Academic Writing

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Academic Writing
Academic Writing
Part Two
1
Academic Writing
When we look at the following text extract, most of us
would in all likelihood classify it as a sample of academic
writing. But what in fact are the characteristics that lead
us to this conclusion? Please consider the text for a few
minutes and note down what linguistic features and other
characteristics in your opinion make this an example of
academic English.
Using celebrities in advertising dates back to the late nineteenth century, and this common
advertising practice has drawn a considerable amount of academic and practical attention (see
Erdogan 1999 for an extensive review). Most academic investigations of celebrity endorsement
have been contextualized in the realm of source credibility and attractiveness models, and
suggest that celebrities exert their influence on consumers through perceived attributes such as
expertise, trustworthiness, attractiveness, familiarity, and likeability (Ohanian 1990, 1991).
Another stream of research on celebrity endorsement, which is labeled the "match-up
hypothesis," has examined the fit or "match" between a celebrity and the product being endorsed,
and maintains that celebrity endorsement is more effective when the images or characteristics of
the celebrity are well matched with the endorsed product (Kahle and Homer 1985; Kamins 1990;
Kamins and Gupta 1994; Till and Busier 2000). In a similar vein, McCracken suggests that a
"celebrity who best represents the appropriate symbolic properties" of the product should be
selected, thus highlighting the importance of the cultural meanings of celebrities in the
endorsement process. Celebrities embody a collection of culturally relevant images, symbols, and
values. As images of the celebrities become associated with products through endorsement, the
meanings they attach to the products are transferred to consumers through purchase and
consumption (McCracken 1989, 316). Therefore, the practice of celebrity endorsement should be
closely related to the cultural context in which the images of celebrities are formed and individual
celebrities are selected to be linked with particular products.
For advertising practitioners, employing an appropriate celebrity endorser to promote a product is
an important and difficult task. For instance, as suggested in the theoretical literature,
professionals at advertising agencies and their client companies in the United States and the
United Kingdom cited celebrity attributes such as image, trustworthiness, and familiarity, as well
as the fit between the celebrity and the product, as important factors for choosing the appropriate
endorsers (Erdogan, Baker, and Tagg 2001; Miciak and Shanklin 1994). Other highly ranked
decision factors include celebrity/target-audience congruence, costs of securing the celebrity, the
celebrity's risk of controversy, and the celebrity's prior endorsement. As suggested by Erdogan,
Baker, and Tagg (2001), the perceived importance and the actual use of endorser selection
criteria may vary from culture to culture. Differences in the entertainment industry and agency
business, and more broadly, in the cultural environments are likely to influence the execution of
the celebrity endorsement strategy across countries.
Arguing for standardized advertising across countries, some contend that consumer demands
and tastes have become similar on a global scale (Levitt 1983; Taylor and Johnson 2002) and
that using celebrities with worldwide recognition in advertising is an effective means of
overcoming cultural difficulties (Erdogan 1999; Kaikati 1987; La Ferla 2001). Others claim that
despite some observed convergence among consumers around the world, fundamental values
still remain divergent across cultures. Therefore, international advertisers cannot assume that the
same advertising technique should be uniformly applied or that it will be equally effective in
different countries (De Mooij 1998, 2003; Onkvisit and Shaw 1999). Yet research on similarities
and differences between cultures in the use of celebrity endorsement in advertising is scarce,
despite the potential cultural influence on this technique as speculated in the literature.
Sejung Marina Choi, Wei-Na Lee, Hee-Jung Kim. LESSONS FROM THE RICH AND FAMOUS:
A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Celebrity Endorsement in Advertising. Journal of
Advertising. Summer 2005, vol. 34, Iss. 2.
2
Academic Writing
Academic writing – general issues (1)
• At first sight, most of us would
probably mention some of the
following:
• the use of sources
• quotations
• vocabulary characteristic of a
specific field
• formal language and format
– vocabulary
– structures
– absence of features of spoken
language
– layout
– matter-of-fact style
3
Academic Writing
Academic writing – general issues (2)
• Let us first look in more detail into
the style of the passage and
academic writing more generally.
