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Genres in academic writing
Introduction
Students are asked to write many different kinds of texts. Depending on your subject, these could
be essays, laboratory reports, case-studies, book reviews, reflective diaries, posters, research
proposals, and so on and are normally referred to as genres. These different genres, though, can
be constructed from a small range of different text types.

If, for example, you are asked to write an essay to answer the following question:

Discuss possible solutions to the problem of international credit control.

You could answer it in the following way:

1. Define credit control, say what it is and give an example;


2. Explain why international credit control is a problem in business today, and support your
explanation by evidence from your reading;
3. Describe some possible solutions to the problem of credit control in an international
context. Again support your suggestions with evidence from your reading;
4. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of each of the possible solutions;
5. Decide which solution you would prefer and give reasons.

So in order to answer the question you need to be able to write texts to do the following:

Define
Give an example
Explain why
Support your explanation with evidence
Describe a solution
Describe advantages and disadvantages
Choose
Explain why

Bruce (2008) calls these various texts cognitive genres, but I have called them Rhetorical
Functions: see Functions.

Here, we will pull together these different functional text types to show how the larger genres (or
part genres) you are expected to write can be constructed from these shorter functional texts.
But, first you need to decide which genre you are expected to write. Which genre am I expected
to write?

1. Essays
2. Reports
3. Case Studies
4. Research proposals
5. Book reviews
6. Brief research reports
7. Literature reviews
8. Reflective writing
9. Introductions
10. Research methods
11. Research results
12. Research discussions
13. Writing conclusions
14. Research abstracts
15. Research Dissertations & Theses

Genres in academic writing


Introduction
Students are asked to write many different kinds of texts. Depending on your subject, these could
be essays, laboratory reports, case-studies, book reviews, reflective diaries, posters, research
proposals, and so on and are normally referred to as genre families or genres.

Your first decision when faced with a new piece of academic writing is to decide which genre
family you are expected to write.

1. Essays
2. Reports
3. Case Studies
4. Research proposals
5. Book reviews
6. Brief research reports
7. Literature reviews
8. Reflective writing
9. Introductions
10. Research methods
11. Research results
12. Research discussions
13. Writing conclusions
14. Research abstracts
15. Research dissertations & theses

Which of the above genre families is expected?

A useful start is your brief or assignment title or question. See: Understanding the Question.

In research conducted between 2004 and 2007, Hilary Nesi and Sheena Gardner (Nesi &
Gardner, 2012) at the University of Coventry proposed five purposes for student writing in
higher education.

Students might write to show that:

a. they are aware of and undestand the latest knowledge in their subject area;
b. they can argue a particular point of view making use of different kinds of evidence;
c. they can plan and carry out research
d. they are ready for employment in a particular profession;
e. they can reflect on how they and other people feel and think.

Nesi & Gardner call these purposes:

a. Demonstrating Knowledge & Understanding (DKU)


b. Developing Powers of Independent Reasoning (DPIR)
c. Building Research Skills (BRS)
d. Preparing for Professional Practice (PPP)
e. Writing for Oneself and Others (WOO)

Try this exercise: Exercise 1 - Primary Purpose.

Decide which of these purposes is yours for a specific piece of work. Go back to your brief or
question if necessary.

Once you have chosen the primary purpose of your writing, you can narrow that down to the
genre family required.

Nesi & Gardner divide the primary purposes up in the following way:

Primary Purpose Genre Family


Explanations
Demonstrating Knowledge & Understanding
Exercises
Essays
Developing Powers of Independent Reasoning
Critiques
Literature Surveys
Building Research Skills Methodology Recounts
Research Reports
Case Studies
Design Specifications
Preparing for Professional Practice
Problem Questions
Proposals
Event Recounts
Writing for Oneself and Others
Public Engagement

When you write an explanation, you are demonstrating or developing an understanding


of the object of study, and the ability to describe and / or account for its significance.
The purpose of an exercise is to give you practice in key skills (e.g. the ability to
interrogate a database, perform complex calculations or explain technical terms or
procedures), and to consolidate knowledge of key concepts.
In an essay, you will demonstrate or develop your ability to construct a coherent
argument and make use of critical thinking.
The purpose of a critique is to show or develop an understanding of the object of study
and the abilty to evaluate and/or assess its significance.
In a literature survey, you demonstrate and/or develop your familiarity with the literature
relevant to your area of study.
Methodology recounts demonstrate your familiarity with paricular disciplinary
procedures, methods and conventions for recording experimental findings.
When you write a research report, you will demonstrate or develop your ability to
undertake a complete piece of research, including research design, and an understanding
of its significance in the field.
The purpose of a case study is to demonstrate or develop an understanding of
professional practice through the analysis of a single case.
In a design specification, you will demonstrate or develop your ability to design a product
or procedure that could be manufactured or implemented.
Problem questions provide practice in applying specific methods in response to
professional problems.
The purpose of a proposal is to demonstrate or develop your ability to make a case for
future action.
When you write an event recount, you will be expected to demonstrate or develop your
awareness of the motives and/or behaviour of individuals, including yourself.
Public engagement writing demonstrates or develops an understanding & appreciation of
the relevance of academic ideas by translating them into non-academic register, so you
can communicate to a non-specialist readership.

Try this exercise: Exercise 2 - Genre Family.


Go back to your brief or question and you should now be able to decide which genre family is
relevant in your context.

For more information see: Writing for a Purpose.

Genres in academic writing: Essays


Introduction
Almost all students will at some time be expected to write an essay, or some other kind of
argument, e.g. a review or discussion section, in a longer piece of writing. In English, an essay is
a piece of argumentative writing several paragraphs long written about one topic, usually based
on your reading. The aim of the essay should be deduced strictly from the wording of the title or
question (See Academic Writing: Understanding the Question), and needs to be defined at the
beginning. The purpose of an essay is for you to say something for yourself using the ideas of the
subject, for you to present ideas you have learned in your own way. The emphasis should be on
working with other people's ideas, rather than reproducing their words, but your own voice
should show clearly. The ideas and people that you refer to need to made explicit by a system of
referencing.

According to Linda Flower (1990, p. v), "students are reading to create a text of their own, trying
to integrate information from sources with ideas of their own, and attempting to do so under the
guidance of a purpose."

Organisation
Your essay should have the following sections:

1. Preliminaries Title page

Introduction
2. Main text Main body
Conclusion

3. End matter References

^
1. Preliminaries

Before you start the main part of your essay or assignment, there should be a title page. The title
page should contain information to enable your lecturer and departmental office or other reader
to identify exactly what the piece of work is. It should include your name and course; the title of
the assignment and any references; the lecturer it is for etc. Check with your department for clear
information.

2. Main text

English essays are linear:

- they start at the beginning and finish at the end, with every part contributing to the main line of
argument, without digressions or repetition. Writers are responsible for making their line of
argument clear and presenting it in an orderly fashion so that the reader can follow. Each
paragraph discusses one major point and each paragraph should lead directly to the next. The
paragraphs are tied together with an introduction and a conclusion.

The main text of the essay has three main parts:

I. An introduction
II. A main body
III. A conclusion

I. The introduction.

The introduction consists of two parts:

a. It should include a few general statements about the subject to provide a background to
your essay and to attract the reader's attention. It should try to explain why you are
writing the essay. It may include a definition of terms in the context of the essay, etc.
b. It should also include a statement of the specific subdivisions of the topic and/or
indication of how the topic is going to be tackled in order to specifically address the
question.

It should introduce the central idea or the main purpose of the writing.
II. The main body.

The main body consists of one or more paragraphs of ideas and arguments. Each
paragraph develops a subdivision of the topic. The paragraphs of the essay contain the
main ideas and arguments of the essay together with illustrations or examples. The
paragraphs are linked in order to connect the ideas. The purpose of the essay must be
made clear and the reader must be able to follow its development.

III. The conclusion.

The conclusion includes the writer's final points.

a. It should recall the issues raised in the introduction and draw together the points made
in the main body
b. and explain the overall significance of the conclusions. What general points can be
drawn from the essay as a whole?

It should clearly signal to the reader that the essay is finished and leave a clear impression
that the purpose of the essay has been achieved.

PRELIMINARIES

I. INTRODUCTION

General Statement
Organisation Statement

II. MAIN BODY

A. Introductory Sentence
Point 1
Point 2
Point 3
...
Concluding Sentence


B. Introductory Sentence
Point 1
Point 2
Point 3
...
Concluding Sentence

C. Introductory Sentence
Point 1
Point 2
Point 3
...
Concluding Sentence

III. CONCLUSION

Recall issues in introduction;


draw together main points;
final comment.

END MATTER

3. End Matter

At the end of the essay, there should be a list of references. This should give full information
about the materials that you have used in the assignment. See Writing a list of references for
more information on the reference list.

Ways of organising essays.

Essays are organised differently according to their purpose. Essays can be divided into the
following main types.

1. The descriptive essay

a. Description of object or place


b. Describing a sequence of events.

c. Describing a process

d. Describing and explaining

2. The argument essay

a. The balanced view

b. The persuasive essay

c. The to what extent essay.

3. Compare and contrast essays

a. The contrast essay

b. The compare essay

c. The compare and contrast essays

1. The descriptive essay


a. Description of object or place

Describe essays require you to state the appearance of something, or to state the major
characteristics of it. Note the word state i.e. you are not asked to comment on the subject or to
give your personal point of view on it. Questions are often introduced by:

Describe ....
Narrate...
Tell....

Plan:

Introduction

major aspects of the subject.

description of aspect A


description of aspect B

etc.

Conclusion

See: Academic Writing: Functions - Describing objects, locations & directions

b. Describing a sequence of events.

Describing a sequence of events is simply telling a story.

State clearly when events happened or how one event caused another. Questions may be
introduced by:

Give an account of...


Trace...
Examine developments in...

Intoduction

First situation

then A happened

then B happened

etc.

Final situation

Conclusion

See: Academic Writing: Functions - Reporting & narrating

c. Describing a process

This is like telling a story but here the connections between the facts must be clearly shown and
explained. Group the events into steps or stages.

Examples of such questions are :

Explain/What is the connection between...


Describe the procedures by which...

Definition of process

Main equipment/Main steps

Step One

leads to

Step Two

leads to

Step Three

Conclusion

Summary of process

See: Academic Writing: Functions - Describing processes & developments


d. Describing and explaining

Some of the words and phrases which introduce this type of description are:

Explain the causes/reasons....


Account for....
Analyse the causes....
Comment on (the reasons for)....
Show that....
Show why...
Examine the effect of....
Suggest reasons for....
Why did...?
What are the implications of...?
Discuss the causes of....
Discuss the reasons for....

When we are asked to describe or explain causes, factors, functions or results, the examiner
wants us to group our facts. Similar causes are put together, for instance the economic causes of
a situation. There are basically two main ways to organise this type of essay.

The question is "Describe the causes of A. Illustrate your answer by specific examples."

i.

Introduction to causes of A

Cause 1 + example

Effects 1

Cause 2 with example

Effects 2

Cause 3 with examples


Effects 3

Cause 4 with example

Effects 4

etc.

Conclusion

ii.

Introduction to causes of A

Causes + examples

Transition

Effects

Conclusion

See: Academic Writing: Functions - Expressing reasons and explanations / cause and effect

2. The argument essay

There are two main methods of presenting an argument, and in general the one you choose will
depend on exactly how the essay title is worded.
a. The balanced view

If the essay title begins with something like:

Give the arguments for and against....


Assess the importance of....
Examine the arguments for and against....
What are the advantages and disadvantages of...?
Evaluate....
Critically examine the statement that....
To what extent is...true?

or even just the word

Discuss....

then it is clear that a balanced essay is required. That is to say you should present both sides of
an argument, without necessarily committing yourself to any points of view, which should
always be based on evidence, until the final paragraph.

