Elc1013 Unit 1

Topics: Hong Kong, English language, Modal verb Pages: 19 (4988 words) Published: April 17, 2013
ELC1013 English for University Studies

Unit 1 – Achieving an Academic Writing Style (IEEE / Vancouver)

Unit 1 Achieving an Academic Writing Style
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this unit, you should be able to: • • use appropriate language to demonstrate academic style in writing express ideas and views in tentative rather than assertive language where appropriate

This unit is divided into three sections providing reference and practice material on various aspects of academic writing style. Section 1 Features of academic writing style Section 2 Improving the style of your writing Section 3 Hedging in academic writing

Referencing note: This unit uses IEEE referencing style for all in-text referencing.

Pre-Unit 1 IndiWork Activities Go to eLearn (http://elearn.elc.polyu.edu.hk/) and complete the Pre-Unit 1 IndiWork Activities.

IndiWork 1 Academic Style Go to eLearn and complete the What is Academic Style? Activity.

Section 1

The features of academic writing style

What do you think are the differences between the essays that you wrote at secondary school and the essays that you will need to write at university? Make sure you think about style* when considering these differences. *Style often refers to level of formality. For example when writing to a friend you would use an informal style.

© English Language Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


ELC1013 English for University Studies

Unit 1 – Achieving an Academic Writing Style (IEEE / Vancouver)

Activity 1


How do the language choices in this first essay draft below create a non-academic / inappropriate style? Read the passage and identify (highlight / circle) the style problems. Note down your ideas at the end of the passage. Be prepared to share your observations with the rest of the class. How often do PolyU students use English outside the classroom? Because many people think PolyU students don’t use English much outside of class, I wanted to find out the answer to this question so I decided to do a survey. I worked out a questionnaire and then handed it out to lots of students from eight 5 departments. The students filled in the questionnaire and then gave it back to me. I did the survey in April 2011. A total of 707 students took part in the survey, which is a really huge sample. In fact, this is the biggest survey of its kind ever done in Hong Kong which is terrific! And when I got the questionnaires back, I looked closely at the data and put it into a number of figures.

Grandparents Parents Domestic helper Social functions Brothers / sisters Situations Private tutors Restaurants / bars PolyU friends Part-time jobs Relatives Non- PolyU friends Overseas holidays 0 0.5 1

1.05 1.32 1.69 1.95 1.95 1.99 2.11 2.12 2.4 2.45 2.55 2.72

1.5 Mean




Figure 1: Speaking in English outside university

10 The first area I’d like to look at is speaking in English. Basically, what I wanted to know was how often students speak English outside the classroom. The questionnaire asked the students to say how often they use English when they talk to friends, parents etc. When they filled in the questionnaire, the students had to circle a number from 1 (never) to 6 (very often). If they circled 15 the numbers 1-3, it means that they don’t use English very much. If they circled the numbers 4-6, it means that they use English fairly often. As you can see, I’ve put all the data about speaking in English in Figure 1. Let’s now talk about the data in Figure 1. First and foremost, it’s crystal clear that students don’t have many opportunities to speak English outside the 20 classroom. You can tell this because all the means are under 3.00. Clearly, PolyU students don’t have any need to speak to parents etc. in English. This is undoubtedly because their family members are Cantonese speakers.

© English Language Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


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