Academic Writing Guide 2009

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GENERAL GUIDE for ACADEMIC WRITING and PRESENTATION of WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS Suitable for postgraduate level in the arts, humanities, business, education, the social sciences and built environment Updated version: Autumn 2009 Text by: Dr. Anne Murphy (Tables on pages 23, 24 and 25 by Diana Mitchell)

©

DIT 2009

DIT colleagues are welcome to use any part of this document provided the source is acknowledged. The authors reserve the right to alter or delete any of the text at any time. Disclaimer: This document is for information and guidance only. It does not represent a formal DIT position on the content.

Academic Writing Guide

Dr A. Murphy

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Part 2 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Part 3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Studying and writing at postgraduate level Reading before writing How to find appropriate literature How to make notes and record excerpts Approaches to reading critically Recognising your voice: ontology, epistemology and positionality Collaborative writing Writing tips and traps Technical aids to assist in writing assignments Manuals available on-line PC tools Scanners, text storage and text transfer Text manipulation Reference management tools Data analysis tools (PC and others) Checking for resources on webcourses Styles and types of writing Key characteristics of academic writing Postgraduate standard of writing Types of writing The basics of written presentation i. punctuation ii. numbers iii. the apostrophe iv. foreign words and phrases with popular abbreviations v. footnotes and endnotes Essential writing skills i. summarising ii. paraphrasing iii. structuring cohesion and coherence iv. v. connecting ideas, sentences and paragraphs Developing an argument Drafting, editing and proof-reading Understanding assessment comments Technical documents Personal writing Common knowledge, plagiarism and copyright Page 4

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12

3.5

3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10 3.11

© DIT 2009

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Academic Writing Guide

Dr A. Murphy

Part 4 4.1 4.2 Part 5

Referencing Bibliographies: Harvard and American Psychological Association (APA)Referencing Systems Acknowledging sources, and incorporating citations/quotations into your writing Sample House Style for Presentation of Assignments

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Part 6 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4

Thesis Production at Masters Level (Sample)

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6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 6.10 6.11 6.12

6.13 6.14 Part 7 7.1

Organisation of the MA Thesis List of preliminary pages Chapters/Main body Appendices i. Title and Sample Title Page ii. Sample Declaration iii. Abstract iv. Acknowledgement v. Table of Contents vi. Chapters Introduction Context and Rationale for the Study, Aims and Objectives, Delimitations, Validity and Reliability, Research Ethics Theoretical Perspective or Paradigm Informing the Research Review of the Literature Research Design, Methodology and Method Presentation of Findings Discussion of Findings Conclusions and Recommendations i. References and Bibliography ii. Appendices iii. Presenting data electronically iv. Binding Sample thesis title page Sample thesis declaration Report Style Sample title page for a report Sample Contents page format for a report Sample cover page for a module assignment 37

7.2

Part 8

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Academic Writing Guide

Dr A. Murphy

INTRODUCTION: Studying and Writing at Postgraduate Level
As researchers and writers at postgraduate level it is likely that you have already developed considerable academic writing skills and analytical ability during previous study and perhaps through work-related experience. When you register as a postgraduate student on a course, however, you also identify yourself as a learner. Being a learner gives you permission not to be an expert, to ask naive questions about the course material, to question your own assumptions and the assumptions of others, to explore the familiar from new perspectives. As a postgraduate level learner you can expect to...
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