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About this book

This concise phrase book is an essential tool for all students who want to communicate their ideas, arguments and evaluations clearly and precisely. Featuring over a thousand words common to most academic disciplines, it will help students to expand their vocabulary, understand how these words are used and spot mistakes in their own academic writing. Chapters present the words in full sentences, enabling users to see exactly how they are used, and also include additional information on context, connotation and collocations.

This is an ideal reference guide for students of all disciplines and levels who are required to complete written assignments as part of their course. It is also a valuable resource for students looking to fine tune their vocabulary for job searches, interviews and writing for professional purposes.

Table of Contents

Introducing, defining and classifying

Abstract
The first few lines of your introduction should briefly tell your reader why your topic is important and interesting. Be careful, however, not to start discussing your question or issue in detail — leave that until the main body of your assignment. If you are doing higher level undergraduate or postgraduate work, you may also want to say that your research question is important partly because of the lack of existing research on the issue.
Jeanne Godfrey

Talking about aim and proposition

Abstract
This section gives you vocabulary for telling your reader your specific aim — what it is you intend to test, discuss or argue. Your aim might be to investigate and discuss a point before arriving at a final conclusion (e.g. ‘I will examine whether community service is effective’) or you might make a specific claim of which you try to persuade your reader (e.g. ‘I argue that …’). A general term for these different types of statement is ‘thesis statement’. If you find it difficult to form your thesis statement, it may be because you are not yet clear about what you want to say. If this is the case, you probably need to go back and do some more thinking and/or research. Remember to keep an open mind as you write your draft paper — it is a normal and positive part of the writing and thinking process to refine or even change your initial viewpoint by the time you come to write the final version.
Jeanne Godfrey

Structure, time, sequence and frequency

Abstract
Presenting and developing your ideas clearly and logically will help to persuade your reader that you know what you are talking about.
Jeanne Godfrey

Methodology and method, findings, size, amount, level and proportion

Abstract
When describing method and process it is common to use the passive form (e.g. The data was (were) collected …). If you have performed the action on your own, use the active form (e.g. I collected the data …), and save we for when you are referring to teamwork.
Jeanne Godfrey

Movement and change, getting better or worse, allowing or preventing and eliminating

Without Abstract
Jeanne Godfrey

Circumstance, advantage or disadvantage, presence or absence, and importance

Abstract
See also section 7 (time and sequence), section 15 (advantages and disadvantages) and section 16 (importance and influence) for other relevant words and phrases.
Jeanne Godfrey

Communication, expression, understanding, way of thinking and point of view

Without Abstract
Jeanne Godfrey

Cause and effect, dependency, similarity and difference

Abstract
As part of analysing your material you will need to reveal the connections between things. It’s important to communicate your ideas about the nature of these connections precisely (stating whether you think they are, for example, causal, reciprocal or tangential) and to give your reasons for your conclusions. A common mistake is to make a false causal connection (also called a post hoc fallacy). For example, the fact that children who play violent computer games tend to be more violent than other children does not necessarily mean that it is playing such games that causes the violent behaviour — there may be other, non-causal explanations for the correlation.
Jeanne Godfrey

Analysing and evaluating ideas

Abstract
Analysing something involves taking it apart in order to examine it in detail, and is the first stage in what is sometimes referred to as ‘synthesis’. Section 22 gives you vocabulary for analysing your material and for then starting to evaluate it by using your analysis to identify or suggest common themes and threads. (The term ‘critical analysis’ refers to the combination of analysis and evaluation.)
Jeanne Godfrey

Drawing your own conclusions, stating your own position and summarising your ideas

Abstract
The final stage in synthesis is to use your evaluation to reconstruct your material in your own way, drawing your own conclusions and generating your own concepts and ideas. You can argue against a position by admitting some points (called conceding — see section 19, page 119) but disagreeing on others, or by disagreeing with all aspects of the opposing argument. In either case you must make sure that you use your analysis and evaluation of material to give valid and coherent reasons and/or evidence for your counterargument. The penultimate step in your work should be to go beyond the material, create your own concepts, draw your own conclusions (also called inferring), to generalise and to establish new ground.
Jeanne Godfrey
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