Structure and Writing Style I. Higher-order thinking skills include cognitive processes that are used to comprehend, solve problems, and express concepts or that describe abstract ideas that cannot be easily acted out, pointed to, or shown with images.
Consult the meaning of terms in specialized, discipline-specific dictionaries by searching the USC Libraries catalog or reference database [see above].
Inappropriate use of specialized terminology. If this cannot be done without confusing the reader, then you need to explain what you mean within the context of how that word or phrase is used within a discipline. For example, the idea of being rational may hold the same general meaning in both political science and psychology, but its application to understanding and explaining phenomena within the research domain of a each discipline may have subtle differences based upon how scholars in that discipline apply the concept to the theories and practice of their work.
When presenting a position or argument that you disagree with, describe this argument accurately and without loaded or biased language. However, in academic writing, this must then be followed by detailed explanation and analysis of each item.
This is also one of the main functions of academic writing--examining and explaining the significance of complex ideas as clearly as possible.
Like specialist languages adopted in other professions, such as, law or medicine, academic writing is designed to convey agreed meaning about complex ideas or concepts for a group of scholarly experts. The use of bulleted items or lists should be used only if the narrative dictates a need for clarity.
Sage Publications, ; Silvia, Paul J. If none exists, use bullets and avoid checkmarks or other symbols. However, what is valued in academic writing is that opinions are based on what is often termed, evidence-based reasoning, a sound understanding of the pertinent body of knowledge and academic debates that exist within, and often external to, your discipline.
Do not use vague expressions that are not specific or precise enough for the reader to derive exact meaning ["they," "we," "people," "the organization," etc. The Essay Book 3 of Effective Academic Writing, The Essay,introduces students at the high intermediate to low advanced level to five-paragraph essays.
Therefore, use concrete words [not general] that convey a specific meaning. A quote should be inserted in the text of your paper exactly as it was stated.
Dashes should be limited to the insertion of an explanatory comment in a sentence, while hyphens should be limited to connecting prefixes to words [e. Importance of Good Academic Writing The accepted form of academic writing in the social sciences can vary considerable depending on the methodological framework and the intended audience.
Describing a research problem is an important means of contextualizing a study. Improving Academic Writing To improve your academic writing skills, you should focus your efforts on three key areas: Improve Your Writing Skills. Think of your writing this way: However, the content of your paper should focus on methodology, the analysis and interpretation of findings, and their implications as they apply to the research problem rather than background information and descriptions of tangential issues.
Open University Press, ; Johnson, Roy. Given this, the question you should ask yourself while proofreading is: Problems with Opaque Writing It's not unheard of for scholars to utilize needlessly complex syntax or overly expansive vocabulary that is impenetrable or not well-defined.
The Language The investigation of research problems in the social sciences is often complex and multi- dimensional. The Big Picture Unlike fiction or journalistic writing, the overall structure of academic writing is formal and logical. Therefore, it is important that you use unambiguous language.
The quality of your evidence will determine the strength of your argument. Yes, it is appropriate for you to use specialist language and a formal style of expression in academic writing, but it does not mean using "big words" just for the sake of doing so.
Finally, understand that semi-colons represent a pause that is longer than a comma, but shorter than a period in a sentence.
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