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About this book

Combining a theoretical approach with practical activities, this book is invaluable for nursing and midwifery students and will help them to master the basics of writing at university. It equips students with the skills needed to examine cognitive processes such as reflection and critical thinking and includes essential information on referencing correctly and avoiding plagiarism. Going beyond the traditional essay, it provides support and guidance on producing care critiques, action plans, portfolios and journal article reviews alongside complex argumentative writing and undergraduate dissertation proposals.

Written in an engaging and accessible style, this is a comprehensive writing toolkit for students of nursing, midwifery, health and social care. Suitable for students of all levels, it is ideal for use in class or for independent study.

Table of Contents

The Essentials of Academic Writing

Frontmatter

1. An Introduction to Academic Writing

Abstract
Have you ever written a letter? An email? Even a short mobile text? If you have, you wrote for a purpose. It was a purposeful activity. Academic writing is also a purposeful activity. When you write an assignment, you have a definite purpose in mind. You want a particular audience (who?) to have information (what?) with a specific focus (what exactly?). You have reasons for doing so (why?), and you are delivering the information in a certain way, such as describing, discussing or analysing (how?).Let us look at an example. Suppose you had to write an essay on the following: Midwife means ‘with woman’. Discuss how the midwife should care for the woman in the second stage of labour. You could use the five question words above to ask yourself some guiding questions.
Julio Gimenez

2. Exploring Academic Genres

Abstract
While the ad for the room describes its size, furniture, location and so on, the letter to the editor presents a particular claim about a topic that has been recently discussed in the newspaper. The ad is descriptive; the letter to the editor is argumentative.As an undergraduate student of nursing or midwifery, you will be asked to produce both descriptive and argumentative writing. In the first year of your programme, you will be required to write some descriptive essays in which you mostly describe facts, sometimes with a small amount of analysis. This is normally referred to as ‘level 1 writing’ and is broadly equivalent to Certificate (C) level in the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Julio Gimenez

3. Processes in Academic Writing

Abstract
Chapters 1 and 2 laid down the foundations of academic writing. Chapter 1 explored three basic issues in academic writing: planning, organizing and paragraphing; and Chapter 2 built on those principles to deal with more specific genres such as the care critique, the journal article and the argumentative essay. This chapter considers reflection and critical thinking, two specific processes that you will need to write in other genres such as the reflective essay covered in Chapter 4. The chapter begins by exploring the nature and stages of the reflective process and then moves on to analyse the principles of critical thinking.In this section of the chapter, you will analyse reflection as a concept and as a process.Let us start by looking at some phrases connected with reflection as a concept. Complete the spidergram in Figure 3.1 with three words or phrases that you usually associate with ‘reflection’. One has been given as an example.
Julio Gimenez

Writing in Genres in Nursing and Midwifery

Frontmatter

4. How to Write Reflective Texts

Abstract
In Chapter 3 you analysed the nature and the structure of the reflective process. In this chapter, you will examine how this process can be used to plan a reflective essay. The reflective essay is an analytical piece of writing. This means that when you write a reflective essay, you need most of the reflective and critical skills you examined in Chapter 3. It also means that description will be used as background information, although it will not be the focus of a reflective essay.Let us start by drawing a comparison between description and reflection based on two experiences on clinical placement.
Julio Gimenez

5. How to Write a Care Critique

Abstract
In Chapter 2, we considered the basic elements of a care critique. In this chapter, we will examine how to structure and organize the care critique in more depth.Before considering the organization and structure of a critique, let us explore words or phrases that you associate with a ‘critique’.A critique requires presenting a balanced evaluation of what is being considered. For this, you will need all the reflective skills examined in Chapter 3. Thus, words such as analytical thinking and evaluative are closely associated with a critique.
Julio Gimenez

6. How to Write an Argument

Abstract
Whereas statement A sounds very formal and authoritative, and may even look like a claim, it is nonetheless an opinion. There is no evidence that supports the statement, so we can say that statement A simply states what the speaker or writer assumes to be true. Statement B, on the other hand, is a statement of a fact supported by evidence. As you read in Chapter 2, opinion claims do not necessarily have to be supported by evidence. You can say ‘nursing is a difficult profession’ and do not need to provide evidence of that. However, evidence is important in argumentation, as it is the basis on which your argument will rest. If you express an opinion, there is then no argument, unless your opinion is challenged and you need to support it using evidence. Only then will you have an argument.
Julio Gimenez

7. How to Write in Other Genres

Abstract
In this chapter you will explore other common genres in nursing and midwifery: action and care plans, portfolios, personal diaries, reports, systematic reviews, case studies for assessment purposes, and research proposals.The chapter opens with an examination of what action plans are and what information you will need to complete them. It then moves on to describe care plans and examines the type of information and language that you use to complete them. Next, you will analyse portfolios. The section on portfolios provides you with a fairly comprehensive coverage of the topic: what portfolios and e-portfolios are, what they contain, how they can be formatted and how they are normally assessed.The last part of the chapter deals with personal diaries, reports, systematic reviews, case studies for assessment purposes, and the research proposal. In the research proposal section, you will find information about how to prepare and present a proposal, together with tips on what to include in each section and the appropriate style to use. Finally, you will discover tips on how to get organized to write your undergraduate dissertation.
Julio Gimenez

Working with Texts

Frontmatter

8. Variety in Writing

Abstract
Nurses can work in many health-care settings. They can gain experience in all aspects of caring for clients and their families. They can build their professional career in many different ways. They may choose to become clinical specialists or consultant nurses, or they can opt for managerial positions as a head of nursing services or supervisor of other nurses. They may even prefer to pursue an academic career in education and research. These are just a few examples of the opportunities that nurses currently have to develop their professional interests.
Julio Gimenez

9. Avoiding Plagiarism

Abstract
As the definition says, plagiarism comprises two acts: stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterwards. You can avoid plagiarism by being academically honest. Don’t steal, and don’t lie.Plagiarism may take many different forms and sometimes students plagiarize without knowing. You could be severely penalized for plagiarism if you do any of the following. Look at the list in Table 9.1 and put a tick against those that you can identify as plagiarism and a cross against those that you didn’t know about.Some of these acts can be more easily identified as plagiarism than others. For instance, you may think that paying somebody to write for you (number 3) is dishonest but not plagiarism. However, if you do this you are buying somebody else’s ideas and words and then pretending they are your own. This is plagiarism.
Julio Gimenez

10. Referencing Systems

Abstract
Referencing is an essential part of academic writing. Many of your ideas and arguments will need to be supported by the ideas or arguments presented by others before you. References provide a link between your work and the work that others have previously done. They show your readers that your ideas are well founded. Used in this way, references add credibility to your work.References also demonstrate how your work contributes to developing ideas in your specific field. Many of your ideas or arguments will be elaborations on work done by others. Referencing helps you show your readers how you have built your own arguments, supporting certain views and ideas and challenging others.
Julio Gimenez

11. Conclusion: Putting It All Together

Abstract
Like any other type of writing, academic writing is best approached as a process and a product. The process starts with an examination of the question your assignment has to answer and a consideration of the most effective ways to answer it. It then moves on to gathering relevant information and to organizing and structuring this information in blocks. However, more often than not when structuring information you will probably need to go back to planning so as to reorganize the information in the most effective way.
Julio Gimenez
Additional information