Academic Writing Danielle M. Kwasnik, Ed.D Nova Southeastern University Contributors: Donald Gainey, Ed.D Nancy Maldonado, Ph.D Steve Thompson, Ph.D What is Academic Writing Style? • • • • • When writing in an academic writing style, do not write as you would normally speak. Avoid informal language, such as slang or colloquialisms, or contractions. Structure your language carefully, using complete sentences and paragraphs. Although bulleted lists are acceptable, they should not be overused because your writing would start to look like it was just notes. You can get ideas of the kind of writing favored in your subject area by looking at relevant research papers in academic journals. Also, when you are reading for your course, you might find it useful to look at the style of writing. You will find your ability to write in an effective academic style will improve the more you read, and the more practice you get in writing. Academic writing… • is formal. • is impersonal and objective. • is cautious or tentative. • references other writers’ work. Informal vs. Formal words or phrases INFORMAL FORMAL • • • • • • • • • • • • try to find out carry out look at carefully make sure is true show get rid of Investigate conduct examine verify demonstrate eliminate Academic Writing Style Tips • Strive to be clear, concise, and precise. • Say exactly what you mean. • Complete sentences. • Clear construction of paragraphs. Treat each paragraph as a section around an idea. Do not extend paragraph length more than one full page. Academic Writing Style Tips • Avoid first person. • Sentence variety. • Very rare use of hypothetical questions. They tend to weaken the voice of the writer. Academic Writing Sample Interpersonal communication is defined as an interactional process between two people, either face-to-face or through mediated forms (Lane, 2001). Interpersonal communication theories explore concepts such as cognitive processing, relationship development, processing and maintenance, and influence (Burleson, 2001). In general, interpersonal communication theories provide a way for individuals to better understand themselves and others in the context of their communication (Arai, ShockleyZalabak, & Wanca-Thibault, 2001). It is hardly practical to study each individual person in society; therefore, researchers studying interpersonal communication have had to concentrate on generalizations that can be made to produce broader knowledge regarding communication behaviors (Salwen & Stacks, 1996). There are four specific perspectives from which interpersonal communication can be studied: (a) relational (qualitative) communication, in which the roles of sender and receiver are shared by two people concurrently in order to generate meaning; (b) situational (contextual) communication, which takes place between two people in a specific context; (c) quantitative, dyadic interactions, including impersonal communication; and (d) functional (strategic) communication strictly for the purpose of achieving interpersonal goals (Lane, 2001). While the study of interpersonal communication is clearly expansive, scholars must gain a broad understanding of interpersonal communication theories in order to determine how people can improve and enhance organizational communication skills. Grammar Checks for Writing • Subject-verb agreement • Run on sentences—two or more complete sentences together punctuated as one sentence. Use a semi colon (; ) or a period ( .) to correct this. • Avoid second person (YOU); use third person, and stay consistent using third person. Grammar Checks for Writing • Select present tense if possible; sometimes past tense is necessary, but stay consistent with tense. • Spelling • Use of quotation marks—put commas and periods inside of quotes. “The new dog is brown.” • Introductory clauses need a comma. • Use “who” and not “that” when referring to people. • Certain words or phrases should be avoided if possible: “hopefully” and “a lot.” Helpful Grammar Links Brief Overview of Punctuation: Semicolon, Colon, Parenthesis, Dash, Quotation Marks, and Italics Pronoun usage: • http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/gra mmar/pronouns1.htm Pronoun-antecedent agreement: • http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/gra mmar/pronouns.htm Subject-verb agreement • http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/gra mmar/sv_agr.htm Passive and active voice • http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/gra mmar/passive.htm Helpful Grammar Links Online Writing Lab at Purdue University • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handout s/grammar/g_overvw.html The Guide to Grammar and Writing -Answers to any other grammar issues • http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/gra mmar/marks/marks.htm Punctuation Made Simple: • http://lilt.ilstu.edu/golson/punctuation/i ntro.html Writing Tips • Do not give life to inanimate objects. For example, schools cannot "think.“ • Avoid ambiguous sentences. Follow "this," "that," "these," and "those," with the words to which the terms refer. • Spell out acronyms when they first appear; thereafter, use the acronym [Example: "The National Education Association (NEA) cited the following..."] • Do not use the first names of reference citations in your text. Writing Tips • Cite primary sources whenever possible. Sometimes secondary sources have inaccurate pages citations and quotes, or both. If you intend to use the information in your paper, go back to the original source. • Prefer the active voice to the passive voice. "The man bit the dog" is more interesting than "The dog was bitten by the man," and uses fewer words. – No. An in-service program was set up by the school system. – Yes! School personnel established an in-service program. Writing Tips • Avoid weak, verbose, wishy-washy constructions. – No. It was hoped that in the near future the students would seem to benefit from the new program. – Yes! Students will soon benefit from the new program. – No. In an article by Smith and Jones (2004) it was contended that high expectations by a school faculty could help scores obtained by students to increase. (There are many better ways!) – Yes! Smith and Jones (2004) noted that high faculty expectations seemed... Writing Tips • Paragraph. Except for emphasis and news reporting, one sentence is not a paragraph. A paragraph has a topic sentence, some sentences expanding on the topic sentence, and a conclusion or transition sentence. • Plan. Draft. Edit. Revise. Consider your idea carefully. Write it. Review and edit your writing. Check spelling, grammar, and content. • Proofread your work carefully. Is your work clear, concise, cogent, and correct? Does it make sense to you? • Have someone else proofread your work. You often are too close to your own work to see inconsistencies, errors, etc. Does your work make sense to a friendly critic? Will your work make sense to an unfriendly critic? Writing Tips • Don’t write or say “between you and I.” • Don’t write “alot.” • Don’t confuse the contraction “it’s” with the possessive “its.” • Don’t use “loose” when you mean “lose.” • Don’t confuse “their,” “there,” and “they’re.” • SPELL CHECK DOES NOT CATCH EVERYTHING!!! Commonly Confused Words and Phrases • Affect or effect? As a verb, effect means “to bring about” or “to accomplish,” while affect means “to influence.” • Allude or elude? You allude to the document where a fact may be found; you elude a question that you cannot answer. • Can or may? Can refers to ability; may refers to permission. • Farther or further? Farther is more appropriate as a distance word, while further works best as a term of time or quantity. • Good or well? In reporting conditions such as health or performance use well rather than the adjective good, although when describing attitude, it is proper to say, “I feel good today.” Commonly Confused Words and Phrases • Imply or infer? When you imply, you indicate or suggest something by word or action, without actually say it. When you infer, you deduce or draw a conclusion from the evidence. • Irregardless or regardless? Irregardless is incorrect. • Precede or proceed? When you go ahead or in front of, you precede. When you begin or carry on some action, you proceed. • Principle or principal? A principal is the head of a school, a chief official or an original sum (as in a loan). A principle is a fundamental truth.