• No matter what style manual or
other source on academic writing
you consult, you are likely to come
across the following adjectives
describing the style of academic
writing:
–
–
–
–
–
formal
impersonal
precise
cautious
unemotional
4
Academic Writing
Academic writing – general issues (3)
• The reasons for citing such stylistic characteristics
arise from the traditional view of science,
according to which issues should be handled
objectively, precisely, and neutrally. According to
the same principle, it is often said that the style of
academic writing should be as objective, precise,
and neutral as possible.
• The degree to which such features apply depends
on different variables, such as the topic, the
audience that one is writing to, and the type of
document that is being produced. Generally
speaking, however, when writing something for
study or professional purposes, it is always the
safer alternative to be formal, impersonal, precise,
and so on—the opposite may puzzle or annoy a
reader who is expecting ’true’ academic or
otherwise matter-of-fact style.
• In academic writing, then, we typically think about
three variables when we determine how we
should write: topic, audience, and purpose of
writing.
5
Academic Writing
Academic writing – general issues (4)
•
When writing a Bachelor’s thesis in English, one should
thus consider the following:
– How does my own topic area affect language use?
– What kind of audience am I writing for?
– What is the purpose of writing?
– How do the audience, topic and purpose of writing
together affect my use of language?
•
Regardless of the topic area, audience, and purpose, certain
general guidelines can be provided as a starting point:
– use formal words and structures (do NOT use shortened
verb forms or negatives such as I’m, don’t, etc.)
– do not over-emphasize your own person or that of
someone else (impersonality, objectivitypassive voice,
impersonal structures, etc.)
– be cautious when dealing with issues not necessarily
accepted by everyone (modal auxiliaries such as
may/might/should; adverbs and adjectives such as
potential, perhaps, possibly, likely, etc.)
– use the professional terminology of your field, but avoid
saying things in an overly complicated manner. Technical
terminology will help you discuss matters in more detail
(e.g. ‘digit’ vs. ‘number’), but it may also obscure the
message when used in the wrong context (e.g. ‘feline
olfactory organ’ vs. ‘cat’s nose’)
– keep in mind your intended audience and its expectations
– In sum: the style of your writing should be uniform
and consistent and the language (in terms of
vocabulary and structure) should be appropriate for
6
the context.
Academic Writing
Academic writing – general issues (5)
•
•
•
•
How does my own topic area affect language use?
What kind of audience am I writing for?
What is the purpose of writing?
How do the audience, topic and purpose of writing
together affect my use of language?
•
Each topic area has its own special characteristics, which may
vary from the type of terminology used to various other issues,
such as the structure of academic writings and the use of
sources.It is difficult to give rules which would apply to all
subject areas. Therefore, you are stylistically best off by
following the guidelines of your school and by looking closely
at the conventions used in for example books, journals, and
other previous writings in your topic area.
When writing a Bachelor’s thesis, you can presume that your
reader is educated in the same field as yourself and his/her
general knowledge of the field in question is of at least the
same level as your own.
There are various purposes for writing a Bachelor’s thesis.
From an educational perspective, it is a demonstration of your
ability carry out and report a study of your own field of
expertise. On the other hand, more and more theses also
have a practical function insofar as they are commissioned by
companies or other organisations. The needs of the
commissioning party may also have an effect on the form that
a thesis takes.
In all, the language and content of all Bachelor’s theses
depend on a combination of the factors mentioned, and
ultimately the effect of the different factors is a question to be
resolved by the writer, often through a negotiation with the
7
supervisors of the thesis.
•
•
•
Academic Writing
Academic Style: Practical Examples
• Formality
this piece of writing the present study (=this study)
my essay’ll make it clear the present paper will clarify
• Impersonality
Many of my friends and colleagues say that… It is
commonly said that…
I, you, my friend Dave
the present study/author,
one, Professor Robertson/Robertson (1992)
• Precision
pets like cats, dogs, etc. pets, such as cats and dogs,
around half of the groupapproximately 53% of the group
• Caution
Our study proves that This study shows that
I’m sure this is so. There is reason to believe that this is
so.
We really couldn’t make anything of the results. There
were difficulties in analyzing the results.
• Lack of emotion (an objective, unemotional stance)
I think that this idea sucks. This idea may not be
accurate.
