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Academic Writing at Postgraduate Level:

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Find a critical reader / offer to read other people's writing ... An alternative view of the process. Acknowledge that writing is hard work ... and don't panic... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Academic Writing at Postgraduate Level:


1
Academic Writing at Postgraduate Level
Introductory focus on Process, Text Types and
Communities Maria Leedham, Nov.
2009 m.e.leedham_at_open.ac.uk (Presentation and
handouts based on previous ones by Theresa
Lillis)
2
Activity 1-Brainstorm What is academic
writing and what do I feel about this?
3
Todays session focus on academic writing in
terms of
- process
- text types
- communities
4
Part 1 Focus on process
How do I go about writing?
5
Focus on process
writing initial drafts of a text focusing mainly
on the development, organisation and elaboration
of ideas
generating ideas, understanding the ideas of
others, collecting information, note-taking,
freewriting, brainstorming
organising and focusing ideas mind mapping,
clustering, listening, outline
drafting
letting work sit, coming back to it at a later
point
planning
reflection
pre-writing
additional research or idea generation
supervisor review
editing and proofreading
feedback from others
revision
focusing attention on the surface level
features of the text
further developing and clarifying ideas, the
structure of the text
6
Activity 2- Freewriting Write for 5 minutes
on one idea or issue relating to any aspect of
your PG study that is of particular interest to
you at the moment
7
Focus on process
writing initial drafts of a text focusing mainly
on the development, organisation and elaboration
of ideas
generating ideas, understanding the ideas of
others, collecting information, note-taking,
freewriting, brainstorming
organising and focusing ideas mind mapping,
clustering, listening, outline
drafting
letting work sit, coming back to it at a later
point
planning
reflection
pre-writing
additional research or idea generation
supervisor review
editing and proofreading
feedback from others
revision
focusing attention on the surface level
features of the text
further developing and clarifying ideas, the
structure of the text
8
Suggestions for writing and revising 1
  • See the area in a different way
  • If youre having trouble getting started, try
    tackling the writing in a different way eg make a
    plan if you dont usually/try mind
    mapping/writing a different section..
  • Go to talks out of your immediate discipline area
    to see different approaches
  • Set up an articles reading group of people
    interested in a similar area
  • Reflecting
  • Find a critical reader / offer to read other
    peoples writing
  • Plan time to reread your writing before sending
    it in
  • Read sections of your writing aloud (helps to
    spot awkward phrases and repetitions as well as
    helping to reflect on how it fits in with the
    whole)

9
Suggestions for writing and revising 2
  • Software
  • Do a Word Advanced course (offered through AACS
    at the OU)
  • Learn how to use EndNote then youll only ever
    to type a reference once
  • Filing
  • If you work at home consider using the Virtual
    Personal Network facility (see AACS site) and/or
    file synchronisation such as Allway Sync.
  • Sort out your electronic (and paper) filing.
    Label different versions clearly.
  • Adopt the mantra it isnt saved until youve
    saved it twice!
  • Letting go
  • Learn to let your writing go.. Accept that it
    isnt perfect, but its as good as you can make
    it in the time you have.
  • More ideas??

10
An alternative view of the process
11
Acknowledge that writing is hard work and
dont panic
12
Focus on process
writing initial drafts of a text focusing mainly
on the development, organisation and elaboration
of ideas
generating ideas, understanding the ideas of
others, collecting information, note-taking,
freewriting, brainstorming
organising and focusing ideas mind mapping,
clustering, listening, outline
drafting
letting work sit, coming back to it at a later
point
planning
reflection
pre-writing
additional research or idea generation
supervisor review
editing and proofreading
feedback from others
revision
focusing attention on the surface level
features of the text
further developing and clarifying ideas, the
structure of the text
13
Activity 3 - Editing and proofreading (see
handout on examples of revising ).
14
Part 2 Focus on text types
What types of texts am I writing?
15
What types of academic texts will you be
producing over the next couple of years?
  • Some suggestions
  • Supervision minutes
  • Sections/chunks on methods, literature, theory
  • Conference abstracts/proposals
  • Summaries for web pages
  • Draft chapters of thesis/dissertation
  • Journal articles
  • Book reviews
  • Thesis
  • ??

16
Different conventions for different text types?
17
  • Activity 4
  • (see sheet Different genres for different
    purposes.
  • Read Extract 1 and Extract 2 and discuss the
    differences)

18
Part 2 Focus on the community/ies
What community/ies am I writing to/for?
19
Writing for a number of communities
  • Jo is an first year PhD student at the Open
    University investigating the impact of online
    learning in HE. Over the next 6 months she hopes
    to present her MRes thesis (on a similar topic)
    at a conference and possibly turn the
    presentation into a journal article. She hopes to
    work as a university lecturer when she completes
    her PhD and is looking out for opportunities to
    gain useful writing experience.

20
Writing as part of Jos postgraduate research
activity
  • Poster for OU poster competition aimed at
    non-specialists
  • Poster for conference of discipline specialists
  • Annotated bibliography on books and articles
  • Abstract for PG conference in online learning
  • Abstract for general conference in Education
  • Supervision minutes
  • Emails to potential student interviewees
  • Emails to academics who might help with her
    research

21
Part 3 Setting some writing priorities public
and private
Draft literature review by end April List
methods I plan to use and brief rationale - end
of this week Drafting some ideas about what I
think Im researching - today Write abstract for
conference that I want to go to in March
2011! Write book reviewfind appropriate journal
this month Ideally.first draft of article for
academic journal by October 2010 Re read my
journal for this week- and underline key tasks
this week What are your immediate priorities for
writing?
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