Improving your academic writing: My top 10 tips The topic of academic writing has been popular in the blogosphere and Twittersphere in the past couple of weeks. Yes, I also know that I linked to political science and public policy professors. There are two reasons for this.
Posted on 28 October by Elena Shvidko Thinking back to the beginning of my doctoral studies, I remember having an enormous fear of writing a dissertation. Everything appeared to be intimidating: I remember asking my fellow graduate students who were ahead of me in the process about tips and suggestions for writing a dissertation.
I know that I am not alone in my fear and uncertainty, as I often hear graduate students asking the same questions that I once had. I asked each of them to share their experience in writing a dissertation and provide a piece of advice to current students pursuing their doctoral degrees in the language teaching field.
The suggestions from three of them are below, and the other three will be introduced in my next blog. When working on research, I—like many other graduate students, no doubt—tended to set unrealistically high standards for myself, which meant that I was always a little too ambitious about what I could accomplish in the time I was given.
I feel like I approached my dissertation in a similar manner.
My original goals and scope were rather broad, and my dissertation committee immediately asked me to narrow down what I wanted to research and write about. As I started reading the literature and then collecting and analyzing my own data, I found that several months had passed like a blur and that there was still so much more to get done before the defense date!
Clearly, my professors were right: This was taking me much longer than I had expected. I was thus extremely relieved that I had narrowed my scope because it allowed me to deal with a more manageable data set and gave me more time to actually write up my findings and make all the necessary revisions without pulling all of my hair out.
Was my dissertation perfect?
But I gave it my best and I was proud of my work. And, above all, I was able to graduate on time. Somehow I always knew what to write and how to write it. Continuing my education in the USA, however, proved that my writing skills were not very relevant in the U.
Particularly, I struggled with the organization of a logically coherent argument and sentence structure. Although I had improved my writing by the beginning of the PhD program, I had also developed tremendous anxiety about the very act of writing in English.
When I inquired with one of my PhD teachers, for whom English is also not a native language, I received an unhelpful piece of advice: In this context, writing a dissertation seemed a formidable endeavor.
Yet, somewhere in the process I learned a couple of useful lessons.
First, no matter how much I dislike writing, I had better get it on with and do it. I made it a personal goal to write at least words a day, and I did not allow myself to go to bed until this objective was fully achieved. Second, writing is thinking: If I have something interesting and new to think about, then I have something to write!
I personally have never been able to benefit from free writing or many other techniques normally suggested by writing teachers. Choosing a dissertation topic that inspired my thinking and fueled the passion was the best writing technique for me.Learn English Paragraph Writing Skills (new and improved edition II of Academic writing Skills for Graduate Students) is an academic paragraph writing skills guide for International ESL students.
Students, professors, and researchers in every discipline use academic writing to convey ideas, make arguments, and engage in scholarly conversation. Academic writing is characterized by evidence-based arguments, precise word choice, logical organization, and an impersonal tone.
Though sometimes. Writing Tips for Ph. D. Students John H.
Cochrane1,2 Graduate School of Business University of Chicago S. Woodlawn Chicago IL Many students writing in college have trouble figuring out what constitutes an appropriate topic. Sometimes the professor will provide you with a prompt.
When writing an academic paper, consider some of the following tips, designed to make the process of writing an academic paper go more smoothly: Rely on evidence over feeling. Practical Academic Essay Writing Skills: An International ESL Students Essay Writing Guide was written with non-English speaking ESL students in mind.
Superb academic writing is paramount to success in any undergraduate or graduate program. Here are 10 simple tips to improve your academic writing skills.