At its simplest your essay plan will be as follows:

Introduce the argument to the reader.

e.g. why it is particularly relevant topic nowadays


or refer directly to some comments that have been voiced on it recently.

Reasons against the argument

Reasons in favour of the argument

After summarising the two sides,


state your own point of view,
and explain why you think as you do

See: Academic Writing: Functions - Arguing and discussing; - Expressing degrees of certainty; -
Generalising; - Comparing and contrasting: similarities and differences; - Giving examples
b. The persuasive essay

This second type of argumentative essay involves stating your own point of view immediately,
and trying to convince the reader by reasoned argument that you are right. Perhaps the essay title
will begin with something like:

Give your views on....


What do you think about...?
Do you agree that...?
Consider whether....

Or perhaps the title itself will be so controversial that everyone will hold a definite opinion in
one direction or another.

The form of the essay will be, in outline, as follows:

Introduce the topic briefly in general terms,

and then state your own opinion.

Explain what you plan to prove in the essay.

Reasons against the argument.

Dispose briefly of the main objections to your case.

Reasons for your argument

the arguments to support your own view,

with evidence and examples.

Conclusion - Do not repeat your point of view again.

End your essay with something memorable

e.g. a quotation or a direct question.

See: Academic Writing: Functions - Arguing and discussing; - Expressing degrees of certainty; -
Generalising; - Comparing and contrasting: similarities and differences; - Giving examples
c. The to what extent essay

In this type of essay the examiner is giving you a statement. It is obviously true but truth is never
100%. You must decide how true it is? Are there some areas where you disagree with the
statement. If so, describe how far you agree, and your points of agreement and disagreement.
Words used in the question are:

To what extent ....


How true ....
How far do you agree....

A possible answer structure is:

Introduction to problem

Aspect 1 - true

Aspect 1 - false

Aspect 2 - true

Aspect 2 - false

Aspect 3 - true

Aspect 3 - false

etc

Conclusion
a subtraction sum

See: Academic Writing: Functions - Arguing and discussing; - Expressing degrees of certainty; -
Generalising; - Comparing and contrasting: similarities and differences; - Giving examples

3. Compare and contrast essays.


a The Contrast essay

Contrast or distinguish between questions usually present you with two or more terms,
instruments, concepts or procedures that are closely connected, and sometimes confused. The
purpose of the essay is to explain the differences between them. The question may be of the
form:

Contrast ....
Distinguish between ...
What is the difference between....
What are the differences between....
How are ... and ... different?

A suitable answer structure would be:

Introduction to differences between A and B

Contrast A & B in terms of first difference

Contrast A & B in terms of second difference

Contrast A & B in terms of third difference

etc

Conclusion

See: Academic Writing: Functions - Comparing and contrasting: similarities and differences; -
Defining; - Generalising; - Giving examples
b. The Compare essay

Compare questions usually present you with two or more terms, instruments, concepts or
procedures that are closely connected, and sometimes confused. The purpose of the essay is to
explain the similarities between them. Words used are:

Compare ....
What features do ... and ... have in common?
What are the similarities between....
How are ... and ... similar?

A suitable answer structure would be:

Introduction to similarities between A and B

Compare A & B

in terms of first similarity

Compare A & B

in terms of second similarity

Compare A & B

in terms of third similarity

etc.

Conclusion

See: Academic Writing: Functions - Comparing and contrasting: similarities and differences; -
Defining; - Generalising; - Giving examples
c. The compare and contrast essay

Compare and contrast essays require you to indicate areas in which the things to be compared are
similar and different.

Compare and contrast....

There are two main ways to answer such questions:

i.

Introduction to differences and similarities between A and B

Difference 1

Difference 2

Difference 3

etc.

Transition

Similarity 1

Similarity 2

Similarity 3


etc.

Conclusion

ii.

Introduction to differences and similarities between A and B

Aspect 1 - similarities

Aspect 1 - differences

Aspect 2 - similarities

Aspect 2 - differences

Aspect 3 - similarities

Aspect 3 - differences

etc

Conclusion

See: Academic Writing: Functions - Comparing and contrasting: similarities and differences; -
Defining; - Generalising; - Giving examples

^
Exercise
Plan answers for some of the questions in Understanding the question: Examples of questions.

Back to Introduction

Genres in academic writing: Reports


Many students, particularly science and business students, will at some time be expected to write
a report.

Example

Your report should have the following sections:

Title page
1. Preliminaries Abstract
Contents

Introduction
Methodology
2. Main text Findings/Results
Discussion
Conclusion

References
3. End matter
Appendices

1. Preliminaries

Before you start the main part of your report, there should be a title page. The title page should
contain information to enable your lecturer and departmental office to identify exactly what the
piece of work is. It should include your name and course; the title of the assignment and any
references; the lecturer it is for etc. Check with your department for clear information. A report
should also normally include an abstract and a contents page. The abstract should give some
background information, clearly state the principal purpose of the report, give some information
about the methodology used, state the most important results and the conclusion. See: Writing an
abstract. The contents page will give page numbers for the main sections.
2. The main text

The main body consists of several paragraphs of ideas, data and argument. Each section develops
a subdivision of the report purpose. The introduction gives background knowledge that supports
the reason for writing the report and an organisation statement. The methodology section gives
details of how the information in the report was obtained. Findings and results give the data that
has been collected, while the discussion argues that the results lead to the clearly expressed
conclusion. The sections are linked in order to connect the ideas. The purpose of the report must
be made clear and the reader must be able to follow its development.

I. Introduction
II. Methodology
III. Findings/Results
IV. Discussion
V. Conclusion

I. The introduction.

The introduction consists of three parts:

a. It should include a short review of the literature to provide a background to your report
and to attract the reader's attention. It may include a definition of terms in the context
of the report, etc.
b. It should try to explain why you are writing the report. You need to establish a gap in
current knowledge.
c. It should also include a statement of the specific subdivisions of the topic and/or
indication of how the topic is going to be tackled in order to specifically address the
question.

It should introduce the central idea or the main purpose of the writing. See: Writing
Introductions

II. Methodology.

The methodology section gives details of how the information in the report was obtained.
It may give details of the materials and procedures used. In any kind of experimental
report, details of the people involved will need to be included. See: Writing Research
Methods

III. Findings/Results.

The findings and results give the data that has been collected. This may be shown in the
form of tables, graphs or diagrams. In all cases, reference must be made to the location of
the information, the main details of the data and any comments on this. See: Writing
Research Results
IV. Discussion.

The main purpose of the discussion is to show that the results lead clearly to the
conclusion being drawn. This may include any limitations that might cause problems
with any claims being made as well as any possible explanations for these results. See:
Writing Research Discussions

V. The conclusion.

The conclusion includes the writer's final points.

a. It should recall the issues raised in the introduction and draw together the points made
in the results and discussion
b. and come to a clear conclusion.

It should clearly signal to the reader that the report is finished and leave a clear
impression that the purpose of the report has been achieved. See: Writing Conclusions

PRELIMINARIES

I. INTRODUCTION

Background
Identification of Gap
Organisation Statement

II. METHODOLOGY

Introductory Sentence - Overview


Procedures
Materials
...
Concluding Sentence

III. FINDINGS/RESULTS
Introductory Sentence
Locating Results
Findings
Comment
...
Concluding Sentence

IV. DISCUSSION

Introductory Sentence - Overview


Review of Findings
Possible Explanations
Limitations
...
Concluding Sentence

V. CONCLUSION

Recall Issues in Introduction - Report Purpose;


Draw Together Main Points;
Final Comment - Clear Conclusion.

END MATTER

3. End Matter

At the end of the report, there should be a list of references. This should give full information
about the materials that you have used in the report. See Writing a list of references for more
information on the reference list. The appendices may contain full details of data collected.

Back to Introduction
Genres in academic writing: Case
studies
A case-study is the most difficult to give you clear advice about as it may contain many other
genres. The main advantage of a case study is that it gives you a chance to study one aspect of a
real-world problem in detail from many different viewpoints. That is its main advantage. It
doesnt just restrict itself to a single research procedure such as a library search or interview data
but it could use either.

At the beginning, therefore, you need a problem to solve. You will then lead the reader through
the stages of the investigation, which you will describe and evaluate, to the solution.

A case-study can, for example, make use of:

Library research.
Interviews
Questionnaires
Observation
Diaries
Historical documents
Collection of current documents

First you need to identify a problem. This could be, for example, the introduction of a new
working practice in a factory or office. You would then describe the new practice, what it is, how
it works, why it was introduced; then observe how it works, talk to people who are affected by it,
talk to managers and then evaluate the results and come to a conclusion.

The way you would write up a case-study depends on the purpose of the case-study. Yin (1994,
pp. 4-6) identified three different types of case studies, which you could choose from according
your purpose. They are exploratory, explanatory and descriptive case studies

An exploratory case-study is initial research that tries to look for patterns in the data and
come up with a model within which to view this data. In this kind of research you would
collect the data first. You would then try to make sense of it, doing any reading you
needed to. Research questions for this kind of case-study can focus on what questions:
What are the ways of increasing sales?
Descriptive case-studies take this further and try to obtain information on the particular
features of an issue. This type of case study will require a theory to point the data
collection in the correct direction. Research questions here can again focus on what but
lead to questions such as: What have been the effects of a particular sales activity?
Explanatory research continues this even further by trying to analyse or explain why or
how something happens or happened. Research question in this case are more likely to be
of the how or why type: Why did a particular promotion activity lead to increased
sales?

He then distinguishes six different types of case study report that can be used for the different
types of case-study (p. 138).

1. Linear Analysis
This is the typical business or scientific research report structure, organised in the
IMRAD style. See above: Writing a report.
2. Comparative
A comparative study looks at the same issues several times from different points of view.
3. Chronological
A third type of report is to present the evidence in chronological order, gradually building
up the descriptive and analytical structure.
4. Theory-building
In this structure, each new section of the report will show a new part of the theory being
presented.
5. Suspense
In this case, the outcome or conclusion is presented initially. The remainder of the report
will then develop the explanation.
6. Unsequenced
This is useful when the case study consist of many small sections or studies. It is
important, though, at the end of this stage to pull everything together.

Yin (p. 138) then offers the following table to suggest ways in which you could write up the
various kinds of case study.

Type of Structure Purpose of Case Study


Exploratory Descriptive Explanatory
1. Linear Analysis
2. Comparative
3. Chronological
4. Theory-building
5. Suspense
6. Un-sequenced

The following sequence would probably be appropriate, with the sections changed round as
necessary, depending on the type of study.

Case Study Report

Preliminaries

Introduction

Introduce the situation

Describe the problem why the study was undertaken



Background reading

Describe previous research

Give examples

Evaluate previous research



Methodology

Report what methods you used

Explain why you used each method



Results

Report what you found from each method



Summary

Summarise all results

Compare and contrast the different results



Evaluation

Evaluate findings in light of background reading.



Conclusion

Summarise the main findings

Generalise from the findings



Recommendations

Make recommendations for the future



End matter

Back to Introduction

Genres in academic writing: Research


proposals
At undergraduate level, you may be asked to write a research proposal before a major piece of
writing such as an end of year project or a final year dissertation. The purpose of the proposal is
to show how you intend to tackle the study and whether or not you have thought through the
practicalities. Your lecturer will want to see that you have planned your research carefully in
order for you to succeed.

