Week 3: Using academic vocabulary II

Week 3
Feb. 2
Integrating Data
Academic Vocabulary II
◦ Defining and Naming
General guidelines for presenting data:
◦ Present findings as concisely as possible, but provide
enough details to justify your conclusions
◦ You can assume your reader has a working knowledge of
basic statistics (such as a 1st year stats course)
 You may have to explain the more advanced multivariate
statistical methods, such as repeated measures ANOVAS or
multiple regression analysis
◦ Graphs and tables take up space, so only use them if they
are essential to show findings in a graphical format.
 Information in a table should be summarized or discussed, so
the reader should not have to look at the table to follow the
discussion on the results.
 You should guide the reader through the table by pointing out
the interesting results in the table.
◦ Interpret all your research findings; don’t leave it to a
reader to try to figure out what numbers in a table mean
(Kotzé, 2007, p 53-54)
Expected structure when integrating a table:
1. Location elements and/or summary statements
2. Highlighting statements
3. Discussion of implications, problems, exceptions,
recommendations or other interesting aspects of
the data.
In this example, the highlighting statements
and discussion are combined. Can you
identify them?
P142, 145 HO
(Swales & Feak, 2012, p 144)
Location statements that often follow a table:
To keep good connections, this could come
at the end of the paragraph before:
◦ Table 5 shows the types of….
◦ Table 6 provides summary statistics for…
◦ Figure 2 shows a honeycomb solid oxide fuel cell
(SOFC) unit….
◦ Figure 1 plots wealth as a function of age.
◦ The types of internet misbehavior common among
university students are shown in Table 4.
◦ …variables used in the analysis are provided in
Table 5.
passive tense is ok
(Swales & Feak, 2012, p 147)
Consider language for highlighting something
important from your data:
◦ As can be seen in the first column,…
◦ As shown in Table 1,…
◦ As predicted by the model, …
◦ As described above,…
◦ As described on the previous page,…
◦ As described in the previous section,…
Notice the prepositions
Notice the progression from specific to general in
the language choices.
With highlighting statements you can:
◦ Spot trends or regularities in the data
◦ Separate more important findings from less
important ones
◦ Make claims of appropriate strength
Try to avoid:
◦ Simply repeating all the details in words
◦ Attempting to cover all the information
◦ Claiming more than is reasonable or defensible
(Swales & Feak, 2012, p 159)
Look at your examples that you brought to class,
and find a table in each that is discussed.
Consider the typical three parts we’ve discussed:
1. Location elements and/or summary statements
2. Highlighting statements
3. Discussion of implications, problems, exceptions,
recommendations or other interesting aspects of the
Which of the above does the commentary have?
Not have?
What is different between the examples?
Look at a table or figure in your own writing, try
to identify the three typical parts:
1. Location elements and/or summary statements
2. Highlighting statements
3. Discussion of implications, problems, exceptions,
recommendations or other interesting aspects of the
Which of the above does your commentary have?
Not have?
What would you suggest to improve?
Alternative if you don’t have tables in your
writing: P166, 167
Defining and Naming, when we return
Paragraph: Detailed definitions, such as in a
dictionary or for a complex term.
Full sentence: A common general statement to
develop common understanding, or can function
as a hook.
Embedded Phrase: Embedded definitions can
clarify terms but are not used if the reader
should be familiar.
◦ “The majority of corporate profits, or earnings after all
the operating expenses have been deducted, are subject
to tax by the government.”
◦ Also signaled by “known as”, “defined as” and “called”
Try a definition, either embedded or full
sentence, with a term in your field
(From Swales & Feak, 2012, p 65)
It is helpful to offer a definition in what
◦ The term or concept may be unfamiliar to your
◦ You need to display your understanding for a
course or examination.
◦ The origin sheds light on the issue at hand.
◦ There is lack of agreement or some ambiguity
surrounding the meaning.
(From Swales & Feak, 2012, p 67)
Consider P68-69 on the handout.
Consider the formal sentence definition also:
Which definitional technique
TASK SEVEN (P.70, with the journal you brought)
◦ A solar cell is a device that/which converts energy of
sunlight into electric energy.
◦ have you used?
◦ could you use?
◦ are you unlikely to use?
P68-70 HO
“In the last decade, tremendous strides have
been made in the science and technology of
The first use of an acronym, spell it out:
◦ “In the last decade, tremendous strides have been made
in the science and technology of organic light-emitting
diodes (OLEDS).”
Exception: if you will insult your readers or if the
base term is so obscure it no longer applies
◦ E.g. The data was collected from participants on a USB.
USB stands for…?
(From Swales & Feak, 2012, p 61)
“Whereby” is commonly used in formal writing
instead of “by which”, “through which”
◦ Collective bargaining is a process whereby
employers agree to discuss work-related issues
with employee representatives.
Avoid using “when” and “where” in definitions
◦ NOT: Pollution is when the environment becomes
contaminated as a result of human activity.
N (thing)
when (time)…
N (thing)
◦ USE: Pollution is a form of environmental
contamination resulting from human activity.
N (thing)
(From Swales & Feak, 2012, p 73)
We have looked at three ways to define:
◦ As paragraphs, general statements, or embedded
◦ Also, integrating acronyms for terms
Look at the writing you have in progress. The
first time you introduce a term,
◦ do you define it in any way?
◦ did you use any acronyms that should be spelled
out the first time?
Reasons why articles are rejected:
◦ The research does not make a sufficiently large
contribution to the “body of knowledge” (i.e., to the
◦ The conceptual framework (i.e., the literature review is not
well developed, lacks precise definitions or core constructs,
lacks compelling theoretical motivation for stated
◦ The methodology used in the study is seriously flawed
(e.g., the sample is too small or the reliability and validity
of measure are questionable)
◦ The author’s writing style is disorganized or the article is
not structured properly.
Where in your writing should you look for each one?
What should you look for specifically?
(Kotzé, 2007, p 1-2)
The first three (contribution, conceptual
framework, methodology) may be difficult to
know if it is not your field or specialty, but
advised writing style is that it be for “an
intelligent layperson”
◦ Later, we’ll also look at establishing a research
space and establishing a niche, which a reviewer
can help see if you have done.
Writing style:
◦ Use expected organizations for your genre (e.g., journal, book review)
◦ Be careful not to repeat the same information in different paragraphs or
◦ Aim for a concise style: Keep sentences short, longer than three lines if
often difficult to follow; sentences with “and” can often be broken up
◦ Ask yourself when reading:
Have I (or, the writer) clearly defined this concept/construct?
Am I making logical sense here?
Am I repeating myself?
How can I shorten this?
◦ Listen to your reader: If a reader (any intelligent layperson) tells you it isn’t
clear, it probably isn’t.
 Their advice of what to change might not be the fix you need, but at least
you can know something isn’t clear.
 Connections, reordering sentences, or explaining might help.
Example reviewer comments: (1) comments/changes; (2) Editor
(examples are from Kara’s personal writing, please no judging, or reusing)
Bring two articles from a journal or database
in your discipline, similar to what you are
writing (hard copy or on your computer)
Consider glancing through this Theuns Kotze
article at the abstract and introduction
Keep the same partner as last week
Use the same workshopping instructions
This week’s global issue to consider:
◦ Integrating data
This week’s local issue to consider:
◦ Defining and naming language
Two have signed up to meet me today.
(From Liu & Hansen, 2002, p 138)