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How to Write a Good Introduction Section

A strong narrative is as integral a part of science writing as it is for any other form of communication..

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First impressions are important. Scientists need to make their work stand out among a sea of others. However, many mistakenly believe that first impressions are formed based only on titles and abstracts. In actuality, the introduction section is critical to making a real impression on the audience. The introduction is where authors outline their research topic and describe their study. It is where they provide background information and showcase their writing and argumentation styles. For these reasons, the introduction engages the audience in a deeper way than the formalities and rigidities of the title and abstract can afford. To use a fishing analogy: if the title and the abstract serve as the hook and the bait, then the introduction is the process of actually reeling the fish into the boat.

Good Introductions Are Important Guides

In contrast to the constraints placed on the title and abstract, the introduction is the first real opportunity for the scientist to engage with their audience and showcase and convey their passions and motivations for the study in question. This opportunity is somewhat of a double-edged sword. Study authors inevitably have a treasure trove of knowledge and expertise when it comes to their projects and their fields. However, they must remember that the audience does not necessarily have this background information—and that they are only engaging with their audience for a finite amount of time. Despite the urge to excitedly write about all of the different aspects and intricacies of the project, it is very important that authors keep their introductions simple and well organized. 

Therefore, the introduction should move from broad scopes to narrow focuses as the audience reads further. The author should direct the reader along this journey, focusing on topics with direct relevance to what was investigated in the study. A broad fact introduced early on should be linked or paired with a more specific fact along the same lines of thought, eventually culminating in how this information led to the motivation behind the study itself. It is vital to not go off on tangents or talk about things that are too esoteric. A confused audience is an audience that tends not to read further.

Applying Common Principles Across Well-Known and Niche Subjects

Writers can apply these principles in more specialized manuscripts focusing on a single entity rather than a well-known pathology. Consider the following example from a manuscript by cell biologist Luis R. Cruz-Vera’s research team from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. 1

Here, they divide the opening paragraph of their introduction into four distinct sections. First, they explain what ribosome arresting peptides (RAPs) are and what they do.

Ribosome arresting peptides (RAPs) are nascent polypeptides that act in cis on the translating ribosome to control the expression of genes by inducing ribosome arrest during translation elongation or termination. RAPs commonly sense external forces or low molecular weight compounds in the environment that spatially and temporally contribute to the expression of genes. 

Then they introduce the two different types of RAPs.

RAPs such as SecM that sense external forces on the ribosome are typically large, because these nascent peptides have a domain that functions outside of the ribosome. In contrast, those that sense small molecules inside of the ribosome, such as TnaC are smaller. 

They describe how each type works via a different mechanism.

Typically, larger RAPs interact with cellular factors that can control their capacity for arresting ribosomes. Because of their size and proximity to ribosomal components, large RAPs clearly show two structural domains, a sensor domain and an arresting domain. At the moment of the arrest for the large RAPs, the sensor domain is located outside the ribosome exit tunnel, whereas the arresting domain remains inside the tunnel. The short RAPs currently characterized interact with the compounds that they sense by using the ribosome exit tunnel as a binding surface. For these short RAPs, it has been determined that conserved amino acid residues are necessary to induce arrest by either directly binding the effector molecule or by acting at the peptidyl-transferase center (PTC) during ribosome arrest. 

And finally, they conclude by highlighting a knowledge gap in how small RAPs operate versus what is already known about large RAPs.

However, because the size of short RAPs ranges from only a few to a couple of dozen amino acids, as in the case of TnaC, it has remained unclear whether short RAPs are constituted by the two independent sensor and stalling domains, as it has been observed with larger RAPs.

In this way, the authors make a natural progression from “why this topic is important” to “what is known about this topic,” setting the stage for “what is unknown about this topic and why it should be studied.” 

Gradually Moving from Broad to Narrow

A three-step funnel explaining how the introduction guides the reader from summary to specific. The first phase should lay out the question that needs to be answered. The second phase should delve deeper into that question, and the final phase should tie what is already known with what is explored in this study.

These principles can be further transferred towards the introductory section as a whole. The first paragraph should serve as an introduction to the field and the topic. The middle paragraph(s) provide exposition and detail regarding what is known and unknown, and what has already been done and still remains to do, and the final paragraph outlines the study and its principle findings, providing a transition into either the materials and methods or the results section. 

For example, this work by radiation oncologist Eric Deutsch’s group at Université Paris-Saclay, published in PLoS One , 2 opens by succinctly explaining a scientific problem: “ the threat of extensive dispersion of radioactive isotopes within populated areas that would have an unfortunate effect on human health has increased drastically .” It then offers the call to action necessitated by this problem: “ the development of a decorporating agent capable of effectively mitigating the effects of a wide range of isotopes is critical .”

In the next two paragraphs, the study authors provide information on how and why dispersion of radioactive isotopes are a problem—“ the FDA has approved only three compounds (only one of which is used as a preventative therapy) for the treatment of exposure to specific radioactive elements ”—and highlights the strengths and weaknesses of what is currently available. They then introduce the focal point of their own work, chitosan@DOTAGA, within this context, explaining its potential as a solution to the problem they previously introduced: “ After oral administration to rodents over several days, no signs of acute or chronic toxicity were observed, and DOTAGA did not enter the blood stream and was fully eliminated from the gastrointestinal tract within 24 hours of administration. ”

Finally, the introduction concludes by listing the study objective—“ explore the potential of this polymer for use in the decorporation of a wide range of radioactive isotopes ”—and the motivations and rationale behind the study objective—“ there are no suitable countermeasures available for uranium poisoning. […] This innovative approach aims to directly chelate the radioactive cations, specifically uranium, within the gastrointestinal tract prior to their systemic absorption, which ensures their prompt elimination and mitigation of the associated toxicities. ”

The Introduction Engages with the Reader

The introduction section is often overlooked in favor of the title and the abstract, but it serves two important functions. First, it gives the audience all of the information that it needs to contextualize the yet-to-be-presented data within the context of the problem that needs to be solved or the scientific question that needs to be addressed. Second, and more importantly, it justifies the importance of the study, of its initiative, rationale, and purpose. The introduction is the author’s best—and arguably only real—opportunity to convince the audience that their study is worth reading.  