It will probably include the following:

Preliminary title. What is the topic? What exactly is the research question?
What exactly do you hope to show? What is the purpose of your work? Describe your
research problem. What are your aims and objectives?
Why the research is important? An argument as to why that problem is important, what
problems still need to be solved.
What do you already know about this topic? The proposal should begin by giving the
background to the subject area in which the research is situated. It will describe the
important theoretical and practical issues it plans to address. This should be supported by
some reference to recent literature. It should finish by indicating a problem that your
research will solve.
How will the research be conducted? A description of the proposed research
methodology. A provisional work schedule in the form of a time line or Gantt chart may
be required. What methods do you intend to use? How do you intend to anayse the data?
What resources will be needed? What resource implications are there for the prposed
research with regard to materials, equipment, libary recources etc?
How will the findings be useful? A description of how the research findings will be
used and/or communicated to others.
References. This includes full references to all the works you have cited in your proposal
and may also include a preliminary reading list. This gives some idea of the reading you
have already done.
End matter: Any material that supports your data collection.

The typical stages involve in a research proposal would be the following:


Title

Brief description of research proposal



Purpose

Describe in detail what you what to find out: Aims and


objectives

Justification

Present an argument to justify your research.

Explain why it is important



Literature review

Report any previous research

Give examples of previous research

Evaluate any previous research

Identify any gaps

Describe how you intend to fill the gaps



Method

Describe your proposed research methodology: Qualitative


or quantitative etc

Describe your time frame

Describe how you intend to do this in the time available

Describe your resources

Describe how you intend to do your research with the


available resources, what methods you intend to use.

Dissemination

Describe how the findings will be used


Evaluate this use

Describe how the research findings will be disseminated.



References

References to workd cited, plus a list of the books and


articles you might find useful

End matter

May include letters giving permission etc.

Back to Introduction

Genres in academic writing: Book reviews


You may be asked to write a book review or a review of a journal article. This may be a simple
summary of the discussion in a book or article. However, it is more likely to be evaluative.

For a book review, you will probably include the following stages:

Whats the text about? Introduce the book. What is the subject of the text? Who is it
written for? What is the purpose of the book?
What has been written/published before? Put the text in the wider context.
What is the text about? Summarise the book. Describe its general organisation, and the
contents of each chapter.
Is it any good? Draw attention to parts of the book and comment on them positively
and/or negatively refer to other publications that have done something similar if you
can. Look at the purpose of the book, and whether or not it succeeds. Is it appropriate for
the audience, for example.
What about the design etc? Make any other comments on, for example, price,
production, proof-reading, size, colour
Is it appropriate? Conclude discussing whether it is appropriateness for audience, and
make a recommendation.

A review or commentary on an article would include similar information.

The book review could have the following stages.


Preliminaries

Introduction

Give the title of the book, the author, the publisher, the price

The overall text

Describe the subject of the text

Describe the purpose



Background

Describe what has been written/published before?

Evaluate this previously published work.



Content

Summarise the book

Describe its general organisation, contents of each chapter.



Evaluation

Evaluate the text

Compare and contrast with other publications

Present your point of view



Looks

Describe and evaluate design, price, production, proof-reading,


size, colour etc

Conclusion

Summarise discussion

Conclude discussing whether it is appropriate for audience

Recommend or not.

End matter

Back to Introduction

Genres in academic writing: Brief reports


Many newspapers and magazines regularly include short reports of current research that may be
of interest to the educated reader. You may be asked to write one as part of your course.

For a brief research report, you will probably include the following stages:

Short summary. This summarises the main points of the research. It will include the names of
the researchers, where they work and where the main report is published.
General background. This puts the research in the wider context by giving brief details of the
subject and the state of present research.
Purpose. This explains the purpose of the investigation, and explains why it was carried out.
Procedure. This explains how the research was carried out. It gives details of who the subjects
were, how the data was gathered and any special equipment that was used.
Results. This gives details of any new information that came from an anaysis of the data. What
was found?
Conclusions. The report concludes by relating the findings to the wider context and explains
why the research is relevant today.

A brief research report could have the following stages.

Title

Summary

Give the main points of the research, the names of the authors,
where they work and where the results were published.

Background

Describe the present state of knowledge in the area.



Purpose

Explain the purpose of the investigation.

Why was it was carried out?



Procedure

Explain how the research was carried out.

Give details of who the subjects were and how the data was
gathered.

Results

Give details of any new information that came from an anaysis


of the data.

Conclusion

Conclude by explain why the research is relevant in the modern


world.

Example

Tired drivers as risky as


drinkers
Health correspondent

Sleep-deprived tested in the well, write


drivers are less morning with Andrew
alert than those 50mg of alcohol Williamson of
who have drunk in their the School of
more than the bloodstream (the Psychology
legal limit of UK limit is University of
alcohol, 80mg). New South
according to Wales, and
new research. The researchers Anne-Marie
suggest that Feyer from the
A study countries which
published today set drink-driving
in the journal limits should University of
Occupational consider setting Otago, Dunedin.
and restrictions to
Environmental prevent people The volunteers -
Medicine found who have been lorry drivers and
that fatigue can awake for more members of the
reach dangerous than 18 hours transport corps
levels at a much from driving, of the Australian
earlier stage piloting aircraft, army - were put
than has been or operating through tests to
assumed. machinery. measure
Tiredness is thinking speed
The authors, estimated to and physical
from Australia play a part in reactions,
and New between 16% coordination and
Zealand, tested and 60% of road attention span.
responses of 39 accidents in the They carried out
volunteers after United States, the tests after a
sleep they say, but day and night of
deprivation and few attempts wakefulness and
after drinking have been made after drinking
alcohol to work out at alcohol.
equivalent to the what point in the
legal driving day or night that The researchers
limit in tiredness found that
Scandinavia. reaches serious commonly
levels. experienced
They found that levels of sleep
those who had The deprivation -
been up since implications of staying awake
6am performed fatigue for safe for 17 to 19
worse in tests performance are hours -
between well recognised depressed
10.30pm and particularly in performance in
midnight than road safety, but the same way as
those who were in other settings drinking a
as couple of
glasses of
alcohol.

Back to Introduction
Genres in academic writing: Literature
reviews
You may be asked to write a literature review. This may either be part of a larger piece of work
such as an extended essay, report or dissertation. Or it may be a separate peice of work. If it is
part of a report, it may be part of the introduction or it may be a section to itself. If so it usually
comes after the introduction and before the methods.

Any study you carry out, whether it is laboratory or library based, cannot depend completely on
your own data, but must be situated in a context of what is already known about the topic in
question. This context is provided in the literature review.

So firstly you need to read around to find the information and studies that are relevant to
your topic.
You must then summarise these studies, properly cited. You need to include: who found
out what, when, and how this developed the study of the topic.
Remember that the reader will want to know why you have included any particular piece
of research here.
It is not enough just to summarise what has been said: you need to organise and evaluate
it.
You must also justify its inclusion.
You also review here methods that have been used that are relevant to your own study.
You will finish with a conclusion, explaining the gaps in knowledge that you have
identified and how your research will fill these gaps left by previous research.

The main purpose of the literature review is to justify your research. You do this by summarising
the literature with the intention of showing that there is a gap in the knowledge, which you will
fill.

A possible structure is:

Preliminaries

Introduction

Describe the context to the reader.

Explain why it is particularly important



Background

Summarise the studies you have read


Justify their inclusion

Evaluation

Evaluate the studies

Support your evaluation



Justification

Identify a gap in knowledge

Justify your research



Conclusion

Come to a conclusion about you have read, identifting gaps

Explain how you will fill the gap(s)



End matter

(See Ridley, 2008 for more information)

Back to Introduction

Genres in academic writing: Reflective


writing
The purpose of reflective writing is to help you learn from a particular practical experience. It
will help you to make connections between what you are taught in theory and what you need to
do in practice. You reflect so that you can learn.

In reflective writing, you are trying to write down some of the thinking that you have been
through while carrying out a particular practical activity, such as writing an essay, teaching a
class or selling a product. Through reflection, you should be able to make sense of what you did
and why and perhaps help yourself to do it better next time.
You might reflect for many reasons in many ways, for example, in a diary or personal log. But
here we are interested in the kind of writing that you do for assessment. You are often asked to
provide a record of what you did plus a reflection of how you did it and how you are using what
you are taught in your classes and any practical experience you are gaining to do this.

Reflective writing gives you the chance think about what you are doing more deeply and to learn
from your experience. You have the opportunity to discover how what you are taught in class
helps you with your real-world or academic tasks. Writing your thoughts down makes it easier
for you to think about them and make connections between what you are thinking, what you are
being taught and what you are doing. Your written reflection will also serve as a source of
reference and evidence in the future.

It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this
experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and
thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it
is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively. (Gibbs, 1988, p. 9)

You might want to or be asked to reflect on:

how to choose a subject for your dissertation,


how to approach your dissertation,
what your essay title means,
how you are going to approach the essay,
how well you wrote a piece of work,
how you prepared for a lecture,
how you listened to a lecture,
how you undertook a reading assignment,
how you performed in a recent examination,
how you contributed to some group work,
how others reacted,
how you did in a practical situation,
what experiences you gained in some part-time or voluntary work you did,
how you solved a particular problem,
how you can improve your study,

In your reflection, you could write about:

what you did and why you did it,


what was good and bad about it,
why you found it good or bad,
what you found easy or difficult,
why you found it easy or difficult,
what you liked about what you did,
why you felt like that,
how you might want to follow it up,
what other people did and why they did it,
how did you feel about what others did,
how you used what you have been taught in class,
what other information do you need,
what you are going to do differently in this type of situation next time,
what steps you are going to take on the basis of what you have learned,
what you are going to do next.

Reflective writing often involves an action plan in which you should write about:

what you are going to do differently in this type of situation next time
what steps you are going to take on the basis of what you have learned .

Kolb's (1984) experiential learning cycle is useful here:

In this case Concrete Experience is the activity - what you did. Reflective Observation is
thinking about how you did it, how you felt and how you might have done it differently. Abstract
Conceptualisation is thinking about what you were taught in class, what you have read about
how to do this stage and why. Active Experimentation is thinking about what you learned from
your reflection and conceptualisation and planning how you might do it differently next time.

Let us assume that you are reflecting on something that you have done in class.

You will probably start by describing what you did. You might then want to write about how you
did the activity, what methods you used. You might then want to evaluate your performance.
How well did you do? In order to do this, you need to consider what you have been taught. You
might want to describe what the experts say. You may then to consider your reactions. How did
you/do you feel? You might finish by considering how you would do it next time.

In reflective writing it is common to use the first person I - when necessary.


Based on Kolb's work, Gibbs (1988, p. 47) suggests the following stages to encourage deeper
reflection:

Description: What happened? What are you going to reflect on? Don't make judgements
yet or try to draw conclusions.
Feelings: What were your reactions and feelings?
Evaluation: What was good or bad about the experience? Make value judgements.
Analysis: What sense can you make of the situation? Bring in ideas from outside the
experience to help you. What was really going on?
Conclusions What can be concluded, in a general sense, from these experiences and the
(general): analyses you have undertaken?
Conclusions What can be concluded about your own specific, unique, personal situation or
(specific): ways of working?
Personal action What are you going to do differently in this type of situation next time? What
plans: steps are you going to take on the basis of what you have learnt?

based on this pattern, a possible structure of a reflective report is:

Preliminaries

Description Introduction

Describe your situation

Personal report

Report what you did and/or what happened.



Feelings Personal report
Report how you felt.
What did you like or dislike?

