criticalreading and writing

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1Dr Marco Angelini,UCL Transition ProgrammeWith thanks to Dr Colleen McKenna for kindpermission in reproducing her material in thispresentationApproaches to criticalreading and writingOutline for today Introduction Considering your writing practices Reading as part of writing Writing as part of thinking Planning Organising written work Looking at text Finding time to write2What type of writer areyou?4The diver35The patchworker6The architect47The grand planner8Identifying your writingstyle5Previous writingexperiences …Reading as part of writing6Critical reading (and howit benefits your writing) Helps you determine what is andwhat is not a robust piece ofresearch and writing in your field Helps you identify where existingresearch has left a gap that yourwork could fill Attention you pay to writing of othershelps you become more self-awareof your own written work:– Sufficient evidence to back up claims;argumentation/reasoning; becomingalert to your assumptions and how theyaffect your claims Wallace and Wray, 2006Critical reading?How do you go aboutreading an academic textin your field?7Critical reading? Somepossible approachesHow do you go about reading anacademic text? Use parts of the text: abstract,contents, index, sub-headings,graphs, tables, introduction andconclusion Skim to get the gist of the argument Read with questions in mindCritical reading? Somepossible approaches Make notes/mind map/ usehighlighter Write a summary in your own words Write a brief critical response Keep note of bibliographic details8Critical reading/ critical writingHandout – p. 12-13 Wallace and Wray As a critical reader, one evaluatesthe attempts of others tocommunicate with and convincetheir target audience by means ofdeveloping an argument; As a writer, one develops one’s ownargument, making it as strong andas clear as possible, so as tocommunicate with and convinceone’s target audience.– Wallace and Wray, 20069Free writing Way of using writing as a tool forthinking Allows you to write withoutconstraints.To do it –Write continuously, in completesentences, anything that occurs toyou.Free writingPlease write down EITHER1. An idea / theme from your fieldOR2. Use the topic:‘what I enjoy about writing…’Use a free writing technique to writeanything at all that occurs to youabout this topic.This writing will not be shown toanyone else.10Planning (Sharples) Plans should be flexible Through the writing process a deeperunderstanding of topic is gained – thus,planning is increasingly out of step aswriting develops:– “The act of writing brings into being ideasand intentions that the writer never had atthe start of the task or that could not beexpressed in any detail.”.Plans Free writing Notes/sketches Idea lists– Ideas on post-it notes Mind map Skeleton paper withsub-headings Outline Draft text Adapted fromSharples, 199911 What techniques do you use todevelop ideas in your writingand/or signpost an argument?12Developing/sustainingargument ‘proving’ the thesis statement orcontrolling argument Signposting argument (Giving thereader cues; anticipating/referringback) Using words which signal transition ordevelopment – “However”,“Nevertheless”, “Thus”, “Therefore”,“Despite” Illustrating theoretical positions withconcrete examples Generalising from a particular set offindings if possible Using subheadings Using/responding to counterargumentsand examples Anticipate next paragraph at end ofprevious oneSignposting and makingtransitions Links between paragraphs – pick up pointfrom the end of a paragraph at the start of nextone.

Conjunctions to express different kinds ofmeaning relations
– Temporal: when, while, after, before, then– Causative: because, if, although, so that,therefore– Adversative: however, alternatively, although,nevertheless, while– Additive: and, or, similarly, incidentally Signposting through pronouns – this, these,those, that, they, it, them Adverbs: Firstly, secondly, etc Illustrative: For example, in illustration, that isto say,13Signalling conclusionsCitationExamples of Citing• The hip bone is confirmed to be connected tothe thigh bone (Funny Bones, 1989).• The cytoskeletal network acts like the strongbars within a scaffolding (Alberts et al., 1998)• Slavic-Smith (2006) postulated threeclassifications for nucleoli in neurons• It was shown in 2006 by Take That, that asuccessful comeback tour was possible [1].14Bibliographies Alberts, Bray, Johnson, Lewis,Raff, Roberts & Walter. EssentialCell Biology, 1st Edition, Garland,1998 Dickson, B (2002) MolecularMechanisms of Axon Guidance.Science 298 1959-1964 [1] tips Write a sentence for each paragraph you wantto write – you can then move them about easilyto form thread of argument Index tag the main points you want to use inyour references, so they can be found easilywhile writing Write the introduction last Write the conclusion first Read what you have written aloud to see if itsounds right Find best environment for you – when andwhere do you work best Take a break before trying to do your final check Use a writing checklist15Making time for writing Write throughout the course Do free writing as frequently aspossible Snack and binge writing (RowenaMurray) Writing groups Don’t wait until you feel ‘ready’ towrite…Writing for learning Read regularly in the field. Find writerswhose work you admire and study whatand how they do things. View writing as part of a process ratherthan a product Find models of good writing in yourdiscipline – analyse it; ask what worksand what doesn’t; consider writingstyle; vocabulary; techniques –metaphor; explanation; signposting Reflect on your own writing practices Keep a notebook or learning journal Explore free writing16To sum up…1. Asked ‘what type of writer areyou’? What are your writingpractices?2. What are your approaches toreading? How might you linkreading and writing?3. Free writing as a means ofgenerating ideas4. Thought about structure of theessay at the paragraph level andthe overall level5. Tried to relate these ideas backto the outline.ReferenceAcademic Writing SkillsPresentation – UCL…/Academic_Writing_Skills_11.pptx

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