Looking for more information on scientific writing? Check out  The Scientist’s   TS SciComm  section. Looking for some help putting together a manuscript, a figure, a poster, or anything else?    The Scientist’s   Scientific Services  may have the professional help that you need.

  • Judd HNG, et al. Functional domains of a ribosome arresting peptide are affected by surrounding nonconserved residues . J Biol Chem . 2024;300(3):105780.
  • Durand A, et al. Enhancing radioprotection: A chitosan-based chelating polymer is a versatile radioprotective agent for prophylactic and therapeutic interventions against radionuclide contamination . PLoS One . 2024;19(4):e0292414.

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The Fundamentals of Academic Science Writing

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92 Introduction to Writing to Inquire

by Liza Long

Inquiry—asking a question—is the heart of academic research. From first-year research papers to doctoral dissertations, we start our research by asking a question. Academic research writing is the process of developing a research question and using high-quality evidence to answer the question. This skill is used in every area of academic life from general education courses to research projects within your major field of study. Inquiry is essential to the goals of scholars and writers because it helps us to better understand problems that affect us and our societies and to contribute to the body of knowledge in the world. This chapter will introduce you to using research for academic inquiry.

Key Characteristics

Writing for inquiry, also known as academic research writing, generally includes the following:

  • Research Question:  From projects written in first-year composition courses to doctoral dissertations, academic research projects seek to answer a research question. This question is focused. It’s a question that can be answered through research. And it has some kind of significance to both the author and the readers.
  • Evidence: Academic research projects rely almost exclusively on evidence in order to answer the research question.   “Evidence” may include both primary sources like interviews, field research, experiments, or primary texts and secondary sources such as scholarly journal articles or other high-quality sources.
  • Citation:  Academic research projects use a detailed citation process in order to demonstrate to their readers where the evidence came from.  Unlike most types of “non-academic” research writing, academic research writers provide their readers with a great deal of detail about where they found the evidence they are using. This processes is called citation, or “citing” of evidence.  It can sometimes seem intimidating and confusing to writers new to the process of academic research writing, but citation is really just explaining to your reader where your evidence came from. Citation styles are specific to academic disciplines. Common citation styles in college writing courses include MLA, APA, and Chicago .
  • Objective point of view
  • Awareness of and critique of bias that seeps in–for more information on this aspect, see the Addressing Bias and Stakeholder Concerns chapter for more information

Assignment Types within this Chapter

  • Annotated bibliography
  • Exploratory research essay
  • Literature Review

Academic Research Writing:  What IT’S NOT

  • While poets, playwrights, and novelists frequently do research and base their writings on that research, what they produce doesn’t constitute academic research writing.  For example, the Broadway musical Hamilton incorporated facts about Alexander Hamilton’s life and work to tell a touching, entertaining, and inspiring story, but it was nonetheless a work of fiction since the writers, director, and actors clearly took liberties with the facts in order to tell their story.  If you were writing a research project for a history class that focuses on Alexander Hamilton, you would not want to use the musical Hamilton   as evidence about how the Founding Father created his economic plan.
  • Essay exams are usually not a form of research writing.  When an instructor gives an essay exam, she usually is asking students to write about what they learned from the class readings, discussions, and lecturers.  While writing essay exams demand an understanding of the material, this isn’t research writing because instructors aren’t expecting students to do additional research on the topic.
  • All sorts of other kinds of writing we read and write all the time—letters, emails, journal entries, instructions, etc.—are not research writing. Some writers include research in these and other forms of personal writing, and practicing some of these types of writing—particularly when you are trying to come up with an idea to write and research about in the first place—can be helpful in thinking through a research project.  But when we set about to write a research project, most of us don’t have these sorts of personal writing genres in mind.

So, what is “research writing”?

Write What Matters Copyright © 2020 by Liza Long is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Drafting an effective introduction

Generally, most introductions in academic writing aim to invite readers into a discussion by presenting the necessary context. Additionally, introductions serve to frame the larger conversation/topic of the paper for the reader and to present a “road map” of important points. The strength of an introduction can determine whether your target audience will want to continue reading or if they will set your paper aside in favor of more engaging material and analysis.

Tips for drafting an effective introduction

Engage and orient your audience to welcome them to the paper.

A key function of any introduction is to present your argument in such a way that your audience can enter the conversation and properly engage with your paper. Key questions to think about as you write your introduction with this in mind may include:

  • Why would people want to read my paper in particular?
  • How does my paper relate to my audience and what could it mean to them in their daily lives?

Provide key information and context to your audience

A key function of an introduction is to provide context, details, and facts that your audience will need to enter the argument or analysis. Providing key context and details within your introduction helps to limit the scope of your essay to the specific target of your analysis.

For example, a paper that discusses why standardized testing should be removed from secondary education could provide details explaining why standardized testing was implemented, describing the particular standardized test(s) is being discussed, and limiting the discussion to high school testing.

Use your introduction to focus your essay around a specific research goal or question

Within your introduction, it is appropriate to focus your research and analysis around a particular aspect of your topic or a research question. When drafting your introduction at an early point in your writing process, it may be helpful to have a tentative focus that you can come back to as you write the paper since your goals may change as you write.

For example, the essay dealing with standardized testing could go several different directions: Is your paper focusing on how standardized testing can be made effective, or is it discussing how to remove standardized testing completely? Is your goal to propose an alternative to standardized testing?

What not to do when drafting an introduction

Given that introductions are such a crucial part of any academic paper, it is important to consider things to avoid when drafting an introduction. Common things to think about include ineffective opening strategies, questions of focus, and incorporating “fluff” or empty hooks in your introduction.