Evaluation Reflection on action

Report what was good/bad, easy/difficult, pleasant/unpleasant etc

Compare and contrast your experiences

Explain why

Analysis Reflection on teaching

Report what have you been taught

Describe what you know



Connections

Evaluate your practice, drawing on your knowledge & experience



Conclusions Identify gaps

Describe any gaps in your knowledge

Explain how you can fill them

Generalise to the future



Action Action plan

Produce action plan for future (learning + practice)

Justify your action plan



End matter

See: Rhetorical functions in academic writing: Reflecting for more examples and language.

Back to Introduction
Genres in academic writing: Research report
methods
The method describes the steps that you followed in conducting your study and the materials you
used in each step.

Research Report Methods

The method describes the steps that you followed in conducting your study and the materials you
used in each step. The methods section of the report clearly describes these materials and
procedures. It should show your reader that your reserach has been carried out appropriately and,
therefore, that the results can be believed. The elements included in the method section and the
order in which they are presented may differ from department to department. However, the list in
the following box is typical and provides you with a good model (Weissberg & S. Buker, 1990,
p. 92).

ELEMENTS INCLUDED IN METHODS SECTION

Overview of the Research


Theoretical Justification
Population/Sample
Location
Restrictions/Limiting Conditions
Sampling Technique
Procedures*
Materials*
Variables
Statistical Treatment

(* always included)
Analysis

Read the following example of a method section from the field of computer assisted language
learning and teaching. The study investigated the use of the World-Wide-Web for teaching
writing in a British university. Identify the information elements you find in each sentence of the
selection. (NOTE: Some sentences may contain more than one element.)

Use Of A Writing Web-Site By Pre-Masters Students On An English for Academic Purposes


Course.

A. J. Gillett, University of Hertfordshire


Method
1
The aim of the research was to compare the success of students using on-line teaching
compared to students taught in the traditional classroom context. 2This experimental approach
adopted a positivist position by collecting primary quantitative data from the students
performance on an objective test taken after the teaching process has ended. 3It then compare
the observed results and came to conclusions regarding the effectiveness of on-line teaching.
4
Two groups of international students on a one-year Pre-Masters English for Academic
Purposes course, each comprising 50 students were taught academic writing by different
methods and compared. 5In each group there were 50 students from five different academic
departments - computer science, business, engineering, life sciences and law. 6The subjects
were selected from the second semester - Semester B - of the University of Hertfordshire
International Bridging Programme in the 2004-2005 academic year. 7This programme accepts
only students from a narrow English Language Proficiency band (IELTS 5.00 - 5.5). 8Thus,
comparable language level among the test subjects was insured.
9
The subjects were selected from the 250 students on the International Bridging Programme on
the basis of performance at a satisfactory level in the Semester A examination. 10Students who
had performed below the minimum level on the semester A examination were excluded. 11This
criterion was employed to ensure competent understanding of the tasks and adequate
motivation.
12
One group - Group A - studied English writing in the traditional way in a class with a teacher.
13
This class met for 2 hours each week in a classroom for 12 weeks and was supplemented with
written homework assignments given by the teacher each week. 14The second group - Group B
- met together in a class with a teacher for one hour per week for 12 weeks and were assigned a
homework task of spending one hour per week doing exercises from the UEfAP web-site
(Gillett, 2005).
15
The test instrument employed in this study was a revised version of the University of
Hertfordshire English Language Writing Test (Roberts, 1997), which permits the assessment of
academic written language performance. 16It consists of an academic reading text and
comprehension questions, followed by a discursive essay on the subject of the reading text.
17
Both groups A and B were given the same written examination at the end of the semester.
18
The students took the examination under standard university examination conditions as part
of their end of semester examination. 19The tests were marked using the following categories:
task achievement; communicative quality; organisation; ideas, content and relevance; and
grammar and vocabulary, by two experienced writing examiners and moderated in the standard
way to ensure reliability. 20In this way it was possible to see the relationship between the
students' main academic subjects, and the improvement in their writing ability depending on the
teaching method.
21
A 3 x 5 analysis of variance was used to test for academic department, method of teaching
and language achievement differences.
^

Exercise

Identify the information elements you find in each sentence of the text.

ELEMENT

Sentence 1

Sentence 2

Sentence 3

Sentence 4

Sentence 5

Sentence 6

Sentence 7

Sentence 8

Sentence 9

Sentence 10

Sentence 11

Sentence 12

Sentence 13

Sentence 14

Sentence 15

Sentence 16

Sentence 17

Sentence 18

Sentence 19
Sentence 20

Sentence 21

Example
In early 1982 telephone interviews were conducted with a statewide probability sample of
2,083 registered voters in a major southwestern state. The interviews were conducted for a
state agency and addressed various voting-related attitudes and opinions.

Within this context, a split ballot (experimental) design was employed whereby approximately
each quarter of the sample was asked age utilizing a different question format. Three open-end
and one closed-end question formats were investigated:

How old are you?


What is your age?
In what year were you born?
Are you 18-24 years of age, 25-34. 35-49, 50- 64, 65 or older?

Each question format was drawn from previous research and was selected to be illustrative of
one approach to asking age. The particular question format used when asking an individual
study participant his or her age was randomly determined prior to the interview. Interviewers
made no determination as to what age question format was employed for a specific study
participant.

All interviews were conducted from a centralized, supervised interviewing location and began
with an interviewer asking to speak to a prespecified individual. The interviewer then
introduced himself/herself and stated who was conducting the study and asked for the potential
study participant's cooperation. The questionnaire consisted of 20 questions, of which the age
question was number 15.

Actual age data were available from the state agency for 1,324 of the individuals interviewed.
Therefore, following the completion of an interview it was possible to compare an individual's
reported age with his or her actual age. This in turn permitted inferences as to which question
format produced the most accurate age data as well as which format resulted in the lowest
refusal rate or nonresponse rate.
Language

Passive voice is common and so is past tense:

Telephone interviews were conducted.


The interviews were conducted for a state agency.

A split ballot design was employed .

Each quarter of the sample was asked.

Three open-end and one closed-end question formats were investigated.

Each question format was drawn from previous research and was selected to be illustrative of
one approach to asking age.

The particular question format ... was randomly determined prior to the interview.

All interviews were conducted from a centralized location.


The interviewer then introduced himself/herself and stated who was conducting the study and
asked for the potential study participant's cooperation.

The questionnaire consisted of 20 questions, of which the age question was number 15.

Actual age data were available from the state agency for 1,324 of the individuals interviewed.

Therefore, following the completion of an interview it was possible to compare an individual's


reported age with his or her actual age.

This in turn permitted inferences as to which question format produced the most accurate age
data

as well as which format resulted in the lowest refusal rate or nonresponse rate.
Narrating

See: Rhetorical Functions: Narrating & Reporting

Back to Introduction

Genres in academic writing: Research report


results
Presenting Results
The results section of the report clearly describes the findings of the study. It is usually presented
both in diagrams and text.

Research Report Results

The results section of the report clearly describes the findings of the study. It is usually presented
both in diagrams and text. The elements included in the method section text and the order in
which they are presented may differ from department to department. However, the list in the
following box is typical and provides you with a good model. You might need to repeat this
several times if you have different diagrams and charts.

Make sure, though, that you do not start to interpret the results. This will take place in the
dicussion section, which comes next.

ELEMENTS INCLUDED IN RESULTS SECTION

introduction to the results

statement showing where the results can be found

statement presenting the most important findings

statement commenting on the results this may include:


o summary of the results
o re-organisation of the results to show trends and tendencies
o conclusion from the results

Diagrams

When the information has been collected, it is usually analysed using various statistical
techniques. It is then presented in tables, graphs or charts.
1 Tables
Country of Origin of Students on Foundation Course

Female Male

China 30 40
Japan 2 8
India 1 7
Pakistan 1 4
Thailand 3 1
Malaysia 2 1

Tables:

are efficient, enabling the researcher to present a large amount of data in a small space
show exact numerical values
present quantitative data - they need interpreting
they emphasise the discrete rather than the continuous.

They do not easily show:

the number of students on the course


the percentage of female students
the percentage of female students from China
relationships or trends.

2 Pie charts

Pie charts can be used to show the sizes of various parts of the results in relation to each other
and in relation to the whole sample.
In the pie chart above:

the circle represents the total number of students on the course


each segment represents the number of students from one country. It shows that there are
students from 6 countries
it clearly shows the largest number of students come from China
it also shows that about 10% of the students come from Japan
it shows that fewer students are from Malaysia than India
it shows that a similar number of students come from India and Japan.

it does not show how many students there are altogether.


it does not show how many students there are from a particular country.
it does not show small differences between countries.

3 Histograms

Histograms (or bar or column graphs) can also be also used to describe results. However, they
more clearly show the relationship of different parts of the sample to each other. They do not
clearly show the parts in relation to the whole.
Look at the histogram above. This clearly shows:

the proportion of male to female students


which country has the most students
which country has the fewest women
the number of students from India.

It does not easily show:

the number of students on the course.


the percentage of female students.
the percentage of female students from China.

4 Line graphs

Graphs are often used to show the results of studies, especially when they involve some kind of
change over time. This usually involves two groups of measurements which are known
as variables.
The graph above shows the differences in the English test score of the students on the course.

The two variables are the length of time the students have studied English and the students' test
scores.
The length of study causes the change. (This is called the independent variable and the other -
the test score - the dependent variable.)
The length of study is on the horizontal (x) axis.
The test score is on the vertical (y) axis

Line graphs show well:

trends & tendencies - you can see that the test score generally increases as the length of study
increases.
that a typical student who has studied for 12 months has a score of 4 on the test.
that a typical student who has scored 6 on the test will have studied for 18 months.

Look at the second graph below:


The independent variable is now the test score.
The dependent variable is the number of students who obtained a particular score.
The highest score is 7 the lowest score is 1.
The most common score is 5
8 students achieved a score of 4.

5 The average

The average is a measure of central tendency. It is related to the middle point in a range of
scores and is found in many different kinds of research. It can be calculated in three main ways.
Most commonly, it refers to what mathematicians call the mean. This is calculated by adding all
the scores together and then dividing by the number of scores. For example, if five students
obtain the following test scores: 2.5, 3, 3, 4 & 5, then the average test score (the mean) is 17.5
(the total) divided by 5 (number of students) = 3.5. You can see in this case, though, that none of
the students actually obtained a score of 3.5.

Sometimes it is not useful to calculate the average in this way. For example, we may want to see
which score on the test was most frequently obtained. This kind of average, referring to the most
frequent score, is called the mode, and is also a very useful average. In this case the mode is 5.
10 students obtained a score of 3.

The third useful average is the median - this is the middle score obtained by the students on the
test. In this case the median is 3.

6 Dispersion

Dispersion is the spread of scores. Whereas the various averages will give us information about
central tendency, it does not give very much information about the group as a whole. We need to
know more about a set of scores than the mean can tell us.

One useful piece of information is the range from the bottom to the top score. In the example
above when five students obtain the following test scores: 2.5, 3, 3, 4 & 5, the range is the
difference between the bottom score and the top score, inclusive of both scores, i.e. 3.5.

It is common to plot the range of scores on a graph. This can show easily the range of scores
(from the lowest to the highest) as well as the number of students who obtained each score. For
example, if the scores of 69 students are plotted on a graph, it would look something like the
diagram below.
If the sample of sixty-nine students was representative of the students at the university as a
whole, then the most common score of university students would be 50%, and the majority of
students would have scores around 50%, with a few students at either extreme. See the diagram
below. Idealised curves such as the one shown below are called normal distribution curves. The
number of people on one side of the centre is the same as on the other side, with about 50% of
the students near the centre.

