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Preparing a written paper

Tutorial 5
Types of written assignment
Essay
One of the most commonly assigned forms
of essay is the thesis support essay which
addresses a central issue or question and
supports a thesis
The method or form for this type of essay
generally comprises an introduction, body
and conclusion
cont
Summary
The intention of a summary is to help you to
clarify and understand what you have
read.
It provides a brief description of the
information or the main points contained in
the article or document. It may
cont
Report
It is a very formal document that is written for a
variety of purposes. Generally, findings related
to a specific task is written up in a report form
A report is not a continuous piece of writing like an
essay
Each type of report serves a very specific purpose
and is aimed at a particular audience.
cont
Research paper
A research paper presents the results of
your investigation on a selected topic. It is
based on your own thoughts, and the facts
and ideas that you have gathered from a
variety of sources
Strategies for preparing written
assignments
1 Analyse the topic – write down all the
ideas that come to mind, after that go
through the checklist:
• What do I think about this topic?
• Is there anything related to this topic that I
feel strongly about?
• Has there been any recent discussions on
this topic or related to this topic in any of
the media
cont
• What are the words that I can think of that
are related to this topic?
• Jot down whatever words or ideas that
come to your mind. You can chose to
retain or delete them later
• A good tool for analysing a topic is Edward
de Bono’s CoRT1 Critical thinking tool
Edward de bono’s CoRT 1
• PMI – plus, minus, interesting What are
the pluses and minuses of the issue?
What are the advantages and
disadvantages?
• Eg assume that you are planning to buy a
car. Ask yourself what are the advantages
and disadvantages of buying a car
cont
• CAF – consider all factors. Look at all the
factors involved in the topic concerned.
• In the case of the car, you might look at
factors such as cost, road tax, insurance
and petrol consumption etc
cont
• C&S – consequence and sequel. Focus
on the consequences and what will
happen next
• Ask yourself what are the consequences
of buying a car and not buying it?
cont
• AGO – aims, goals and objectives. Focus
on the purpose. Think about the long,
medium and short term goals
• Are you buying a car to take you from
point A to point B? Is it a status symbol?
cont
• FIP – first important priority. What are the
priority involved.
• Your funds are limited. Should you use the
money to buy a car or pay for your child’s
education?
cont
• APC – alternatives, possibilities, choices.
Focus on the alternatives. Do you need
the car? Can you cycle, walk, make use of
public transport etc?
cont
• OPV – other people’s view. Think of how
other people will be involved or affected by
your decision.
• Would your child benefit by being able to
get a lift to school?
Cont

• It would be useful to get into the habit of


applying some of the critical thinking skills
at the preparation stage of your writing.
WHY??
• It will help to clear and organise your
thoughts better.
When analysing your topic, it would be
useful to ask yourself the following
questions.
• What kind of assignment do I have to
complete? Is it a 10 page paper or a 10
minutes oral presentation?
• How information do I need?
• I s currency important?
• What types of publication do I want to
read?
• Is the point of view an issue? Do I need
opinions?
• How much time do you have?
2 Search for information
• You may want to visit the library to look for
materials. Or you may have a computer
and are connected to the internet, you can
search the various online resources to see
what information is available.
• Don’t forget to check for copyrights??
3 Evaluate and select the information
• Examine all the info you have and
evaluate them to find out how up to date
they are? Are they reliable?
• Discard info you don’t want to keep and
retain those that you need
4 Planning the outline
• Before starting to write your assignment, it
would be wise to create an outline first
• An outline is an organised list of all the
info or ideas you managed to gather on
the topic
• Your outline will depend on the type of
written assignment you are required to
prepare.
• If it is an essay, you may organise the points
under introduction, body and conclusion
• If it is a report or research paper, try to sort the
main categories or headings under which you
arrange your ideas
• If your are working on a summary, you need to
jot down the main ideas of the text you are
summarizing. A summary also requires an
introductory and a concluding statement
5 Preparing a draft
• The introduction basically tells your
readers what you are going to write about
and why.
• The 2 most important aspects of the
introduction are the hook and thesis
statement
Hooks you can use in your writing
• Question hook - posing a question that
will get the readers to think about it
• Quotation hook – quotes from experts can
give emphasis to your discussion
• Funnel hook – moving from general to the
specific
• Refutation hook – providing a summary of
opposing views first
• Dramatic hook – describing a scene or
telling a story
• The other important aspect is the thesis
statement. It conveys the writer’s opinion
on the topic
• Thesis statement must highlight the main
points of the paper
6 Revising the draft
• Revise the draft as many times as you
need to improve on it.
• Check the sentences to ensure that it is
not fragmented
• Check for grammar and spelling
• Make use of appropriate transitional words
such as therefore, consequently, however
etc
• Citing sources
• After you have completed your
assignment, it is very important for you to
cite all your sources of info
• Some popular citation methods are The
Chicago Manual of Style, American
Psychological Association citation style
and Modern language association citation
style
• At WOU you will use the Chicago
Manual of Style for all your written
papers

There are 2 elements in this style


4. In-text usage
5. Reference section
1 In-text usage It tell your readers where
you obtained your info within the text of
your written paper. Thus you don’t need to
insert footnotes at the bottom of the page.
You write the author’s last name and the
year in the sentence of your paragraph.
Eg According to Hunt (2002), a literature
program should have 6 objectives
• The sentence contains the author’s
surname (Hunt) and the year (2002) the
info was published. A reader who wants
more info regarding Hunt and the book
can turn to the end of the paper and locate
the author’s name in the reference list
• For more info refer to the course guide pg
28-35
Steps for preparing an oral
Presentation
•Analyse your audience
•Know your objectives
•Research your topic
•Organise your oral presentation
Pg 39-43
Making an oral presentation
• Preparation
• Practice
• Style of speaking
• Non verbal language
• Taking questions
• Controlling nervousness
• Visual aids
• Pg 45-52