Avoid the long-distance opening

A common mistake that writers may make in academic writing is beginning with the broadest context possible relative to their paper.

For the example paper dealing with standardized testing, an ineffective opening may begin with the historical beginnings of the educational system as a whole. Though this aspect may be related, it is too far removed from the topic being discussed/analyzed to provide constructive context within the paper.

Be cautious with the funnel opening

Though many effective introductions utilize the “funnel” opening where the introduction establishes a larger (global) context and moves to the specific thesis or research question. A broader topic allows for explanation and exploration; however, remember to keep your focus on the specifics of your thesis/research question within the topic.

Instead of starting with a discussion of school testing in general, presenting the broader context of standardized testing first and moving to standardized testing in high schools and why it should be removed or changed may be more effective.

Avoid the “book-report” opening

Though a key function of an introduction is to provide the necessary context for your audience to engage with your paper, avoid providing only context within your introduction without indicating where your analysis is going or where it will end up. Your audience will be less likely to engage with your paper if they feel that it is only providing information and background without taking a definitive stance on the issue.

With the example paper about standardized testing, a book report opening would simply discuss facts about standardized testing such as when it was introduced in education, who introduced it and why the test was created.

Avoid the “dictionary” or “accepted knowledge” hooks

A common mistake that many student writers make when drafting an introduction is providing a dictionary definition as a means to engage their reader. This strategy often misfires because the dictionary definition or a statement of fact is not very nuanced and does not lend itself to discussion or analysis as readily as a structured and research opinion or research question.

If you need to define a key term in your paper for your audience to understand your topic, it helps to paraphrase the term in your own words instead of simply repeating the dictionary definition of that term. Unlike the dictionary definition, a paraphrase can help provide nuance that engages your audience.

For instance, “decision error” in rating standardized tests may be crucial to discussing your topic, so defining it relative to your thesis/research question can strengthen your introduction. Since many readers will not know every detail of the subject being analyzed, introductions help to engage the reader and provide them with an entry point into the research and analysis of a paper. An effective introduction goes beyond the facts while engaging your audience and promoting interest in your topic.

Contributor: Aaron Smale

academic research and writing a concise introduction

PhD Tips: Writing a Dissertation That Stands Out

Introduction

Embarking on the journey of writing a PhD dissertation is akin to preparing for a marathon; it's daunting, requires meticulous planning, and demands profound insight into your chosen topic. For many doctoral candidates, the dissertation represents the pinnacle of academic pursuit—a document that not only contributes original knowledge to the field but also showcases the researcher’s depth of understanding and commitment to their discipline. However, the path to crafting a dissertation that stands out is fraught with challenges, ranging from topic selection to sustaining motivation over the long haul. This article dives deep into strategic approaches to ensure your dissertation not only meets but exceeds academic standards, providing a solid foundation for your future career in academia or industry.

8 Reasons

Finding Your Niche: Topic Selection for Maximum Impact

Understanding the landscape of your field.

The first step in writing a dissertation that resonates with both academic peers and industry professionals is selecting the right topic. It requires a thorough understanding of the existing research within your field and identifying gaps that offer opportunities for significant contributions. Start by reviewing recent publications, attending seminars, and engaging with leading researchers to gain a comprehensive overview of current trends and unresolved questions. Dive into academic journals, attend industry conferences, and participate in scholarly discussions to ensure your topic not only adds new insights but is also aligned with current research trajectories. For a deeper dive into effective topic selection, check out our podcast, "Finding Your Focus: Mastering Thesis Topic Selection & Crafting Your Research Question" for expert tips and strategies.

Aligning Interests with Scholarly Needs

Your dissertation topic should not only interest you but should also add value to your field. Consider how your research can solve a specific problem or advance understanding in a particular area. This alignment of personal passion and academic relevance will not only make the writing process more enjoyable but also increase the impact of your work, ensuring it garners attention and recognition. Assess the practical implications of your research and consider how it could influence current practices or policy within your discipline.

Research Strategies: Building a Strong Foundation

Developing a robust methodology.

Once your topic is finalized, the focus shifts to crafting a research methodology that is both rigorous and reproducible. Whether qualitative, quantitative, or a mix of both, your methodology should clearly articulate how you will collect and analyze data, ensuring transparency and robustness in your research findings. Define your methods clearly and justify your choices based on the nature of your research question, demonstrating how they align with overall research objectives.

Utilizing Advanced Tools and Technologies

Leverage the latest tools and technologies to enhance the efficiency and precision of your research. From data analysis software to digital libraries and online collaboration platforms, make sure you are equipped with the best resources to facilitate your research process. Familiarize yourself with cutting-edge methodologies and consider integrating them into your research to push the boundaries of your field.

Writing Techniques: Communicating Your Insights Effectively

Structuring your argument.

The backbone of a standout dissertation is a clear, logical, and compelling argument. Structure your dissertation in a way that each chapter builds upon the last, leading smoothly to a well-supported conclusion. Use clear headings and subheadings to guide the reader through your narrative, and make sure each section solidly supports your thesis statement. Ensure each chapter transitions smoothly into the next, with each piece of evidence and analysis contributing directly to your overarching thesis.

Engaging Writing Style

While academic writing demands formality and precision, incorporating an engaging and accessible writing style can make your dissertation more readable and impactful. Use active voice, concise language, and vary your sentence structure to maintain reader interest throughout your document. Avoid jargon where possible, and explain complex concepts clearly and succinctly, making your work accessible to a broader audience, including those outside your immediate field.

Sustaining Motivation and Managing Stress

Setting achievable goals.

Writing a dissertation can be overwhelming due to its sheer size and the commitment it demands. Break down the process into manageable parts by setting clear, achievable goals for each phase of your work. Use tools like Gantt charts or project management software to keep track of your progress and deadlines. Regularly revising these goals based on your progress can help maintain a steady pace and prevent burnout.