One common measure of how much the scores are spread is the standard deviation (SD). This
shows how much the range of scores deviate from the mean. In a normal distribution 68% of the
population will get scores within one standard deviation of the mean and so 32% of the
population will have scores more than one standard deviation away from the mean. 95% of the
population will have scores within two standard deviations of the mean.
^
Analysis

Read the following example of part of a results section from the field of computer assisted
language learning and teaching. The study investigated the use of the World-Wide-Web for
teaching writing in a British university. Identify the information elements you find in each
sentence of the selection. (NOTE: Some sentences may contain more than one element.)

Use Of A Writing Web-Site By Pre-Masters Students On An English for Academic Purposes


Course.

A. J. Gillett, University of Hertfordshire

Results
1
Two groups of Students in Higher Education - Group A and Group B - on a one-year Pre-
Masters English for Academic Purposes course, each comprising 50 students were taught
academic writing by different methods and compared. 2Figure 3 displays the mean percentile
scores on the five subsections of the academic writing test. 3Students in Group B, which used
the computer assisted facilities, performed considerably better than their non computer-assisted
peers on all five subsections of the test by more than two to one in terms of scores attained in
each of the subcategories. 4For example, in the task achievement subcategory, Group A scored
an average of 80 percent, while Group B students scored an average of 14 percent.
Exercise

Identify the information elements you find in each sentence of the text.

ELEMENT

Sentence 1

Sentence 2

Sentence 3

Sentence 4

Language
Referring to a diagram, chart etc.

As can be seen the ...


chart,
diagram,
It can be seen from table,
that ...
We can see in graph,
figures,
statistics,

As can be seen Table 1,


from
It can be seen Figure 2,
in
We can see Graph 3,

Table 1 seen
Figure 2 concluded
can
shown
From figures it be that ...
estimated
the chart may
calculated
diagram inferred

The graph
shows that ...
Figure 1
Narrating

See: Rhetorical Functions: Narrating & Reporting

Generalising

See: Rhetorical Functions: Generalisations

Back to Introduction

Genres in academic writing: Research


report discussions
The main purpose of the discussion is to show that the results lead clearly to the conclusion
being drawn. This may include any limitations that might cause problems with any claims being
made as well as any possible explanations for these results.

Research Report Discussions

The discussion section of the report takes a broad view of the research and puts it in a wider
context. The discussion section moves from the narrow specific focus of the research to a more
general view. It must clearly show how the results found lead to the conclusions being drawn and
therefore how these conclusions should be understood. This should include any limitations that
might cause problems with any claims being made as well as any possible explanations for these
results.

The elements included in the discussion section text and the order in which they are presented
may differ from department to department. However, the list in the following box is typical and
provides you with a good model (adapted from: Weissberg & Buker, 1990, p. 138; Hopkins &
Dudley-Evans, 1988; Swales & Feak, 1994).

ELEMENTS INCLUDED IN DISCUSSION SECTION

a reference to the main purpose of the study

a generalised review of the most important findings - summary of results

possible explanations for the findings in general

comparison with expected results and other studies

limitations of the overall study that restrict the extent to which the findings can be
generalised

^
Analysis

Read the following example of part of a discussion section from the field of computer assisted
language learning and teaching. The study investigated the use of the World-Wide-Web for
teaching writing in a British university. Identify the information elements you find in each
sentence of the selection. (NOTE: Some sentences may contain more than one element.)

Use Of A Writing Web-Site By Pre-Masters Students On An English for Academic


Purposes Course.

A. J. Gillett, University of Hertfordshire

Discussion
1
The purpose of the study was to investigate whether Students in Higher Education on an EAP
writing course would benefit from computer assisted instruction. 2The findings clearly suggest
that they do. 3The students who took part in the computer assisted element of the writing course
outperformed those who followed the traditional course in every aspect as shown by their
performance on the University of Hertfordshire Writing test. 4They showed particular strengths
in the task achievement element of the assessment, suggesting that the computer assisted
materials really help the students to understand and focus on the purpose of their writing. 5It
also seems to be the case that the individually directed nature of the on-line materials helps the
students to focus on their own specific needs as well as allowing them to access their materials
in their own time. 6Another reason for the success of the materials may be that it allows
students to spend more time on the course than is normally the case in a classroom based
programme. 7This supports and adds to the findings of Jones & Smith (1997) and Harris
(2002), who showed similar results for an on-line grammar course. 8This study has taken a step
in the direction of justifying the inclusion of web-based materials in EAP writing courses for
post-graduates on English language preparation course. 9It did however look at a narrow range
of subject areas - mainly business, computer science, engineering life-sciences and law - taken
by students from only a few countries - particularly China, Japan , Korea and Thailand. 10It may
be the case that students from other countries intending to study different subjects - for
example, medicine or humanities - would not benefit in the same way. 11It is also not clear
whether younger students such as students preparing for undergraduate programmes would
succeed to the same extent. 12The approach outlined in this study should be replicated with
other students in other subject areas, as well as at other levels in order to be able to recommend
the use of on-line materials for all students in all subject areas.
Exercise

Identify the information elements you find in each sentence of the text.

ELEMENT

Sentence 1
Sentence 2

Sentence 3

Sentence 4

Sentence 5

Sentence 6

Sentence 7

Sentence 8

Sentence 9

Sentence 10

Sentence 11

Sentence 12

Language
Generalising

See: Rhetorical Functions: Generalisations

Certainty

See: Rhetorical Functions: Expressing Certainty

Cause and Effect

See: Rhetorical Functions: Cause & Effect

Comparing and Contrasting

See: Rhetorical Functions: Comparing & Contrasting

Arguing and Discussing

See: Rhetorical Functions: Arguing & Discussing


^

Back to Introduction

Genres in academic writing: Writing


conclusions
The main purpose of the conclusion is to show that the main purpose of the piece of writing has
been achieved.

a. It should recall the issues raised in the introduction - what was the purpose of the piece of
writing?


b. and draw together the points made in the main body of the piece of writing


c. and come to a clear conclusion.

It should clearly signal to the reader that the writing is finished and leave a clear impression that
the purpose has been achieved.

Analysis

Read the following example of the conclusion from the field of computer assisted language
learning and teaching. The study investigated the use of the World-Wide-Web for teaching
writing in a British university.

Use Of A Writing Web-Site By Pre-Masters Students On An English for Academic Purposes


Course.

A. J. Gillett, University of Hertfordshire

Conclusion
1
During the past 10 years, the use of computers in education has increased dramatically and
a wide range of educational computer programmes are now widely available for individual and
classroom use. 2However, there has been very little research reported on the effectiveness of
such use. 3The purpose of the present study was therefore to ascertain the effectiveness of using
computer-assisted instruction as compared to traditional classroom instruction in an EAP
writing class. 4The findings clearly suggest that the inclusion of web-based materials in EAP
writing courses for post-graduate students from East-Asia on an English language preparation
course is effective. 5Further research is needed, however, before the use of such materials can
be recommended for all students in all subject areas at all levels.
Examples

Read the following conclusions:

In conclusion, therefore, it can be seen that millions of people continue to be affected by


water-related problems and, contrary to popular belief, future water supplies are not
inexhaustible. So the situation is very serious, especially in view of the UN estimates of
demand. Although projects to provide ever-increasing supplies of water indicate that a
growing number of countries are aware of the present problems and of those to come, these
more often than not are highly expensive and not very practical - and very time-consuming
when time is a commodity in short supply. So, while research in these areas is important, the
eventual solution would definitely appear to be worldwide conservation and pollution control -
in other words, a greater respect for our most valuable natural resource.

Altogether, it seems that we cannot accept without question the dramatic increase in recorded
crime as corresponding to a real increase in victimization of the same proportions. But,
however good it would be to explain away all, or even most, of the increase as an artefact of
recording changes, this cannot be shown to be the case. We can plausibly infer that crime has
been increasing in the last two to three decades, presenting a problem for explanation and
policy.
Language
In short,
In a word,
In brief,
To sum up,
To conclude, ...
To summarise
In conclusion,
On the whole,
Altogether,
In all,

accepted
generally argued
It is that .
widely held
believed
Therefore,
concluded
Thus, can
it be deduced that .
On this basis, may
inferred
Given this,

Table 1 seen
table concluded
figures can shown
From it be that .
the data may estimated
results calculated
information inferred

In conclusion, we/may say


that .
Finally it can/may be said

Back to Introduction

Genres in academic writing:


Report abstracts
Writing an abstract

The abstract is the first section of the report. It usually comes after the title and before the
introduction. In some subject areas, this section may be titled "summary". The abstract provides
an overview of the study based on information from the other sections of the report. The reader
can read the abstract to obtain enough information about the study to decide if they want to read
the complete report. Because it contains elements from the whole report, it is usually written last.

1. Ordering Your Information

Abstracts from almost all fields of study are written in a very similar way. The types of
information included and their order are very conventional. The box that follows shows the
typical information format of an abstract (Weissberg & Buker, 1990, p. 186):
Introduction

Introduce the study by describing the context

Explain why the subject is important


Purpose

Describe the purpose of the study



Methods

Report how the study was undertaken



Results

Report the results that were found.



Evaluation

Briefly evaluate the results



Conclusion

Conclude briefly

Explain what is important and why


Analysis

Read the following abstract carefully. It is taken from the field of computer assisted learning.
Identify the sentences in the abstract that correspond to the elements in the preceding box.

Use Of A Writing Web-Site By Pre-Masters Students On An English for Academic Purposes


Course.

A. J. Gillett, University of Hertfordshire

Abstract
1
During the last 10 years, use of the World-Wide-Web for educational purposes has increased
dramatically. 2However, very little empirical research has been carried out to determine the
effectiveness of this use. 3The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the effectiveness of
using the World-Wide-Web on an EAP writing course. 4Two groups of students were taught
writing by two different methods: one group was taught by a teacher in a traditional classroom,
while a second group included use of an on-line web-site in their course. 5The two groups were
assessed in the same way after a twelve-week period of instruction. 6Results of the assessment
showed significant differences between the two groups, the group that used the on-line web-site
performing much better on all aspects of the test. 7This suggests that the use of computer
assisted learning programmes for at least some of the teaching time available can be
recommended for EAP writing courses.
Sentence 1
Sentence 2
Sentence 3
Sentence 4
Sentence 5
Sentence 6
Sentence 7
Exercise:

Write an abstract for this report.

Back to Introduction

Genres in academic writing: Research


dissertations & theses
Many students will, towards the end of their academic lives, be expected to carry out some kind
of research and write a dissertation or thesis.

Your dissertation or thesis will probably include many of the following elements in some way or
other. However, different subject areas do have different preferences for exactly how these
components are organised. You will also probably organise your writing, using headings and
sub-headings in a simlar way.

Title page
1. Preliminaries Abstract
Acknowledgments
List of Contents
List of Tables/Figures

Introduction
Literature Review
Theory
Aims
Methodology/Research Design
2. Main text Materials, Participants & Methods
Findings/Results
Discussion/Interpretation
Limitations
Conclusions/Implications
Future Work
Recommendations

3. End matter References


Appendices

And a minimum (see, for example, Perry, 1998, 2011, 2013) is probably:

Title page
1. Preliminaries
Contents Page

Introduction
Literature Review
2. Main text Research Design
Findings
Conclusions

3. End matter References

Or, as Evans (1995) describes the main section:

Problem statement
1. Introduction Aim
Research approach

History, geography
2. Background Current theory
Current practice
3. Own work Design of work
Results

Discussion
4. Synthesis
Conclusions

Different subject areas have different preferences for exactly how these components are
organised. See here for more information.

1. Preliminaries

Before you start the main part of your dissertation, there should be a title page. The Title Page
should contain information to enable your supervisor and departmental office to identify exactly
what the piece of work is. It should include the title of your dissertation, your name or anonymity
number, the degree for which the dissertation is being submitted, the name of the department, the
name of the university, the year of submission and the name of your supervisor. Check with your
department for specific information.

