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August 09, 2012

Final Entry on an Introduction to Academic Writing at Masters Level

Original Action Points

  1. I will remember to remain passive in my writing style to display an evaluative and critical approach to my arguments in essays.
  2. I will include more precise, articulate language and avoid vague, broad vocabulary such as 'interesting' and 'good' to maintain an accurate and concise academic style.
  3. I will try to critically re-read and revise work if necessary and include a wider perspective or purpose for the work in my conclusions.

Attending this workshop helped to confirm the majority of my understanding concerning academic writing which was useful to me after taking a gap year away from any formal study or writing. In terms of my first original action point I have definitely been successful in remaining passive in my writing style and I'm continuing to work through and apply the learning from the Academic Writing programme webpages mentioned in the comments on the previous blog.

As I continue to write my dissertation, I'm paying careful attention to structure and the use of articulate language. Although I have 15,000 words to play with, introducing the immunology relevant to vaccinations for example, in a so called 'brief' review has already stretched to 2000 words, so I need to remain aware of word counts to balance the writing across all aspects of my dissertation - from introductions to conclusions. Avoiding broad wide sweeping statements is also something I always try to keep in mind when presenting my arguments as this definitely helps me to engage more critically with the work and articulate findings more precisely.

Having completed all of my other written module assignments I can now focus all of my attention onto my dissertation. In the remaining weeks I hope to complete a chapter per week, meaning that over the weekend I can spend time re-reading and revising the work if necessary. Finally, being mindful of the wider, real world perspectives and purpose of my research into vaccines has continued to help me draw effective conclusions in my work and is one of the more valuable points I gained from this workshop. Overall, the workshop and the reflection on my initial action points has been important to me, keeping me aware of what is expected and keeping my writing focused.


May 28, 2012

Further Follow up on an Introduction to Academic Writing at Masters Level

Here's a summary of how I've been getting on with my action points

1. I will remember to remain passive in my writing style to display an evaluative and critical approach to my arguments in essays.

I continue to make a conscious effort to remain passive in my writing style as previously discussed. Therefore, I'm now moving my attention to remaining active and engaging in my critical thinking as I move into writing my dissertation. As this is the first extended piece of writing I have done at 15,000 words and more than just a critical literature review or practical lab write up, I'm also paying careful attention to the structure of such work. Utilising chapters and case studies to break the work down into manageable sections. I'm also looking to further my understanding by joining workshops on 'reading and note-making at Masters level' and lectures on dissertation writing for Masters.

2. I will include more precise, articulate language and avoid vague, broad vocabulary such as 'interesting' and 'good' to maintain an accurate and concise academic style.

By making the conscious effort to avoid broad wide sweeping statements and vocabulary I hope this will continue to encourage a deeper, critical understanding and appraisal in my work. This has also helped me to open up new and original lines of enquiry which I can pursue as I ask more questions of the data and understand the interrelations which will shape the direction of my dissertation on Vaccines.

3. I will try to critically re-read and revise work if necessary and include a wider perspective or purpose for the work in my conclusions.

By managing my time effectively, I hope to be able to complete initial drafts of sections of my dissertation and take the time to critically re-read and revise where necessary. I also have further written module assessments due in the next couple of months, so maintaining this work effort in parallel will be a priority of mine. The use of wider concluding perspectives, as previously discussed, has also been of benefit to my understanding and learning as relating the context of my work to real world, wider implications, highlights and solidifies the importance of such work in my mind.


April 13, 2012

Follow up on an Introduction to Academic Writing at Masters Level

Here's a summary of how I've been getting on with my action points

1. I will remember to remain passive in my writing style to display an evaluative and critical approach to my arguments in essays.

Although at Masters level we are asked to present our own original analysis and interpretation of the information we present it is still important to remain passive. Therefore, through a conscious effort to do so I believe this has helped to improve the quality of my work and writing style as reflected in my feedback, such as 'a mature and comprehensive review.' 

2. I will include more precise, articulate language and avoid vague, broad vocabulary such as 'interesting' and 'good' to maintain an accurate and concise academic style.

This is particularly important to me as I often have tight word limits in which I have to provide a detailed discussion sometimes on a broad topic, whilst avoiding being too superficial. Through using articulate language and precise vocabulary this has helped to keep my word counts down whilst still effectively presenting my arguments, or critically commenting on scientific findings where the phrase 'good' would be too vague. Therefore, I will continue to make a conscious effort to apply this to my work.

3. I will try to critically re-read and revise work if necessary and include a wider perspective or purpose for the work in my conclusions.

To get around time restraints which may prevent me from fully re-reading and revising my work after I have finished an initial draft, I try to incorporate this into my work as I progress. Re-reading and revising paragraphs as the essay builds helps to keep each paragraph relevant and also means I have read through the entire essay several times to ensure it flows and the reader can follow easily. Including a final wider perspective or purpose to my conclusions was also an important point I found really useful when finishing essays, as it gives me the opportunity to summarise my own opinions, providing further evidence of the originality and understanding needed, as well as reiterate the arguments presented.  

December 22, 2011

First Entry on an Introduction to Academic Writing at Masters Level

Workshop tutor: Laura Davies

Date: 15-Dec-2011

Introduction

In this workshop we covered the structure and critical and evaluative approach that is expected in our writing at masters level. We covered the basic approach that should be applied to all of our work, beginning with brainstorming, selecting appropriate material for support of an argument and critically reading and revising to further support our answer.

Following exercises to demonstrate our understanding of the types of question we are often presented with such as exploratory, discursive, argumentative and evaluative. We then discussed a step by step guide, to the widely accepted, correct way to structure an academic piece of writing. Beginning with:

  • An Introduction - outlining the thesis statement, summary/context/background and possibly an abstract if required before this.
  • Main body - demonstrating the arguments with supporting evidence, expansion, concluding and linking sentences between paragraphs to aid the flow of the writing style. (Point, evidence, explanation)
  • Conclusion - the final summary with a wider perspective to add purpose to the writing.

Furthermore, we then went on to define common terms which can often be confused such as paraphrasing, citations, footnotes and endnotes. Plus, advice on the style, language and vocabulary we should use throughout our writing and some further advice on plagiarism.

I attended this workshop to hopefully confirm my understanding and clarify certain terminology despite having had a year away from study and I am pleased that this is case. Overall I am pleased with what I gained from this workshop, refreshing my memory and approach to my academic writing and I hope to carry this through to my future assignments.


Action Points

  1. I will remember to remain passive and less personal in my writing style to display an evaluative and critical approach to my arguments. For example, replace the phrase - "I will seek..." with "this essay will cover..."
  2. I will include more precise, articulate language and avoid vague, broad vocabulary such as 'interesting' and 'good' to maintain an accurate and concise academic style.
  3. I will try to critically re-read and revise work if necessary to strengthen my arguments, command my references and include a wider perspective or purpose for the work in my conclusions.

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  • Dear Gwyn Thank you for your final entry, it has been a pleasure reading your blogs and it is great … by Samena Rashid on this entry
  • Thank you for this final blog. It's good to hear that you have been able to put much of what we cove… by on this entry
  • Hi Gwyn I have enjoyed reading your blogs. You have clearly demonstrated that you have embraced a cr… by Austin Griffiths on this entry
  • Hi Gwyn – thank you for your final entry. You have clearly benefitted from attending the workshop an… by Trudy Hillier on this entry
  • Hi Gwyn, I think it is always a good idea to have a tight focus for a dissertation. It means you can… by Austin Griffiths on this entry

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