Maintaining Work-Life Balance

It’s essential to maintain a healthy work-life balance while working on your dissertation to ensure you stay motivated and productive. Schedule regular breaks, pursue hobbies and interests outside of your academic work, and maintain a strong support network of friends and family to keep stress at bay. Remember, taking care of your mental and physical health is crucial for sustaining long-term productivity in your academic pursuits. For more insights on managing your work-life balance, visit our blog, "Mastering the Juggle: Tips for Balancing Work, Life, and Doctoral Studies for Success." Additionally, here's a related YouTube video on Level up your Dissertation Turning Writing into a Fun Game. It could provide you a multi-faceted understanding of the topic.

Writing a PhD dissertation that stands out requires more than just comprehensive research; it demands strategic planning, innovative thinking, and clear communication. By selecting a meaningful topic, employing robust research methodologies, articulating your insights effectively, and managing the process efficiently, you can create a dissertation that not only meets the academic standards but also sets the stage for future professional success. Remember, this is not just an academic requirement but a unique opportunity to contribute to your field and establish your academic footprint.

We specialize in helping PhD and doctoral candidates reach their next academic milestones in six months or less. Join us today, and let's make your academic goals a reality. Click here to get started!

Kordel

Academic research and writing

A concise introduction

Chapter 7 – Primer

The structural elements to be applied in academic writing depend on the nature of the research project. Manifestations of academic writing range from student assignments and term papers to doctoral theses and other forms of complex research documentations. Some structural elements are always used in research papers. Other structural elements are optionally or selectively used. Technically, research papers can be divided into four sections: addments, directories, main body and annex. Each of these sections contains different structural elements that have to be applied in accordance with the formal instructions laid out in academic style guides. Although the applicable rules may vary according to the field of research, some commonalities for structural elements exist. These commonalities may be based on logical considerations or result from traditional academic conventions. Important elements to be discussed in this chapter are cover page, abstract, outline, directories, main body, bibliography and list of references, glossary and appendix, declaration of originality as well as data carrier and electronic storage media.

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Library Home

Informed Arguments: A Guide to Writing and Research - Revised Second Edition

(10 reviews)

academic research and writing a concise introduction

Terri Pantuso, Texas A&M University

Sarah LeMire, Texas A&M University

Kathy Anders, Texas A&M University

Copyright Year: 2019

Last Update: 2022

Publisher: Texas A&M University

Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of use.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Learn more about reviews.

Reviewed by Yongkang Wei, Professor, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on 12/21/22

This would be a useful source for teaching first-year writing courses, as it covers all the subjects that are supposed to be dealt with, esp. if the focus of teaching is placed on argumentation. I have been actively looking for a textbook that... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

This would be a useful source for teaching first-year writing courses, as it covers all the subjects that are supposed to be dealt with, esp. if the focus of teaching is placed on argumentation. I have been actively looking for a textbook that puts emphasis on a rhetorical approach to writing. And this one would come in handy for its rather comprehensive coverage of the approach. It features a chapter on "rhetorical situation" that includes a section called "rhetorical analysis," a topic not commonly, or extensively, discussed in similar types of textbooks.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

I'm not aware of anything that is not accurate, error-free or unbiased.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

While I cannot speak for other instructors, the content of this Open Education Resource textbook would be a good match for what I will teach using a non-OER (i.e., paid) textbook. For example, my syllabus covers the topic of rhetorical analysis, which is conveniently found in the third chapter of the book. My syllabus also covers the three models of argumentation: Classical, Rogerian, and Toulmin, which are all discussed and presented in full length by the authors/editors. Nowadays, going rhetorical is the trend, so I anticipate this OER book will enjoy a long period of relevancy and currency as course material for those teaching first-year writing courses. Plus, its online formation can make a quick update.

Clarity rating: 5

The text is written in a way suitable to the level of first-year college students. Jargons or technical terms are minimal. If they do occur, they are well explained within context, as seen, for example, in those terms of logical fallacies. At the end, there is a list of glossaries, which is of additional help if a student encounters an unfamiliar term.

Consistency rating: 5

The authors/editors stress the rhetorical approach to writing. The whole textbook is built around that approach, which also ensures a framework of consistency for content delivery.

Modularity rating: 5

The modularity of the book is excellent. The whole book is divided into eight chapters, each of which is further divided into sections and subsections. The smaller reading sections can keep students away from "boredom," but more importantly they also make it easy and convenient for instructors to pick and reorganize subunits of a course that will best fit their own needs or situations.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4

The topics of the book are presented in a sequence as expected. However, Chapter 8, the last chapter, may not be up to its title, Ethics, as most of the sections are more related to the previous chapter on researched writing. For example, citation formatting and APA or MLA format can well be incorporated into Chapter 7.

Interface rating: 5

I have not encountered interface issues when reading through the book.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

This is a non-issue. All contributors to the book are excellent writers.

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

I have not come across any issues in the textbook that can be described as culturally insensitive or offensive.

I wish a list of readings, or their links, were incorporated into each chapter to save instructors' time and energy looking for relevant reading materials. Additional readings are part of a writing course. They provide material for fruitful classroom discussions. Used as examples, they also help illustrate subjects to ensure a better understanding on the part of students.

academic research and writing a concise introduction

Reviewed by Tara Montague, Part-time instructor, Portland Community College on 6/28/22

I’d give this a 4.5 if I could. This text covers nearly everything that I’d want to cover in a FYW course on thesis-driven argument. I would love to see a revised introduction with a more robust intro aimed at the student – one that formally... read more

I’d give this a 4.5 if I could. This text covers nearly everything that I’d want to cover in a FYW course on thesis-driven argument. I would love to see a revised introduction with a more robust intro aimed at the student – one that formally introduces thesis-driven argument (and previews the text's approach/structure). I think that would help the rest of the pieces fall into place more clearly for me. The glossary is great, and the way glossary items are handled when they show up in the text (active link with a pop-up box) is extremely useful and appreciated.

