adjust to whatever is wanted.
Jean Rose

9. Articles

Abstract
Some courses nowadays require you to write one or more articles as part of your coursework because this can deepen your understanding. As well as giving you practice in structuring your work, it can allow you to follow a personal interest, give you a little more freedom than you have when writing an essay, and enable you to look at a topic in a broader context than usual. It’s also great for practising to communicate an aspect of your subject to a wide audience.
Jean Rose

10. Oral Presentations

Abstract
Having to give your first oral presentation at a seminar is something that people often dread. If you follow a careful plan of action, however, you’ll be able to give a creditable performance first time. The methods outlined below really do work — for everyone. They can be adapted for any circumstances — including the world of work, where the ability to give presentations is becoming more and more important.
Jean Rose

11. Exam Essays

Abstract
The best time to read this chapter is when you are within two or three months of your exams — possibly less. It’s unlikely to be much use to you a year before you sit them. You’ll only depress yourself if you start worrying about exams too early when there will still be a lot of new material to cover. Even when you are at the end of your course, you may feel incapable of tackling an exam. It’s only when you’ve completed the revision process that you are likely to begin to feel confident.
Jean Rose

12. The Proposal for Your Undergraduate Dissertation

Abstract
This chapter will get you started on preparing your proposal. In order to give you an idea of what a dissertation entails, it lists the main sections you’ll need to include. You’ll find below explanations of each of these areas together with some suggestions of how to address them briefly in your proposal (before you start work on the dissertation itself).
Jean Rose

The Nuts and Bolts of Good Writing

Frontmatter

13. Verbs and Other Parts of Speech

Abstract
In traditional grammar, all the words we ever use (well, very nearly all) fall into one of eight groups. These groups are called parts of speech — or, sometimes, word classes. Some grammarians now define extra categories, but you needn’t worry about those in order to have a good basic understanding of how parts of speech function.
Jean Rose

14. Writing Clear Sentences

Abstract
Everybody knows roughly what a sentence is, and this works fine when we leave notes around for people we live or work with or write simple letters to friends. It’s when we start to write about complex topics that difficulties can arise. This chapter will show you the basic rules, together with a number of pitfalls and how to avoid them. It will also give you a deeper understanding of how sentences work. You might find that you need to refer to the section on verbs in Chapter 13 as you read.
Jean Rose

15. Punctuation

Abstract
At school, most of us were told that punctuation is used to show a reader where to take a breath. Well, there’s some truth in that, but it’s not the whole story by any means. Punctuation is used in order to make our writing make sense. If you were to find a book that had no punctuation in it, you would find that it was very difficult to understand.
Jean Rose

16. Getting Conversation on Paper

Abstract
We all know that we need to use speech marks (sometimes called inverted commas) when we write down what someone says — direct speech. But getting it right is not always straightforward. This chapter will give you clear examples so that from now on you’ll find it simple. The ability to write direct speech accurately can be important in essays. You might want to quote something said on TV or radio by a politician or academic. Writing direct speech creatively and convincingly is also essential for writing articles and short stories.
Jean Rose

Moving On

Frontmatter

17. Your CV

Abstract
Sooner or later, everyone needs a CV, and the good news is that, once you’ve got the basics in place, writing later CVs should be a reasonably painless process. You just build on your earlier work.
Jean Rose

18. Letters and Statements for Job Applications

Abstract
It’s hardly possible to over-stress the importance of everything you write in a job application. Chapter 17 explained that your CV forms 50 per cent of the means whereby you gain an interview. Your covering letter (or statement if you are submitting an application form) supplies the other 50 per cent. It’s here that you can demonstrate your best qualities in their best light.
Jean Rose
Additional information