A dissertation should also normally include an Abstract and a Contents page and, if you are
using them, a List of Tables, Figures, Charts etc. The Abstract should give some background
information, clearly state the principal purpose of the research, give some information about the
methodology used, state the most important results and - importantly - the conclusion. It will
usually be no longer than 300 words. See: Writing an abstract.

The Contents page will give page numbers for the main sections and will show the structure of
the dissertation, including headings and sub-headings.

The Acknowledgments section is your opportunity to thank individuals who have been
particularly helpful.

2. The main text

The main body consists of several chapters of background, ideas, methods, data, argument,
conclusions and implications. Each chapter develops a subdivision of the purpose of the thesis or
dissertation.

The Introduction gives background knowledge that supports the reason for undertaking the
research and an organisation statement. It should clearly state the problem to be solved in the
form of a research question or hypothesis and be clear about the need for the research and its
significance. The Literature Review/Theory will set your research against a background of what
is already known about the topic in question, and be clear about the gap to be filled and the
significance of this. The Methodology section gives detailed information of how the information
in the dissertation was obtained. It should persuade your readers that the research was done well
so the results can be believed. Findings and Results give the data that has been collected, while
the Discussion argues that the results lead to the clearly expressed conclusion, with any
Limitations taken into account.

The chapters are linked in order to connect the ideas. The purpose of the dissertation or thesis
report must be made clear and the reader must be able to follow its development.

I. Introduction
II. Literature Review
III. Methodology
IV. Findings/Results
V. Discussion/Interpretation
VI. Conclusion

I. The introduction.

The introduction states briefly why you are studying this topic. It situates your research in
relation to previous work that has been done in the area and shows how your study
emerges from published accounts. It should make clear your aims and purpose of the
study, which cannot simply be a description of something, but should be a reasoned
attempt to explain why a certain situation is the way it is. The two ways of expressing this
aim are by either a research questions or a hypothesis.

The introduction usually consists of three parts:

a. It should include a short review of the literature to provide a background to your report
and to attract the reader's attention. It may include a definition of terms in the context
of the report, etc.
b. It should try to explain why you are writing the report. You need to establish a gap in
current knowledge. This will be expressed in the form of a research question to be
answered or a hypothesis to be proved (or not).
c. It should also include a statement of the specific subdivisions of the topic and/or
indication of how the topic is going to be tackled in order to specifically address the
question.

It should introduce the central idea or the main purpose of the writing. See: Writing
Introductions

II. Literature Review

Your study cannot depend wholly on your own data, but must be set against a
background of what is already known about the topic in question. So firstly you need to
find the relevant information and studies. You must then give an account of the relevant
published studies, properly cited: who found out what, when, and how this moved the
study of the topic forward. You should always remember that the reader will want to
know why you have included any particular piece of research here. It is not enough just
to summarise what has been said: you need to organise and evaluate it. You have to show
how a study moved your own thinking forward and how you used it - or rejected it. You
also review here methods that have been used that are relevant to your own study. This
will be a major section of the dissertation - it may be around 30% of the total dissertation.

Your literature may include a discussion of the relevant theories that you intend to use in
order to interpret your findings, or they may be included in a separate section.

At the end of this section, you should now be able to clearly state your aims. See: Writing
a Literature Review

III. Methodology.

You have reviewed the methods used in your field in the literature review. In this section
you should justify and describe the methods you selected to use, saying how much you
took from previous studies or from common professional practice and say what you
changed or added. You will need to give a step-by-step account of the study you carried
out, your subjects or informants and how you selected them, the interviews - for example
- you held and how you recorded them, the language you studied and how you selected it,
the procedures and materials you used, the analyses you carried out .... and so on. You
will certainly need to discuss and make clear the theoretical foundations for your
approach.

So the methodology section gives details of how the information in the report was
obtained. It may give details of the materials and procedures used. In any kind of
experimental report, details of the people involved will need to be included. See: Writing
Research Methods

IV. Findings/Results.

At this stage, you say what you did and what you found out. There is an important
distinction to remember here, and that is the one between results and interpretation. In the
former, you are only saying what you found, for example, what the informants said or
did, how many times they said or did it, how many examples of particular language
features you found, and so on. You will need to record your results and there are many
ways to do this: tables, diagrams, charts, graphs and so on.

The findings and results give the data that has been collected. In all cases, reference must
be made to the location of the information in your text, the main details of the data and
any comments on this. See: Writing Research Results

V. Discussion.

When you have some results, you can decide what they mean - that is, interpret them.
Start by repeating the main purpose of the study. Then give possible explanations for or
speculations about your findings. You need to judge how strong you think your findings
are. If all the evidence points clearly in one direction, you are probably quite safe in
saying that in these circumstances, with these informants and these conditions, this will
be the result, but beware of generalising inappropriately. It is important to attribute the
right amount of weight to the right factors, and discard as unreliable any evidence that is
irregular .

Make sure you relate each finding back to those you discussed in the literature review, so
as to show how your results compare with others. You will need to say if yours are the
same or different, and will need to say why. Relate this also to your original question or
your hypothesis/es: say whether your findings support your original hypothesis or answer
your research question. Think widely when interpreting the results: think about how you
can explain your findings. There may also be an interaction between certain factors that
you had not considered at first, but which may be the explanation of something that you
could not at first understand.

You will need to consider any limitations of your study as they will affect the strength of
your conclusions. Look back over the conduct of your study, and, seeing it globally,
discuss whether you think you have done it in the best way. It is quite likely that in the
course of it you thought of better ways of doing things: don't disguise this, but mention
your criticisms. Your basic question here is: what aspect of the dissertation could have
been done better? Did you ask the right question? Did you use the best possible data-
collection techniques? Focus honestly on what you see as the weakest points of the
project, and address them. It is important that you disclose what went wrong. Nobody
expects research to go absolutely smoothly. Worse in some ways is when you realise -
half-way through the study - that the method you're using is not going to give quite the
information you wanted. Don 't hide any of this: it gives you part of your final
interpretation of the results. What are the implications of your study? How far can you
generalise?

So the main purpose of the discussion is to show your reader that the results lead clearly
to the conclusion being drawn. This may include any limitations that might cause
problems with any claims being made as well as any possible explanations for these
results. See: Writing Research Discussions

VI. The Conclusion.

The conclusion starts with a summary of what you have found. Was your research
question a good one? Was your hypothesis justified? What are you now sure of? How
does it relate to other findings?

The conclusion includes the your final points.

a. It should recall the issues you raised in the introduction and draw together the points
you made in the results and discussion
b. and come to a clear conclusion.
It should clearly signal to the reader that the dissertation or thesis is finished and leave a
clear impression of your new contribution to the knowledge of your subject. You might
here include and practical implications or recommendations for practitioners in your field
and suggestions for further research in the area. See: Writing Conclusions

PRELIMINARIES

I. INTRODUCTION

Context
Identification of Gap
Organisation Statement

II. LITERATURE REVIEW

Introductory Sentences - Overview


More Details of Background
Detailed Identification of Gap
Problem to be Solved
Overview of Structure of Dissertation
...
Concluding Sentences

III. METHODOLOGY

Introductory Sentences - Overview


Approach
Procedures
Materials
...
Concluding Sentences

IV. FINDINGS/RESULTS
Introductory Sentences
Locating Results
Findings
Comment
...
Concluding Sentences

V. DISCUSSION

Introductory Sentences - Overview


Review of Findings
Possible Explanations
Limitations
...
Concluding Sentences

VI. CONCLUSION

Recall Issues in Introduction - Report Purpose;


Draw Together Main Points;
Final Comment - Clear Conclusion.
Implications/Future Work

END MATTER

3. End Matter

At the end of the report, there should be a list of references. This should give full information
about the materials that you have used in the report. See Writing a list of references for more
information on the reference list. As always, put here all and only all the works you have cited in
the text.

Appendices: Put here any data that was too extensive to incorporate earlier. In the text, for
example, you might have included the tables/graphs that give the results of your analyses. In the
Appendices, you can give the raw data to enable the reader to make her/his own analysis. You
may also include full transcripts of interviews or texts, questionnaires, and so on.
^

For more information, see also: Bitchener (2010); Brown (2006, ch. 9); Carter, Kelly &
Brailsford (2012, ch. 1); Cooley & Lewkowicz (2003, ch. 5); Creswell (2003); Day (1989);
Deane & Borg (2011, chap. 7); Dunleavy (2003, ch. 3); Feak & Swales (2009); Feak & Swales
(2011); Lewin (2010); Kamler & Thomson, 2006, ch. 6); Madsen (1992); Menasche (1997);
Murphy & Beglar (2009, ch. 5); Paltridge & Starfield (2007, ch. 5); Phillips & Pugh (1987);
Ridley (2008); Swales & Feak (2009); Williams, Bethell, Lawton, Parfitt-Brown, Richardson &
Rowe (2010); Williams, Bethell, Lawton, Parfitt-Brown, Richardson & Rowe (2011), Wallace &
Wray (2006, ch. 13).

Back to Introduction

Genres in academic writing: Exercises


Questions/Assignment Briefs/Rubric

Before you start writing, it is important to consider the broad purpose of your writing. The
assignment question or rubric can often help you with this task.

Look at the following questions/briefs/rubrics and try to decide the broad purpose of the piece of
writing you are expected to do.

Broad Purposes
A. Demonstrating knowledge and understanding
B. Building research skills
C. Developing powers of independent reasoning
D. Writing for oneself and others
D. Preparing for professional practice

Market Research 1. Explain the purposes of advertising research with reference to an example
Methods with which you are familiar.
Market Research
2. Explain how the effectiveness of advertising can be assessed.
Methods
3. Describe how you would select an appropriate sample to assess the impact
Market Research
of television advertising for toys for children aged 5 10 over the Christmas
Methods
period (late November December)
Hospitailty, 4. On the 26th August, Bank holiday Monday, Mr. Lars Hanson has arranged
Leisure & to host a party to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary. The location is at
Tourism his riverside house with the marquee erected on the lawn next to the river. He
Management requires a three course luncheon with wine starting at 1pm. The guests will
arrive from 11.30am and will leave around 3.30pm. He has contacted
Peacock Catering and asked for a quote for the day including the following:

Hot canaps and drinks on arrival


A three course lunch menu including wine list
A selection of drinks including water and wine that will be available all day
The cutting and distribution of the wedding cake along with champagne for
the speeches
A recommended table plan for the day
A list of all the china, glassware and equipment required for the day
The wording for the menu and wine list

5. Donna Spencer is a journalist and wants to write an article on obesity for a


newspaper. She has the following questions:
Food Sciences
Scientists are constantly saying that levels of obesity are increasing. What
is the reason for this increase?