I did not notice any inaccuracies, biases, or errors.

Current examples were used (a 2010 textbook, Kamala Harris’s VP Acceptance speech), and I believe they were used in a way that will remain relevant to readers.

The writing is clear and accessible. It does go into more depth about rhetoric and argument (Toulmin, Rogerian) than I think many FYW classes would go, but is still accessible. I do feel like a clearer spelling out of the relationship/usage of the terms persuasion and argument would help. This is kind of approached in chapter 3.7, but it’s a bit lacking for me.

Consistency rating: 4

Some of the chapters and sections seem a bit broad and generic given the text’s stated focus on thesis-driven argument. And some examples of thesis statements seem too simplistic for argument – or don’t really match the genre of thesis-driven argument.

The text is easily and readily divisible. My interest is in adopting specific chapter/sections; this can be done without any difficulty whatsoever. It would also be easy to reorganize to improve upon the organizational issues that I believe the text has.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3

The overall structure of the text is not super intuitive. It starts with the writing process (section 2: analyzing assignment, prewriting), and then circles back to it in section 5. As I refer back to the text to write this review, I see this even more strongly – I have trouble finding the chapters I’m looking for as they’re not under the sections of the text I’d expect them to be; I keep getting lost.

Given the text’s title, I would expect introduction/discussion of main concepts – especially thesis-driven argumentation – before launching into the writing process or even rhetoric. Additionally, some chapters/sections/pages are two paragraphs long, and some are more than ten screens’ worth, and the variation (and what is chunked into a separate chapter/section vs. what is just a heading within a chapter/section) isn’t guided by a clear organizational principle. If I were looking to adopt an entire text (as opposed to selecting sections of it), this would cause me problems. (It should be noted that the authors make it clear that this text is written for a specific course at TAMU.)

The heading “Writing a persuasive essay” comes within a chapter/section about using visual elements (3.11). I believe this is a mistake.

The text is offered in various formats and is downloadable. Extremely user-friendly and easy to navigate. In the eBook, the text contains an active glossary: when you click on an underlined term (i.e. secondary sources), its glossary entry/definition/explanation pops up.

The text has been carefully edited and is very clean. I didn’t see any grammatical errors. The only thing I noticed is a confusing lack of “strike-through” in a subtitle of Chapter 4.6: “Thesis Is Not Doesn’t Have to Be a Bad Thing (Or Why Write Antithesis Essays in the First Place”).

I don’t believe the text is culturally insensitive or offensive. I believe it used a couple of examples that were inclusive of a variety of backgrounds.

There are definitely elements of this text that I will use in my FYW (Writing 122) course. I appreciate how succinctly and clearly the text distinguishes between (intended) audience and reader. I also like the logical fallacies section. I typically don’t go into these in my FYW course, but this text does a good job of selecting fallacies that many students tend to use in their own arguments; it provides a solid short list for students to evaluate their own reasoning. I really like the chapter on counterargument / antithetical writing by Steven D. Krause that they included.

Reviewed by Carrie Dickison, Associate Teaching Professor, Wichita State University on 6/3/21

The text covers the writing process, rhetoric and argumentation, and research-based writing sufficiently in-depth to work as a primary textbook for a composition course focusing on these topics. As with most OERs, instructors will likely need to... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

The text covers the writing process, rhetoric and argumentation, and research-based writing sufficiently in-depth to work as a primary textbook for a composition course focusing on these topics. As with most OERs, instructors will likely need to supplement the text with examples. Unfortunately, there is no table of contents or index, so instructors using the text will need to spend extra time scrolling to identify content.

Content is in-line with other mainstream composition textbooks.

The content is up-to-date, and most examples will seem relevant to students. For example, it references the keto diet and Trump’s inaugural address. The section on MLA is updated for MLA 8, which is better than many open-access composition texts.

The register is appropriate for first-year students, and the text does a nice job of explaining discipline-specific terminology.

The text is consistent in its approach to writing, argumentation, and research.

Modularity rating: 4

Each section is divided into sub-sections with sub-headings, making it fairly easy to assign different parts of a section. However, sub-sections are not numbered, making them somewhat cumbersome to put on a syllabus.

In general, the text is organized logically. Most sections have a clear focus (e.g. the writing process, an introduction to rhetoric, structuring an argument). However, there are a few sections that I found confusing. For example, there are two different discussions of types of sources (in two different sections), and the discussion of evaluating sources comes before the discussion of research strategies. However, it wouldn’t be too difficult to assign these sections in a different order.

Interface rating: 4

The text is only available as a PDF, which cuts down on image distortion and broken links. However, it also makes it harder to navigate the text, especially since there is no table of contents.

I didn’t notice any grammatical errors in the text.

The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive.

This is a good choice for a course that focuses on rhetoric, argumentation, and research-based writing. It’s also less institution specific than other OERs with similar content, making it easier to adapt for another institution.

Reviewed by Stefanie Shipe, Associate Professor, Northern Virginia Community College on 5/10/21

The textbook offers a thorough discussion of the writing process and the research process. The section on paragraph development is especially comprehensive. The section on the Writing Process could be more robust, particularly the discussion of... read more

The textbook offers a thorough discussion of the writing process and the research process. The section on paragraph development is especially comprehensive. The section on the Writing Process could be more robust, particularly the discussion of medium. With more and more emphasis on multimodality in freshman-level composition classes, this textbook would benefit from an expanded section on visual argument and/or non-traditional argument. The section on Rogerian Argument is very brief.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

The content is accurate, although the section on Rogerian Argument doesn't give a complete picture of the strategy.

All the content is relevant, and examples can be easily updated as needed.

The language is accessible, and new terms are explained for readers.

Terminology and framework remain consistent.

The text is broken down into logical sections. It might be helpful to make the section numbers more easily accessible for readers. Some sections also have very large blocks of text that may be somewhat difficult to follow.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

Topics are presented logically.

