How to Write Academically

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Published on October 15, 2013

Author: rossmartian

Source: slideshare.net

Description

This lesson will guide you the most important concepts for incorporating research into your academic writing.

Writing Academically Using supporting research as the basis of your written work

You’ve found your sources… Now what will you do with them? In academic writing, the sources you’ve found in your research will be the basis of your thesis. Mostly you are reporting on what you’ve learned. As a student, you are not expected to be an expert. Instead you will rely on expert publications to support your arguments and conclusions.

Opinion As we’ve discussed, you will want to rely on credible information in academic writing. This means that we need to stay away from our own opinion and editorials. You do not want to discuss the topic from the first-person perspective, avoiding anecdotal support. When making a statement or point, instead you will need to reference the professional literature and use what you have read as factual evidence of your point. This gives strength to your writing and makes it clear to your audience that you have consulted quality sources.

For example… The article discussed the potential health risks posed by playing professional football. I’ve know a lot of players on my high school team who had concussions. The medical studies seem to make sense. I can see a lot of former players getting different diseases like Alzheimer’s disease from getting hit too hard. Impact like that can’t be healthy, and I think it’s very likely that these problems will get worse as players get older. According to the article, concussions are a leading and dangerous injury among professional football players. The authors reference an American Medical Journal article that found a high instance of brain injury consistent with trauma in retired players (Jones, 2007, p. 28). In another study, Martin (2011) found “higher than average rate of Alzheimer’s disease amongst former football players” (p. 144), suggesting that the impact of a football tackles can potentially produce these symptoms.

Referencing Your Research We just saw an example of good research writing. Notice that it avoids opinion and personal observation, and it incorporates credible information to support the position. The way we refer to our research is called a parenthetical (or in-text) citation. Just like in the example, you’ll need to use parenthetical citation to reference your sources in the text of your writing. You have two options: 1) Direct Quotations 2) Paraphrased Quotation According to the article, concussions are a leading and dangerous injury among professional football players. The authors reference an American Medical Journal article that found a high instance of brain injury consistent with trauma in retired players (Jones, 2007, p. 28). In another study, Martin (2011) found “higher than average rate of Alzheimer’s disease amongst former football players” (p. 144), suggesting that the impact of a football tackles can potentially produce these symptoms.

Direction Quotations A direct quotation is incorporating an exact phrase or sentence from a source into the text of your own writing. Ex) According to Lynam (2001), “lower ambient temperature, high humidity, and high moisture content” dramatically reduced the burn rate of pyrotechnic materials in a temporary fireworks stand (p. 18).

Paraphrased Reference A paraphrased reference allows the writer to incorporate information from a source without using a specific quotation. It is still necessary to cite where you’ve learned this information. Ex) Nearly one-third of homes built within the last five years were found to be using battery-operated smoke detectors rather than the hard-wired detectors required by model code, suggesting that the requirements were not applied or enforced universally (Ahrens, 2011, p. 717).

A note on parenthetical citation In academic writing, you will not need to use a parenthetical citation for each sentence, if not using direct quotations. If multiple ideas (even an entire paragraph) were all retrieved from the same source, then it’s appropriate to cite the entire article/source only once in the text of your writing. Ex) Methane produced from manure is a tremendously flammable substance found in livestock facilities. It is found as a thick, gray foam atop manure pits that typically burns at a slow rate. The intensity of burning is largely dependent on its location in a manure pit. If the foam is located in a central area, it is not likely to spread due to wind coming from multiple directions. But if the foam is located to one side of the pit, it has a greater chance of spreading or causing a structural fire (Fulton, 2012).

Let’s review! O Avoid opinion and anecdotal evidence in your writing O Instead, rely on and use professional literature O Make sure to reference all of your supporting research, either through direct quotation or paraphrasing

Now it’s your turn This is the formula for effective academic writing! According to the article, concussions are a leading and dangerous injury among professional football players. The authors reference an American Medical Journal article that found a high instance of brain injury consistent with trauma in retired players (Jones, 2007, p. 28). In another study, Martin (2011) found “higher than average rate of Alzheimer’s disease amongst former football players” (p. 144), suggesting that the impact of a football tackles can potentially produce these symptoms. Remember, you will be using what you’ve learned during the research process to make your points. Once you’ve mastered this concept, it will help with every other course you encounter in your college career!

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