In my opinion this is a wonderful topic. This topic is worth
investigating because….
8
Academic Writing
Now try making these more
academic:
1. This test isn’t good enough.
2. The results were a lot better than I
originally thought.
3. The methodological problem is a
tough nut to crack.
4. We want to sort out how old
geezers get along with teenagers.
5. I have a hunch that the bosses are
to blame for the company’s
troubles.
9
Academic Writing
Exercise: Formality
Below is a spoken, informal attempt
at defining what ‘marketing’ means.
Please write a more formal written
version of the definition, using full
sentences.
Marketing? Yes, well… marketing
is, I guess, about someone trying
to… let me see… get people
interested you know, in things they
… oh, yes, want them to buy.
10
Academic Writing
Formality: sample solution
Formal
Marketing refers to
communicating about a
product or service with the
purpose of encouraging the
recipients of the
communication to purchase
or use the product or
service.
11
Academic Writing
Style: practical issues
• When it comes to style, there are a
variety of issues at stake. Ultimately,
however, the key thing is that the style of
a Bachelor’s thesis does not stand out
from the crowd negatively.
• Issues of style may have a significant
bearing on how a thesis is approached by
its readers. For many readers, the quality
of the reporting is in direct comparison
with the quality of the work reported. In
other words, excellent research can be
spoiled by bad reporting. On the other
hand, research with slim results can be
made to look a lot more appealing if the
quality of reporting is high.
12
Academic Writing
Exercise: Change of style
To use the extract below for purposes that
require more formal (academic) style, shift
the key vocabulary; everyday words =>
precise terms, and eliminate unwanted
personal pronouns. Also, remove any words
that are not necessary.
Clients and Servers. In general, all of the
machines on the Internet can be categorized as
two types: servers and clients. Those machines
that provide services (like Web servers or FTP
servers) to other machines are servers. And the
machines that are used to connect to those
services are clients. When you connect to
Yahoo! at www.yahoo.com to read a page,
Yahoo! is providing a machine (probably a
cluster of very large machines), for use on the
Internet, to service your request. Yahoo! is
providing a server. Your machine, on the other
hand, is probably providing no services to
anyone else on the Internet. Therefore, it is a
user machine, also known as a client. It is
possible and common for a machine to be both a
server and a client, but for our purposes here
you can think of most machines as one or the
other.
Source: HowStuffWorks
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/web-server.htm/printable
13
Academic Writing
Change of style * KEY
Clients and Servers. In general, all
computers on the Internet can be
categorized as two types: servers and
clients. Computers that provide services,
e.g. Web servers or FTP servers, to other
computers, are servers, whereas
computers that are used to connect to
the services are called clients. When a
user connects to Yahoo! at
www.yahoo.com to read a webpage,
Yahoo! provides a computer, or a cluster
of large computers, to service the user’s
request. This is how Yahoo! provides a
server. The Internet user’s computer, on
the other hand, does not provide services
to any other Internet users. Therefore, it
is a user computer, also known as a
client. However, it is possible for a
computer to be both a server and a client.
14
Academic Writing
Style: practical issues
• One of the things that you should
pay attention to is that your writing
is easy to follow.
• Therefore, make your texts wellorganized. Toward this end, pay
attention to for example:
– dividing your text into sensible
components (paragraphs subsections,
main sections,).
– paragraph structure
– Cohesion and coherence at different
levels (cohesion means that the
language indicates the links between
the various issues; coherence means
that interrelated issues are presented
logically)
– economy of expression
15
Academic Writing
Paragraphs (1)
What is a paragraph?
• A paragraph is a collection of
related sentences dealing with a
single topic.
• Effective paragraphs normally
contain the following overlapping
traits: Unity, Coherence, A Topic
Sentence, and Adequate
Development. Using and adapting
them to your individual purposes
will help you construct effective
paragraphs.
16
Academic Writing
Paragraphs (2)
1. Unity:
• The entire paragraph should
concern itself with a single
focus. If it begins with a one
focus or major point of
discussion, it should not end
with another or wander within
different ideas.
17
Academic Writing
Paragraphs (3)
2. Coherence:
• Coherence is what makes the paragraph
easily understandable to a reader. You
can help create coherence in your
paragraphs by creating logical bridges
and verbal cohesive bridges.