The PDF is mostly written text, which may be challenging for certain readers. The addition of more tables, graphs, colors, or images might help to break up the text to make it more accessible and easy to read. Section headings could also be more clear and easier to locate.

Grammatical Errors rating: 4

I noticed a few minor issues with widows/orphans, I also noticed one minor error: in section 4.18, "pro-choice" contains the hyphen, but "prolife" does not.

I don't see any major issues with inclusivity, although one or two sections might benefit from some language to alert a reader to sensitive content (such as the abortion issue).

Reviewed by Lee Ann Regan, Adjunct Professor, Northern Virginia Community College on 5/5/21

This textbook covers all the topics I cover in my Composition II class, though I would like more on analyzing visual arguments (ads, photos, political cartoons). read more

This textbook covers all the topics I cover in my Composition II class, though I would like more on analyzing visual arguments (ads, photos, political cartoons).

Accurate, though to be picky in the block quote example (6.15) there is a period after the parenthetical citation contrary to MLA style.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 4

Although mention of specific TV shows and Trump's inaugural speech may date quickly, these are tiny elements in the material. Most of the content will remain relevant for a long time.

The text's prose is accessible without being condescending.

In Section 3, Rhetorical Modes of Writing discusses narration, description, and exposition which I found out of place in a book on writing arguments. However, these are types of essays often assigned in freshman composition classes.

The text is divided into clear sections on each topic aspect which could easily be assigned.

There is a clear progression from assignment through the writing process.

The screenshot of database functions is distorted. Scrolling back and forth in a PDF can be awkward.

I noticed no grammatical errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

Nothing stood out as offensive.

This textbook covers the topic of writing academic argument well. While I missed sample essays to analyze they can date a book quickly and instructors can easily add them to supplement the text. I found the sections on research and maintaining voice, areas where students sometimes struggle, particularly strong.

Reviewed by Linda McHenry, Instructor of First-Year Composition & Coordinator of Composition-Sequence Assessment, Fort Hays State University on 3/26/21

This comprehensive textbook, appropriate for an English Composition II course, both describes and explains six steps in the writing process for a first-year composition student. An example of a student’s prewriting is included. Rhetorical... read more

This comprehensive textbook, appropriate for an English Composition II course, both describes and explains six steps in the writing process for a first-year composition student. An example of a student’s prewriting is included. Rhetorical situation is explained well for first-year students. “Rhetorical Modes of Writing” provides explanation for many writing assignments students typically encounter in the composition sequence, including narration, description, classification, process, definition, comparison and contrast, cause and effect, and persuasion. Also, there are explanations and examples of a visual analysis essay. Toulmin Argument is written clearly for first-year students in a writing course, and Rogerian Argument is discussed and explained, as well. Inclusion of both arguments gives composition faculty options for how to best approach specific argumentative assignments in their courses.

Content is error-free and mostly unbiased. Initially, I found the logical fallacies sections cursory but appreciate the depth of argument in the last half of the textbook.

Most of the textbook reads as relevant and will remain relevant for some time. Most examples, such as TVs, e-books, reality TV shows, and hybrid cars, will remain relatable to first-year students. There is an outdated reference to TV Guide, which I’m confident traditional first-year students will need explained.

One of the most-impressive strengths of this textbook is the way the writers introduce, define, explain, and use terms throughout the text. Argument can be a complicated concept for students, and the sections focusing on types of argument and ways to construct effective arguments meaningfully and deliberately demystify the ways writers tailor their messages for target audiences. Later in the textbook, library database searching is explained well, especially with the Boolean examples.

Writing is discussed and explained before researching, which makes complete sense. The text also features helpful research worksheets to aid with search terms.

The textbook is available in multiple formats, including .pdf and Google Doc, allowing for integration with various learning-management systems. The textbook’s clear headings and page numbers allow faculty to point to specific sections or assignments from their syllabus. Or faculty can copy and paste particular parts into their specific learning-management system with section titles and authors clearly listed.

The textbook is logically organized, beginning with writing process. The research process is well written and provides solid examples of student research plans. The argument sections are well organized and build on one another.

Interface rating: 3

Text and visual aides are mostly clear. The screen grab of library research results is blurry and difficult to view. I had no problems moving between the sections. Visual aides are labeled but are missing descriptive text that would help readers with visual deficits understand drawings, graphics, and charts.

I found no grammatical errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 2

In a section that asks students to “Imagine Hostile Audiences” (p. 78), the textbook engages positions on abortion. In a first-year composition textbook, naming issues that some students will have lived through lacks sensitivity to what some of our students have had to endure—for both those who have carried an unwanted pregnancy to full term and those who have terminated a pregnancy. Certainly, other issues can illustrate hostile audiences without evoking the pain and stress that surround abortion.

Overall, this is an effective textbook for English Composition II.

Reviewed by Andrew Howard, Assistant Professor/Program Coordinator of English, The University of the District of Columbia on 2/26/21

This book covers everything that a first-year writing professor would expect to see, and it covers everything a first-year writing student will need to encounter for academic writing. The layout is logical and the tone is approachable enough that... read more

This book covers everything that a first-year writing professor would expect to see, and it covers everything a first-year writing student will need to encounter for academic writing. The layout is logical and the tone is approachable enough that students will not only be guided through the writing process, but will be given a guide and reference they can use throughout the rest of their academic careers. The information and its presentation concerning research is top-notch! Very informative and practical.

I found nothing inaccurate! The fundamental topics this book approaches are clearly and concisely illuminated, but they are, at heart, near-universal truths. Pantuso et al. present the basic tenets of the writing process in rock-solid terms and cite when necessary, giving a real sense of relevance, accuracy, and currency.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 3

It appears that the main ideas presented in Informed Arguments will be in place for some time, so the relevance is not much of an issue here. As for being up-to-date, I'd hope that the authors do a once-over every few years with an eye toward their characterization of students, particularly when you see examples of student voice. The other area I'd suggest giving attention is the acknowledgment of multi-modal assignments; I'd expect more beyond the usual rhetorical mode structure found in so many textbooks.

