An Introduction to Academic Writing

hi my name is John Connor Oskie I’m an English as a foreign language instructor here at the National University of Science and Technology new species in this series of videos for the academic Writing Center I will be talking about different concepts techniques and strategies related to the field of academic writing in English in this first video I’d like to begin the series by providing a brief introduction to the field of academic writing and answer the following questions question 1 what is academic English number 2 what is academic writing number 3 what are the general characteristics of academic writing and number 4 why’s academic writing important let’s begin by addressing the first question what is academic English according to dr. Karen oh well of the Cambridge University Language Center at its most basic academic English is the variety of the English language that we use to share research research refers to the process of answering a research question by creating an argument that is supported through critical analysis and the use of evidence we use academic English to reach a wide general academic audience in an attempt to persuade them that the argument we’ve created to answer our research question is an effective one there are two varieties of academic English spoken academic English and written academic English let’s take a closer look at this second variety when most people think of academic writing they think of thesis papers composed by graduate students and research articles written by professional scholars while these are two great examples of academic writing the concept can be applied more generally to include a much wider variety of tasks and objectives as I mentioned in part 1 academic English is the variety of English used to convey research so academic writing is the variety of academic English used to convey research in writing that means there are many different kinds of academic writing from literature reviews to research papers to abstracts and lab reports while trying to compare and contrast all the many different types of academic writing is a tall order the most important thing to remember is that generally each kind of academic writing has its own rules and conventions as such it’s important to identify the rules and expectations for a particular genre of writing before starting to write I will discuss the rules and expectations for a few different genres in later videos while the characteristics of a piece of academic writing may differ depending on type there are few traits that are common to most academic writing first there are focused and specific expectations when producing a piece of academic writing academic writing is used to answer research questions these questions are either provided by a course instructor or developed by the writer or researcher good academic writing starts with focused and specific questions to be answered second academic writing emphasizes logical reasoning over emotional or sensory perceptions facts are more important than feelings writing clearly means thinking clearly and so effective academic writing demonstrates clear critical thinking and the ability to make arguments stronger by supporting them with evidence third academic writing must be clear English is both a low context and reader responsible language by this I mean readers will depend on what’s been written and believe it is the writers job to make his or her argument as comprehensive as possible fourth academic writing must be coherent this means that there are logical connections between sentences one way to do this is to begin sentences with information that relates back to the previous sentence it also means that paragraphs are unified around the single idea and that all the information included in a piece of writing helps to create an effective argument used to answer the research question finally the most effective academic writing follows a process while each writer will eventually develop his or her own unique process there are a few steps that most people follow when producing a piece of academic writing these steps include analyzing the task this involves clarifying your purpose for writing and identifying your target audience number two planning your argument next you need to develop a main claim and decide how you will support this claim using evidence step 3 research this is necessary in order to gather quality fact-based objective evidence that you need to create the argument you will use to support your main claim number four start and engage in the writing and drafting process no good writing is done overnight it’s important to produce multiple drafts and to both edit and proofread your writing while it is important to consider things like punctuation and proper spelling it is even more important to see how well you’ve structured your argument and the information in your writing to do this it’s a good idea to ask for comments from peers and colleagues finally there are many benefits of investing your time and energy in becoming a proficient academic writer academic writing is an important skill to master for a wide variety of professional and personal reasons first it allows writers to make individual contributions to the ongoing dialogues in their fields it allows individuals a greater voice and ability to participate in conversations about topics important to them additionally by mastering the skills necessary to become an effective academic writer a person also becomes an effective researcher and critical thinker finally academic writing is a marketable skill that improves one’s professional qualifications and makes one a more attractive candidate for potential employers so in the end we see that academic writing is about much more than just the act of writing which is itself not simply a skill but a collection of skills in addition to putting your thoughts on the page effective academic writing involves critical thinking the ability to create a convincing argument and good research skills I hope this video has helped to improve your understanding of what people mean when they talk about academic writing if you have any questions please feel free to bring them to us at the academic Writing Center once again I’m John Capp NeuroSky see you next time

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