– logical bridges: The same idea of a topic is
carried over from sentence to sentence
• Successive sentences can be constructed in
parallel form
– verbal cohesive bridges:
• Key words can be repeated in several
sentences
• Synonymous words can be repeated in several
sentences
• Pronouns can refer to nouns in previous
sentences
• Transition words can be used to link ideas from
different sentences
18
Academic Writing
Paragraphs (4)
3. A topic sentence:
• A topic sentence is a sentence that
indicates in a general way what
idea the paragraph is going to deal
with.
• Paragraphs do not always have
clear-cut topic sentences and topic
sentences can occur anywhere in
the paragraph (as the first
sentence, the last sentence, or
somewhere in the middle).
However, an easy way to make
sure your reader understands the
topic of the paragraph is to put your
topic sentence near the beginning
of the paragraph.
19
Academic Writing
Paragraphs (5)
4. Adequate development
• The topic introduced by the topic
sentence should be discussed fully and
adequately. This varies from paragraph to
paragraph, depending on the author's
purpose, but writers should beware of
paragraphs that only have two or three
sentences. If a paragraph is short, is it
fully developed?
• Some methods to make sure your
paragraph is well-developed:
• Use examples and illustrations
• Provide data
• Provide supporting arguments (quotes and
paraphrases from other sources)
• Compare and contrast
• Discuss causes
• Deal with effects
• Proceed chronologically
20
Academic Writing
Paragraphs (6)
Economy
• Adequate development also means
economy in one’s writing—
sufficient but not excessive
development
• Do not toy around with
unnecessary words—keep the
number of words to a minimum.
• Are the following needed?
• tautology: future prospect  prospect
• intensifiers, qualifiers: very difficult 
difficult
• formulaic phrases: due to the fact that 
because
• unnecessary ’to be’, ’being’, passives
21
Academic Writing
Cohesive Text (1)
• The overall structure of
academic writing is formal and
logical.
• Your writing must be cohesive,
which means that it is
linguistically unified.
• The reader must be able to
follow the flow of your
arguments and the logic of
your ideas with the help of
cohesive links between
sentences, paragraphs,
subsections, and sections.
22
Academic Writing
Developing Cohesive Text (2)
• Use full and complete sentences
to avoid fragmentation.
• Show Connections: Make sure
that your logic is clear. Use simple
links to unify your ideas.
• Pronouns such as it and they and
this keep the focus on the ideas
that you deal with--as long as they
are clearly linked to specific
antecedents.
• Deliberate repetition of key words
also helps.
23
Academic Writing
Developing Cohesive Text (3)
• Pay attention to the use of
cohesion markers expressing
connection, order, consequence,
contrast, concession, and so on.
Depending on the situation, these
can be single words, phrases,
sentences, or entire paragraphs.
• Cohesion markers create a
backbone for your writing that the
reader can follow to understand the
relationships between your ideas
and arguments.
24
Academic Writing
Developing Cohesive Text (4)
• Connection: also, in other words,
what is more, more importantly…
• Order: first, second, third; initially,
finally; as stated in section 1; as will
be demonstrated…
• Consequence: therefore,
accordingly, thus, hence…
• Contrast: instead, in contrast, on
the other hand…
• Concession: however,
nevertheless, all the same…
25
Academic Writing
Developing Cohesive Text (5)
Cohesion between Sections—Particularly in longer
works, there is a need for items that summarize
for the reader the information just covered,
specify the relevance of this information to the
discussion in the following section, or refer back
to discussions in previous sections. A cohesive
link between sections can be a word or two
(however, for example, similarly), a phrase, a
sentence, or an entire paragraph.
Cohesion between Paragraphs—Even if you have
arranged paragraphs so that the content of one
leads logically to the next, a cohesion marker
will highlight a relationship that already exists
by summarizing the previous paragraph and
suggesting something of the content of the
paragraph that follows. A transition between
paragraphs can be a word or two, a phrase, or
a sentence.
Cohesion within Paragraphs—As with cohesion
between sections and paragraphs, cohesion
markers within paragraphs act as cues by
helping readers to anticipate what is coming
before they read it. Within paragraphs,
transitions tend to be single words or short
phrases.