The text is absolutely clear in how it presents ideas. Pantuso et al. never get bogged down purple or overly-academic prose. They never speak down to their audience or hold the subject of writing is such high esteem as to present themselves as elites guarding inaccessible information. There's a real sense that this textbook was written by humans who are concerned with getting across the important nuances of writing--something that we often miss in textbooks.

The no-nonsense approach that the authors take ensures that their text is indeed consistent throughout.

Modularity rating: 3

My biggest issues here are addressed in the interface portion, but I'd like to see clearer breaks, not only between sections, but in the writing examples. Occasionally you'll get a title at the end of one page, then the writing example begins on the next. Could use a bit more cleanup or widow/orphan consideration.

No issues here--the text is presented in the most logical

I may be biased against pdf textbooks, but I find them impossible to navigate with any sense of surety. This text could likely be reorganized of necessary, and seems to be presented somewhat modularly (though there is certainly a logical order to the text overall). If the material were presented as a central hub with explorable modules, I believe the layout would be easier to navigate. I'd also like more visual cues that I am moving from one topic to the next. Aside from the occasional obvious page break and slightly larger text for headings, I don't get much of a sense that I've moved from one section to another. The visuals that are provided are very helpful and logical; however, there are not enough. I'd like to see a few visuals related to the examples in the text. Take 4.8, for example: there's a student essay on the X-Files. While there is surely an issue of copyright concerning an image of Mulder and Scully, throw a clip art alien or something in there!

I noticed no grammatical issues!

Cultural Relevance rating: 3

I didn't see much to suggest that this book went either way on the scale of cultural sensitivity.

Reviewed by Oline Eaton, Lecturer, Howard University on 1/27/21

This is an especially comprehensive text on writing arguments intended for an audience of first year students. The authors very effectively assess the knowledge base of that readership and, accordingly, open the book with a chapter that offers... read more

This is an especially comprehensive text on writing arguments intended for an audience of first year students. The authors very effectively assess the knowledge base of that readership and, accordingly, open the book with a chapter that offers students a practical, step-by-step guide to the college essay writing process (from understanding the assignment on through incorporating feedback into a final, polished version of an essay). The authors also adeptly introduce the vocabulary students will need in the writing classroom and use it to introduce and unpack complex concepts in a way that avoids jargon and is, therefore, likely to be more easily understood by students. The text gives students a very solid foundation for understanding the essay assignments they are likely to encounter, not only in the writing class that uses this book but in their other college classes.

I saw nothing in the text that gave me concerns regarding its accuracy.

The book has a really nice, readable tone that is likely to appeal to students and was clearly produced by writers who are actively teaching students today. Their examples are ones students will likely relate to. One such instance is in the section on audience, where two different descriptions of the same event (one formal and intended for public consumption; the other reading more like a text to a friend and opening with "OMG!") are used to make the point that students are accustomed to taking audience into account often in their daily lives, even if unconsciously. The text very deliberately builds from the discussion in the opening chapter on how to read an assignment to the final chapter's highly detailed discussion of how to conduct robust academic research online. The research section, in particular, is something I'm now contemplating incorporating into my classes on Zoom this semester, in lieu of or in conjunction with a librarian visit. If you're teaching argument and/or researched argument, this book very elegantly and straight-forwardly covers all the bases. The book was written explicitly for use at Texas A&M, by professors at Texas A&M. This isn't all that intrusive, and I think it would absolutely be usable in classes outside of that university. It's just something to be aware of and explains why there are Texas A&M examples throughout.

This is a very clearly written text, that would be very accessible to first year college students of all ages. The authors do an excellent job of defining their terms and fully unpacking concepts that might be new to students.

The text builds a cohesive, internally consistent argument about how students may best go about argumentative writing. By the time students reach the final section on research and ethics, they should have everything they need to produce robust, ethical arguments within the writing process developed through the earlier sections.

Because it opens with the focus on simply how to read an assignment and goes all the way through the research progress, the book is structured in such a way that it could easily be incorporated into a one- or two-semester writing/research course.

I can think of no better way to organize this text. It very logically proceeds from one phase of the process of writing arguments to the next. Reading it, it very nicely aligns with how I already structure my own classes and one can easily see how it could be used to scaffold a one- or even a two-semester first year writing course.

The text was very user-friendly, with helpful charts and graphics. One thing to note is that there is a screenshot of the University Library page search box, which may not perfectly match all university libraries. A small detail, but something to be aware of if you're trying to bring this into your classroom outside of Texas A&M.

This is a very well edited and proofread text, which is obviously extra important in a writing class.

The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive. However, I'm not sure that it's particularly inclusive either. I'm unfamiliar with the student demographics of Texas A&M, so perhaps it is a great fit for them. However, the text might have benefited from a few examples that demonstrate the variety of student experiences. In classrooms with populations of students of color, parents, or disabled students, it might be desirable to augment the reading by bringing in some more inclusive examples for classroom discussion.

I highly recommend this text for first year writing classrooms.

Reviewed by Grant Bain, Instructor, Colorado State University on 12/28/20

The textbook is amazingly comprehensive, especially given its brevity. I was surprised to see, for example, how thoroughly the authors were able to cover major concepts in argument theory. The authors introduce not only classical argument, but... read more

The textbook is amazingly comprehensive, especially given its brevity. I was surprised to see, for example, how thoroughly the authors were able to cover major concepts in argument theory. The authors introduce not only classical argument, but also the Toulmin model and Rogerian argument, which is a great way to introduce students to the complexities of this concept. The only major shortcoming that I see is its focus on essays. While the essay is an important and useful genre for exploring ideas and generating knowledge, students need to be given opportunity to practice other forms (reports or proposals, for example) in order to more fully understand how to adapt their writing across varying contexts and purposes. The authors focus very heavily on the rhetorical situation, which they should, but that focus its somewhat belied by their concurrent focus on the form of the essay, which limits the purpose, audience, and texts with which a student might interact.