6. Using the accounts for Marks and Spencer plc and other information
Accounting &
researched by you, write a report recommending whether or not to invest in
Finance
Marks and Spencer plc.
7. Explore the role of the small business sector in the UK economy and in
Economics
your own country.
8. What is the position of the UK Government on restrictive trade practices
Economics
and how has recent legislation helped to achieve its aims?
9. What are the main causes of the recent credit crisis and what measures
Economics
have governments been adopting to try to solve the problems caused by it?
10. What is the regional problem, and how has government policy attempted
Economics
to alleviate this problem?
11. How successful have international institutions been in promoting and
Economics
achieving free trade?
12. Discuss the relative merits of different exchange rate regimes and explain
Economics
why your own country has chosen the regime it has.
13. Analyse the strategies used by the Apple Corporation to build and sustain
Business Strategy competitive advantage. What are the strategic issues and options currently
facing the organisation?
14. Critically consider the "Method od Doubt" as a means of beginning
Philosophy
philosophy.
15. Outline and analyse the problems confronting Medical Supplies Limited
MBA
and offer recommendations for their resolution.
16. Create an application which gives the user the ability to open and display
Computer Science
an image, and to change the background colour of the form.
17. For this assignment you should construct a model which demonstrates
Agriculture changes in woodland structure over time with an attention to the understory
vegetation cover and factors affecting the rate of increase on the field and
ground layer vegetation in order to take account of those factors in planning
of woodland management.
18. Describe the patterns of distribution of the allophones of /r/, and the
Linguistics allophones of /l/, based on the data provided. What can you say about /r/ in
syllable final position?
19. Meltese and Leponese have identical phonetic inventories, but different
phonological inventories. Give the phonetic inventory the two languages
Linguistics
share, and then the phonological vowel inventory for each language. Indicate
the line of reasoning which led to your answer.
20. Write a literature review of between 1500-2000 words. You can choose
any topic, but are strongly encouraged to review the literature relating to your
thesis topic (if you have decided on one) or another area that you think you
will work on in future.
21. Conduct a brief literature review on a topic of interest related to business,
Business
information systems, social issues, etc.
Language 22. Write a critical evaluation of a topic relevant to the field of English
Teaching Language Teaching in the form of a literature review.
23. The dissertation will require students to identify a significant problem in
the teaching of English in a particular part of the world, to examine some
Language
background issues and carry out appropriate research, including data
Teaching
collection and analysis. The results of the research will inform a well-
founded dissertation of 15,000 20,000 words.
24. Your assignment requires a weekly blog site in the group site on
Blackboard. Your blog should not be on the weekly teaching schedule but
Business your personal experience, learning journey, including both positive and
negative experiences and what actions should be taken to the future as
development.
25. Write not more than 1000 words to describe your research methodology,
i.e., what approach you took to carry out your project. It should give answers
to the following questions:

Business Was your research exploratory, descriptive or explanatory and why?


Was your research qualitative or quantitative in nature and why?
What approach and techniques did you use to carry out your project (e.g.,
action research, case study, survey, data collection methods), and why?

26. Your third writing assignment is to write the Methods section of the class
experiment using APA format. Specifically, this section should include the
Psychology following: Who participated? How were they recruited? How were they
assigned to condition? What did they do? Include the IVs and IVMs, the DVs
and DVMs.
27. The assignment is due on Thursday, May 10, the last day of the
examination period. It should be written in APA style, and it should include
Psychology
an abstract, an introduction with literature review and hypotheses, a method
section describing methods and procedures in detail, a brief consideration of
data analyses, and a discussion section that examines reliability, validity,
reactive effects, ethical issues, etc

28. Laura, a 19 year old law student, went to the Rotten Row Bus Station to
catch a coach home to Sweet Valley. She had made this journey from time to
time in the past. Above the ticket-office window of the Slowe and Wheezy
Bus Company was a sign which stated that all tickets were issued subject to
conditions displayed inside the coaches. Laura purchased a ticket which
made no reference to any conditions. While boarding the coach the driver
carelessly knocked Lauras very expensive up to the minute mobile phone
from her hand and broke it. One of the terms displayed inside the coach was
Law
as follows:

Passengers travel with goods at their own risk. Neither the company nor its
servants accept any liability for damage or loss to passengers goods. The
companys servants are parties to this contract.

Advise Laura. In your advice state the effects of relevant case law and
statutes.

Answers

Answers- Genres in academic writing:


Exercises
Questions/Assignment Briefs/Rubric: Answers

Before you start writing, it is important to consider the broad purpose of your writing. The
assignment question or rubric can often help you with this task.

Look at the following questions/briefs/rubrics and try to decide the broad purpose of the piece of
writing you are expected to do.

Broad Purposes
A. Demonstrating knowledge and understanding
B. Building research skills
C. Developing powers of independent reasoning
D. Writing for oneself and others
D. Preparing for professional practice

Subject Question/Rubric Purpose


Demonstrating
Market Research 1. Explain the purposes of advertising research with
knowledge and
Methods reference to an example with which you are familiar.
understanding
Demonstrating
Market Research 2. Explain how the effectiveness of advertising can be
knowledge and
Methods assessed.
understanding
3. Describe how you would select an appropriate sample to
Demonstrating
Market Research assess the impact of television advertising for toys for
knowledge and
Methods children aged 5 10 over the Christmas period (late
understanding
November December)
4. On the 26th August, Bank holiday Monday, Mr. Lars
Hanson has arranged to host a party to celebrate his 25th
wedding anniversary. The location is at his riverside house
with the marquee erected on the lawn next to the river. He
requires a three course luncheon with wine starting at 1pm.
The guests will arrive from 11.30am and will leave around
3.30pm. He has contacted Peacock Catering and asked for a
quote for the day including the following:
Hospitailty,
Preparing for
Leisure & Hot canaps and drinks on arrival
professional
Tourism A three course lunch menu including wine list
practice
Management A selection of drinks including water and wine that will
be available all day
The cutting and distribution of the wedding cake along
with champagne for the speeches
A recommended table plan for the day
A list of all the china, glassware and equipment required
for the day
The wording for the menu and wine list

5. Donna Spencer is a journalist and wants to write an


article on obesity for a newspaper. She has the following
questions:
Writing for
Food Sciences
oneself and others
Scientists are constantly saying that levels of obesity are
increasing. What is the reason for this increase?

6. Using the accounts for Marks and Spencer plc and other
Preparing for
Accounting & information researched by you, write a report
professional
Finance recommending whether or not to invest in Marks and
practice
Spencer plc.
Developing
7. Explore the role of the small business sector in the UK powers of
Economics
economy and in your own country. independent
reasoning
8. What is the position of the UK Government on restrictive Demonstrating
Economics trade practices and how has recent legislation helped to knowledge and
achieve its aims? understanding
9. What are the main causes of the recent credit crisis and Demonstrating
Economics what measures have governments been adopting to try to knowledge and
solve the problems caused by it? understanding
Demonstrating
10. What is the regional problem, and how has government
Economics knowledge and
policy attempted to alleviate this problem?
understanding
Developing
11. How successful have international institutions been in powers of
Economics
promoting and achieving free trade? independent
reasoning
Developing
12. Discuss the relative merits of different exchange rate
powers of
Economics regimes and explain why your own country has chosen the
independent
regime it has.
reasoning
13. Analyse the strategies used by the Apple Corporation to
Preparing for
Business build and sustain competitive advantage. What are the
professional
Strategy strategic issues and options currently facing the
practice
organisation?
Developing
14. Critically consider the "Method od Doubt" as a means powers of
Philosophy
of beginning philosophy. independent
reasoning
15. Outline and analyse the problems confronting Medical Preparing for
MBA Supplies Limited and offer recommendations for their professional
resolution. practice
16. Create an application which gives the user the ability to Preparing for
Computer
open and display an image, and to change the background professional
Science
colour of the form. practice
17. For this assignment you should construct a model which
demonstrates changes in woodland structure over time with
Preparing for
an attention to the understory vegetation cover and factors
Agriculture professional
affecting the rate of increase on the field and ground layer
practice
vegetation in order to take account of those factors in
planning of woodland management.
18. Describe the patterns of distribution of the allophones of Demonstrating
Linguistics /r/, and the allophones of /l/, based on the data provided. knowledge and
What can you say about /r/ in syllable final position? understanding
19. Meltese and Leponese have identical phonetic
inventories, but different phonological inventories. Give the Demonstrating
Linguistics phonetic inventory the two languages share, and then the knowledge and
phonological vowel inventory for each language. Indicate understanding
the line of reasoning which led to your answer.
20. Write a literature review of between 1500-2000 words.
You can choose any topic, but are strongly encouraged to
Building research
review the literature relating to your thesis topic (if you
skills
have decided on one) or another area that you think you will
work on in future.
21. Conduct a brief literature review on a topic of interest Building research
Business
related to business, information systems, social issues, etc. skills
22. Write a critical evaluation of a topic relevant to the field
Language Building research
of English Language Teaching in the form of a literature
Teaching skills
review.
23. The dissertation will require students to identify a
significant problem in the teaching of English in a particular
Language part of the world, to examine some background issues and Building research
Teaching carry out appropriate research, including data collection and skills
analysis. The results of the research will inform a well-
founded dissertation of 15,000 20,000 words.
24. Your assignment requires a weekly blog site in the
group site on Blackboard. Your blog should not be on the
weekly teaching schedule but your personal experience, Writing for
Business
learning journey, including both positive and negative oneself and others
experiences and what actions should be taken to the future
as development.
25. Write not more than 1000 words to describe your
research methodology, i.e., what approach you took to carry
out your project. It should give answers to the following
questions:

Was your research exploratory, descriptive or


Building research
Business explanatory and why?
skills
Was your research qualitative or quantitative in nature
and why?
What approach and techniques did you use to carry out
your project (e.g., action research, case study, survey,
data collection methods), and why?

26. Your third writing assignment is to write the Methods


section of the class experiment using APA format.
Specifically, this section should include the following: Who Building research
Psychology
participated? How were they recruited? How were they skills
assigned to condition? What did they do? Include the IVs
and IVMs, the DVs and DVMs.
27. The assignment is due on Thursday, May 10, the last
day of the examination period. It should be written in APA
Building research
Psychology style, and it should include an abstract, an introduction with
skills
literature review and hypotheses, a method section
describing methods and procedures in detail, a brief
consideration of data analyses, and a discussion section that
examines reliability, validity, reactive effects, ethical issues,
etc.
28. Laura, a 19 year old law student, went to the Rotten
Row Bus Station to catch a coach home to Sweet Valley.
She had made this journey from time to time in the past.
Above the ticket-office window of the Slowe and Wheezy
Bus Company was a sign which stated that all tickets were
issued subject to conditions displayed inside the coaches.
Laura purchased a ticket which made no reference to any
conditions. While boarding the coach the driver carelessly
knocked Lauras very expensive up to the minute mobile Preparing for
Law phone from her hand and broke it. One of the terms professional
displayed inside the coach was as follows: practice

Passengers travel with goods at their own risk. Neither the


company nor its servants accept any liability for damage or
loss to passengers goods. The companys servants are
parties to this contract.

Advise Laura. In your advice state the effects of relevant


case law and statutes.

Genres in academic writing: Exercises


Questions/Assignment Briefs/Rubric

Before you start writing, it is important to consider the broad purpose of your writing. The
assignment question or rubric can often help you with this task.

Once you have chosen the primary purpose of your writing, you can narrow that down to the
genre family required.

Primary Purpose Genre Family


Explanations
Demonstrating Knowledge & Understanding
Exercises
Essays
Developing Powers of Independent Reasoning
Critiques
Literature Surveys
Building Research Skills Methodology Recounts
Research Reports
Case Studies
Design Specifications
Preparing for Professional Practice
Problem Questions
Proposals
Event Recounts
Writing for Oneself and Others
Public Engagement

Market Research 1. Explain the purposes of advertising research with reference to an example
Methods with which you are familiar.
Market Research
2. Explain how the effectiveness of advertising can be assessed.
Methods
3. Describe how you would select an appropriate sample to assess the impact
Market Research
of television advertising for toys for children aged 5 10 over the Christmas
Methods
period (late November December)
4. On the 26th August, Bank holiday Monday, Mr. Lars Hanson has arranged
to host a party to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary. The location is at
his riverside house with the marquee erected on the lawn next to the river. He
requires a three course luncheon with wine starting at 1pm. The guests will
arrive from 11.30am and will leave around 3.30pm. He has contacted
Peacock Catering and asked for a quote for the day including the following:
Hospitailty,
Leisure & Hot canaps and drinks on arrival
Tourism A three course lunch menu including wine list
Management A selection of drinks including water and wine that will be available all day
The cutting and distribution of the wedding cake along with champagne for
the speeches
A recommended table plan for the day
A list of all the china, glassware and equipment required for the day
The wording for the menu and wine list

5. Donna Spencer is a journalist and wants to write an article on obesity for a


newspaper. She has the following questions:
Food Sciences
Scientists are constantly saying that levels of obesity are increasing. What
is the reason for this increase?