26
Academic Writing
Economy (1): eliminate
unnecessary components
• On a number of occasions, authors
clog up their own prose with one or
more extra words or phrases that
appear to add so very little new
information to the meaning of a
certain expression but however do
not add to the meaning of the entire
sentence overall. Although words
and phrases of these kinds can be
utterly meaningful in the suitable
context, more often than not they
are used as ‘fillers’ and can quite
easily be fully eliminated.
• What would you eliminate above?
27
Academic Writing
Compare
• Wordy
• A particle of any specific type may
well be used.
• Balancing the budget by the
upcoming deadline is an
impossibility without additional
extra help of some kind.
• More Concise
• Any particle may be used.
• Balancing the budget by the
deadline is impossible without extra
help
28
Academic Writing
You can often eliminate
expressions like these…
kind of
sort of
type of
really
basically
quite
definitely
actually
generally
individual
specific
particular
29
Academic Writing
You try…
Wordy
• Basically, industrial productivity
generally relies on particular factors
that are actually more
psychological in kind than of any
given technological type.
More Concise
• Industrial productivity depends
more on psychological than on
technological factors.
30
Academic Writing
Change phrases into single
words
• Using phrases to convey meaning
that could be presented in a single
word contributes to wordiness.
Convert phrases into single words
when possible.
Compare
• The type of experiment which
caused difficulties…
• The difficult experiment…
31
Academic Writing
Wordy
• The employee with skill...
• The department demonstrating
the best performance...
• Jack Stiles, our chief of
consulting, suggested at the latest
board meeting the installation of
microfilm equipment in the
department of data processing.
More Concise
• The skilful employee...
• The best-performing department...
• At our latest board meeting, chief
consultant Jack Stiles suggested
that we install microfilm
equipment in the data processing
department.
32
Academic Writing
Change unnecessary that, who,
and which clauses into phrases
• Using a clause to convey
meaning that could be
presented in a phrase or
even a word contributes to
wordiness. Convert modifying
clauses into phrases or single
words when possible.
33
Academic Writing
Compare…
Wordy
• The report, which was released
recently...
• All applicants who are interested
in the job must...
• The system that is most efficient
and accurate...
More Concise
• The recent(ly released) report...
• All job applicants must...
• The most efficient and accurate
system...
34
Academic Writing
Avoid there is & there are
• These expressions (the
existential construction) can be
rhetorically effective for emphasis
in some situations, but they are
also often unnecessary in
academic contexts.
• The most common kind of
unnecessary existential
construction involves an
existential phrase followed by a
noun and a relative clause
beginning with that, which, or
who. A more concise sentence
can often be created by
eliminating the existential
opening, making the noun the
subject of the sentence, and
eliminating the relative pronoun.
35
Academic Writing
Wordy
• It is the President who signs or vetoes
laws.
• There are four criteria that should be
considered: ...
• There was uncertainty about the
reasons for the financial problems.
More Concise
• The President signs or vetoes bills.
• Four criteria should be considered:...
• .The reasons for the financial problems
were uncertain.
36
Academic Writing
Exercise: economy
Improve these wordy sentences:
1. A surprising aspect of most government
negotiations is their friendly nature.
2. The fact of the recession had the effect of
causing many economic changes.
3. The new system is considered to be
effective.
4. It is felt that a reorganisation program
should be attempted by this company
before ownership measures of any kind
are taken.
5. The hydroseal is said by most users to be
faulty.
6. The novel, which is entitled Ulysses,
takes place . .
7. It was Aristotle who said
8. There is a tendency among many
students who may be said to show
certain signs of lack of knowledge in their
field of expertise that their writing will
demonstrate an overload of unnecessary
irrelevancies and comments which are 37
generally useless in function.
Academic Writing
Exercise: economy * KEY
1. Most government negotiations are
friendly.
2. The recession caused many economic
changes.
3. The new system is effective.
4. This company should try a reorganisation
program before ownership measures are
taken.
5. Most users find the hydroseal faulty.
6. The novel Ulysses takes place . .
7. Aristotle said
8. Many students who seem to lack
knowledge in their field tend to overload
their writing with irrelevancies and
generally useless comments.
38
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