Essay Skill(中英)

Topics: Critical thinking, Logic, Argumentative Pages: 8 (1624 words) Published: December 10, 2012
前段时间发了一个关于英语写作的帖子,但还没有针对到academic essay的写作,在这里补充一下,部分内容来自我上课的笔记,部分内容是我自己的总结,所以著作权的问题就请大家不要追究了,呵呵。主要还是针对社科类的写作,学理工的同学可以自己衡量一下适用的程度。

1. Overview A good essay offers: An introduction which provides for a brief overview in a good topic sentence and a little contextualization, then a comment on the structure of the current debate.

A short reference to each part of the essay. The work should NOT be de ive of these, rather it should be indicative of the coming debate/discussion and its framing.

An examination of the niche – the small area into which your debate fits in academic terms.

我们在写作的时候要对自己阐述的内容的背景有了解,并要能够把这个背景简要地概括出来,再在其中提炼出自己的观点,不能泛泛而谈。拿到一个题目的时候想法可能会有很多,要能够取舍,把你最了解的观点说好说透彻了,比把所有观点都涉及到更有用。Discussion是必要的,但尽量少用,看文章的人最重视的还是analysis和argument。就算我们能把各大家的观点都融会贯通,旁征博引,缺少了自己的critical thinking也不会拿到高分的。

回应板油提到的不查资料就没法写essay的苦恼,在阅读资料的时候就应该带着批判的观点,对于那些重要的理论和著作,不必死记,但起码要知道什么人在什么问题上有什么重要的观点,这个重要的观点对该学科领域的影响有多大。有谁的观点是你特别赞同的?这些你特别赞同的观点也许就是你最容易记住的,也是能在考试中给你最多的帮助的。我们在阅读的时候,不妨适当的作一些笔记,最好就是把你的电脑打开,看到你觉得特别赞同的观点时,把它输入文档,后面标明作者、书名、年份和页数,考试前把你整理的这些观点重温一遍,会很有用。就算是平时的写作,这样的一份笔记也能节省你大量的时间。在一个学期内看过的书,可能看完都还给图书馆了,这样在期末写essay的时候,还是感觉自己缺乏材料的支持。但是手里有一份这样的笔记,你就能从容地引用名家观点了。

It is clear that different academic views subject differently because there are different bases for different academic views. Try to accommodate the opposite of what you argue and discount it. This shows that you have an open mind yet still are able to maintain specific arguments.

不同的学术观点有不同的社会现实基础,但是我们对西方社会的了解也许并不透彻。大胆引用发生在中国的例子吧,这些是我们最熟悉的,同时对西方人而言,也是非常critical的。Context是社会科学研究经常提到的一个词,我们生长的环境就是我们研究的context。把自己熟悉的东西分析好了,比去分析自己陌生但是别人熟悉的东西更容易拿到高分。

Don’t quote too much. Integrate the views you quote into the text and then argue and analyse what you think they indicate. 引用的前提是自己确实知道引用的内容在说什么,而且引用的内容确实能支持自己的观点,或从反面支持自己的观点。

You must detect the underlying meanings and suggestions in the texts you have used and speak about them effectively. For example, what is the academic/ethnocentric background of the author? Does this affect the work? 说一句大家可能觉得有些土的话:经济基础决定上层建筑。要了解某个材料文字后面的含义,了解它形成的背景是至关重要的。背景不仅决定了一个观点在一定范围内的正确性,也决定了它的局限性。

2. question analysis

拿到一个问题,不管是考试题目还是essay topic,要做的第一件事都是分析这个问题本身: 关键词是什么?关键的定义是什么?问题包含了几个方面?问题暗示了关于哪个方面的辩论或讨论?在这里要特别指出一点,有的时候考试题目里会出现这样的要求:就某个问题,请你discuss。大家千万不要被骗了,不是真的要你discuss,所有的学术文章,要求的都是argue!而且是strongly argue!在读懂了题目之后,就要发展自己的文章。对于现在的辩论,你支持哪一方?为什么?除了你还有谁支持?在你下笔写文章之前,最好确保自己有足够的evidence,不然等写了一半了才发现支持不够,为时已晚。

3. Introduction

不用我说大家都知道,introduction, main text和conclusion是一篇essay的必要组成部分。

这其中哪部分最重要?introduction, believe it or not。

首先我们要记住一点:the introduction is not introducing the subject, but introducing the essay itself. The purpose of the essay is not necessarily to prove the conclusion, but to prove that you are skillful enough to prove the conclusion. 我们在用中文写作的时候可能比较习惯用开头来介绍背景了,但这里强调的就是我们应该介绍自己的文章本身。

Introduction可以分为几个部分:topic sentence, topic context, current debate, content of essay, target – set out conclusion of essay. 先说你的文章要说什么,观点的背景是怎样的,简要地介绍一下在学术领域已有关于这个问题的辩论。然后谈一下自己打算从几个方面来说,最后记得要概括自己的观点。

Topic sentence

Set out a clear statement or position (or possibly a question) which involves knowledge that could be considered ‘common’, ‘shared’, ‘established’ or ‘known’ by both reader and writer (whether accepted or not) and which does not involve prior knowledge of your argument.

Topic context

Set out a context for the above – the historical context or fundamental aspects which should be understood before analysis begins.

Current debate around topic – the most important part of your introduction Link the context section to current thought in the field. What is the current academic debate?

Purpose/Thesis statement/Outline of content Set up the purpose of the essay by defining what you will do with the topic in relation to your knowledge of the subject. You must consider the application of academic thought and/or argument, and how this fits in with...
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