6. Using the accounts for Marks and Spencer plc and other information
Accounting &
researched by you, write a report recommending whether or not to invest in
Finance
Marks and Spencer plc.
7. Explore the role of the small business sector in the UK economy and in
Economics
your own country.
8. What is the position of the UK Government on restrictive trade practices
Economics
and how has recent legislation helped to achieve its aims?
9. What are the main causes of the recent credit crisis and what measures
Economics
have governments been adopting to try to solve the problems caused by it?
10. What is the regional problem, and how has government policy attempted
Economics
to alleviate this problem?
11. How successful have international institutions been in promoting and
Economics
achieving free trade?
12. Discuss the relative merits of different exchange rate regimes and explain
Economics
why your own country has chosen the regime it has.
13. Analyse the strategies used by the Apple Corporation to build and sustain
Business Strategy competitive advantage. What are the strategic issues and options currently
facing the organisation?
14. Critically consider the "Method od Doubt" as a means of beginning
Philosophy
philosophy.
15. Outline and analyse the problems confronting Medical Supplies Limited
MBA
and offer recommendations for their resolution.
16. Create an application which gives the user the ability to open and display
Computer Science
an image, and to change the background colour of the form.
17. For this assignment you should construct a model which demonstrates
changes in woodland structure over time with an attention to the understory
Agriculture vegetation cover and factors affecting the rate of increase on the field and
ground layer vegetation in order to take account of those factors in planning
of woodland management.
18. Describe the patterns of distribution of the allophones of /r/, and the
Linguistics allophones of /l/, based on the data provided. What can you say about /r/ in
syllable final position?
19. Meltese and Leponese have identical phonetic inventories, but different
phonological inventories. Give the phonetic inventory the two languages
Linguistics
share, and then the phonological vowel inventory for each language. Indicate
the line of reasoning which led to your answer.
20. Write a literature review of between 1500-2000 words. You can choose
any topic, but are strongly encouraged to review the literature relating to your
thesis topic (if you have decided on one) or another area that you think you
will work on in future.
21. Conduct a brief literature review on a topic of interest related to business,
Business
information systems, social issues, etc.
Language 22. Write a critical evaluation of a topic relevant to the field of English
Teaching Language Teaching in the form of a literature review.
23. The dissertation will require students to identify a significant problem in
the teaching of English in a particular part of the world, to examine some
Language
background issues and carry out appropriate research, including data
Teaching
collection and analysis. The results of the research will inform a well-
founded dissertation of 15,000 20,000 words.
24. Your assignment requires a weekly blog site in the group site on
Business Blackboard. Your blog should not be on the weekly teaching schedule but
your personal experience, learning journey, including both positive and
negative experiences and what actions should be taken to the future as
development.
25. Write not more than 1000 words to describe your research methodology,
i.e., what approach you took to carry out your project. It should give answers
to the following questions:

Business Was your research exploratory, descriptive or explanatory and why?


Was your research qualitative or quantitative in nature and why?
What approach and techniques did you use to carry out your project (e.g.,
action research, case study, survey, data collection methods), and why?

26. Your third writing assignment is to write the Methods section of the class
experiment using APA format. Specifically, this section should include the
Psychology following: Who participated? How were they recruited? How were they
assigned to condition? What did they do? Include the IVs and IVMs, the DVs
and DVMs.
27. The assignment is due on Thursday, May 10, the last day of the
examination period. It should be written in APA style, and it should include
an abstract, an introduction with literature review and hypotheses, a method
Psychology
section describing methods and procedures in detail, a brief consideration of
data analyses, and a discussion section that examines reliability, validity,
reactive effects, ethical issues, etc.
28. Laura, a 19 year old law student, went to the Rotten Row Bus Station to
catch a coach home to Sweet Valley. She had made this journey from time to
time in the past. Above the ticket-office window of the Slowe and Wheezy
Bus Company was a sign which stated that all tickets were issued subject to
conditions displayed inside the coaches. Laura purchased a ticket which
made no reference to any conditions. While boarding the coach the driver
carelessly knocked Lauras very expensive up to the minute mobile phone
from her hand and broke it. One of the terms displayed inside the coach was
Law
as follows:

Passengers travel with goods at their own risk. Neither the company nor its
servants accept any liability for damage or loss to passengers goods. The
companys servants are parties to this contract.

Advise Laura. In your advice state the effects of relevant case law and
statutes.

Answers

Genres in academic writing: Exercises


Questions/Assignment Briefs/Rubric: Answers

Before you start writing, it is important to consider the broad purpose of your writing. The
assignment question or rubric can often help you with this task.

Once you have chosen the primary purpose of your writing, you can narrow that down to the
genre family required. Look at the following questions/briefs/rubrics and try to decide the genre
family of the piece of writing you are expected to do.

Primary Purpose Genre Family


Explanations
Demonstrating Knowledge & Understanding
Exercises
Essays
Developing Powers of Independent Reasoning
Critiques
Literature Surveys
Building Research Skills Methodology Recounts
Research Reports
Case Studies
Design Specifications
Preparing for Professional Practice
Problem Questions
Proposals
Event Recounts
Writing for Oneself and Others
Public Engagement

Genre
Subject
Family
Market Research 1. Explain the purposes of advertising research with reference
Explanation
Methods to an example with which you are familiar.
Market Research
2. Explain how the effectiveness of advertising can be assessed. Explanation
Methods
3. Describe how you would select an appropriate sample to
Market Research assess the impact of television advertising for toys for children
Explanation
Methods aged 5 10 over the Christmas period (late November
December)
4. On the 26th August, Bank holiday Monday, Mr. Lars Hanson
has arranged to host a party to celebrate his 25th wedding
anniversary. The location is at his riverside house with the
Hospitailty,
marquee erected on the lawn next to the river. He requires a
Leisure &
three course luncheon with wine starting at 1pm. The guests Proposal
Tourism
will arrive from 11.30am and will leave around 3.30pm. He has
Management
contacted Peacock Catering and asked for a quote for the day
including the following:
Hot canaps and drinks on arrival
A three course lunch menu including wine list
A selection of drinks including water and wine that will be
available all day
The cutting and distribution of the wedding cake along with
champagne for the speeches
A recommended table plan for the day
A list of all the china, glassware and equipment required for
the day
The wording for the menu and wine list

5. Donna Spencer is a journalist and wants to write an article on


obesity for a newspaper. She has the following questions:
Empathy
Food Sciences
Scientists are constantly saying that levels of obesity are Writing
increasing. What is the reason for this increase?

6. Using the accounts for Marks and Spencer plc and other
Accounting &
information researched by you, write a report recommending Case Study
Finance
whether or not to invest in Marks and Spencer plc.
7. Explore the role of the small business sector in the UK
Economics Essay
economy and in your own country.
8. What is the position of the UK Government on restrictive
Economics trade practices and how has recent legislation helped to achieve Explanation
its aims?
9. What are the main causes of the recent credit crisis and what
Economics measures have governments been adopting to try to solve the Explanation
problems caused by it?
10. What is the regional problem, and how has government
Economics Explanation
policy attempted to alleviate this problem?
11. How successful have international institutions been in
Economics Essay
promoting and achieving free trade?
12. Discuss the relative merits of different exchange rate
Economics regimes and explain why your own country has chosen the Essay
regime it has.
13. Analyse the strategies used by the Apple Corporation to
Business
build and sustain competitive advantage. What are the strategic Case Study
Strategy
issues and options currently facing the organisation?
14. Critically consider the "Method od Doubt" as a means of
Philosophy Essay
beginning philosophy.
15. Outline and analyse the problems confronting Medical
MBA Supplies Limited and offer recommendations for their Case Study
resolution.
16. Create an application which gives the user the ability to
Computer Design
open and display an image, and to change the background
Science Specification
colour of the form.
17. For this assignment you should construct a model which
demonstrates changes in woodland structure over time with an
attention to the understory vegetation cover and factors Design
Agriculture
affecting the rate of increase on the field and ground layer Specification
vegetation in order to take account of those factors in planning
of woodland management.
18. Describe the patterns of distribution of the allophones of /r/,
Linguistics and the allophones of /l/, based on the data provided. What can Exercise
you say about /r/ in syllable final position?
19. Meltese and Leponese have identical phonetic inventories,
but different phonological inventories. Give the phonetic
Linguistics inventory the two languages share, and then the phonological Exercise
vowel inventory for each language. Indicate the line of
reasoning which led to your answer.
20. Write a literature review of between 1500-2000 words. You
can choose any topic, but are strongly encouraged to review the Literature
literature relating to your thesis topic (if you have decided on survey
one) or another area that you think you will work on in future.
21. Conduct a brief literature review on a topic of interest Literature
Business
related to business, information systems, social issues, etc. Survey
Language 22. Write a critical evaluation of a topic relevant to the field of Literature
Teaching English Language Teaching in the form of a literature review. Survey
23. The dissertation will require students to identify a
significant problem in the teaching of English in a particular
Language part of the world, to examine some background issues and carry Research
Teaching out appropriate research, including data collection and analysis. Report
The results of the research will inform a well-founded
dissertation of 15,000 20,000 words.
24. Your assignment requires a weekly blog site in the group
site on Blackboard. Your blog should not be on the weekly
Narrative
Business teaching schedule but your personal experience, learning
recount
journey, including both positive and negative experiences and
what actions should be taken to the future as development.
25. Write not more than 1000 words to describe your research
methodology, i.e., what approach you took to carry out your
project. It should give answers to the following questions:
Methodology
Business
Was your research exploratory, descriptive or explanatory Recount
and why?
Was your research qualitative or quantitative in nature and
why?
What approach and techniques did you use to carry out your
project (e.g., action research, case study, survey, data
collection methods), and why?

26. Your third writing assignment is to write the Methods


section of the class experiment using APA format. Specifically,
this section should include the following: Who participated? Methodology
Psychology
How were they recruited? How were they assigned to Recount
condition? What did they do? Include the IVs and IVMs, the
DVs and DVMs.
27. The assignment is due on Thursday, May 10, the last day of
the examination period. It should be written in APA style, and
it should include an abstract, an introduction with literature
Research
Psychology review and hypotheses, a method section describing methods
Report
and procedures in detail, a brief consideration of data analyses,
and a discussion section that examines reliability, validity,
reactive effects, ethical issues, etc.
28. Laura, a 19 year old law student, went to the Rotten Row
Bus Station to catch a coach home to Sweet Valley. She had
made this journey from time to time in the past. Above the
ticket-office window of the Slowe and Wheezy Bus Company
was a sign which stated that all tickets were issued subject to
conditions displayed inside the coaches. Laura purchased a
ticket which made no reference to any conditions. While
boarding the coach the driver carelessly knocked Lauras very
expensive up to the minute mobile phone from her hand and
Problem
Law broke it. One of the terms displayed inside the coach was as
Question
follows:

Passengers travel with goods at their own risk. Neither the


company nor its servants accept any liability for damage or loss
to passengers goods. The companys servants are parties to
this contract.

Advise Laura. In your advice state the effects of relevant case


law and statutes.