This text is remarkably well-aligned with current practices in writing scholarship and pedagogy. It's chapters offer concise yet thorough discussions of major concepts like the rhetorical situation, rhetorical appeals, and even ethics in writing. While "accuracy" is a tricky concept to apply to something as qualitative as writing, the text is in agreement with prevailing scholarly trends and practices.

The text is very relevant to its intended audience of freshman composition students. I particularly like the focus on process and rhetorical situation. The textbook begins by prompting students to understand a writing assignment, which is something that I cannot foresee ever becoming outdated. Having students begin by assessing the needs of their specific situation is so important and yet still so undervalued in a lot of writing curricula.

The text's rhetoric and examples are clear and very accessible. In fact, I think this textbook may be the most accessible to freshman college students that I've seen. The author's shy away from all but the most necessary jargon, and what specialized terms they do use (rhetorical situation, etc) are very fully contextualized and explained.

The books is very consistent across all chapters. Its rhetoric is well-organized around the central concept of the rhetorical situation. Even though the text doesn't fully address that term until Section 3, it opens by encouraging students to understand each specific writing assignment, thereby prompting them from the very beginning to understand fully the situation in which they are writing.

For the most part I feel like this text could be used in a variety of ways and its chapters assigned in varying sequences.

Given the recursive nature of writing, this text is organized in a very logical and utilitarian way. Each chapter develops its subject very well and provides enough context along the way for a freshman audience to be able to understand that subject. The overall chapter organization is also very practical, and develops the point of the book quite well, even if teachers decide to assign chapters in a different order than that in which they are arranged in the book.

This is one of the biggest flaws for me. A PDF is one of the least user-friendly interfaces; even a physical book makes it easier to mark important passages and easily move back and forth between them. I realize that OER funding availability makes interface a challenge, but this is a notable flaw of this text. It's hardly a reason not to adopt it, however.

I detected no grammatical errors whatsoever.

I would agree with this for the most part. I do question the use of President Trump's inaugural speech to exemplify the rhetorical situation, however. Maybe the divisiveness of Trump's administration will fade over time, but right now it seems like a poor choice, in that many students will have a hard time thinking in any way objectively about it. Given that no specific examples from the address are used, I'm not sure why the authors chose to specify Trump's inaugural address over the situation of an inaugural address more generally. For now and for the next few years, however, it seems like a poor choice.

Pantuso et al. have produced a clear, concise, and very useful textbook. It would be a great supplement or even primary rhetoric for a freshman composition course. If the authors were to revise the textbook to include a wider variety of genres--thereby exposing students to a wider variety of rhetorical situations--this would be an outstanding OER text.

Reviewed by Paul Lee, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Arlington on 11/11/20

I think it covers a lot of the basics, which is good, and I understand that it is intended to be a short, more concise introduction to academic writing. However, I would like to see a little more depth in areas like ethos, pathos, logos and the... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less

I think it covers a lot of the basics, which is good, and I understand that it is intended to be a short, more concise introduction to academic writing. However, I would like to see a little more depth in areas like ethos, pathos, logos and the rhetorical situation. These form the basis of modern argument, so it seems important to dig a bit deeper and to provide some relevant examples and situations to further explain these appeals.

The authors did an excellent job of accuracy and avoiding bias. Some of the points they make may give the wrong impression to students, however, like their description of the thesis statement being in the introduction in most cases. This is true, but it can be practically anywhere in the paper and I think it is relevant to let the students know that so their papers aren’t quite so mechanical and formulaic.

They did an excellent job of this, as well. This information doesn’t tend to change very quickly, but they still presented it in a way that should stand up to time very well, so I would say that this text will be useful for quite a while. A lot of texts tend to use examples that are quickly out-of-date (like political issues or current events); these can be more relevant and relatable to the students so they can help them to understand more easily, but they can quickly become irrelevant and have the opposite effect. Unless I overlooked it, I didn’t see any issues like that with this text.

Clarity rating: 4

It definitely is very clear. Again, some further elaboration on certain topics/concepts might make it even more clear (e.g., examples, more detailed explanations, and so on).

I didn’t see any issues with the consistency. Overall this book does a great job of holding together and explaining how each individual topic relates to the overall discussion of writing and the writing process. It speaks to the clarity of the text, as well, that each section of the book allows the text overall to support its own thesis about writing.

The book felt more linear than modular; in other words, it feels like the book should be read at the beginning as each section builds on the previous one. There were some exceptions like the visual arguments section; even these need some previous material to be fully understood and utilized, however.

The organization is excellent. This is the upside to the linear style I mentioned in the earlier section. If you tend to organize your class in this fashion, then this is a great book to do that; it will allow you to provide information that consistently builds upon the information before it.

Interface rating: 1

I am NOT a fan of long texts that are in PDF format. This made it very difficult to navigate around in the text, particularly with a smaller device like an iPhone. I read it both on an iPad and an iPhone and when I was on the iPhone I found myself getting very weary of constant speed-scrolling to find an area later in the book (say, page 160 for example). I think a different format (like ePub) would be a huge improvement.

The book’s grammar looked excellent. I didn’t notice any particular issues, and being a rhetoric & composition instructor I’m very observant of things like that.

Being about a fairly innocuous topic in the first place (unless controversial examples are used) this book didn’t have any issues that stood out to me. I mentioned earlier that it tends to stay fairly up-to-date in its examples, and this is another upside of that — it’s not using anything that is overly controversial.

Overall it’s a very well-written text that could be used if you want a more concise and to-the-point discussion of the major aspects of writing and the writing process. I think it could use a little more detail, development, as well as examples, however. And I’m not a fan of having to scroll endlessly through a PDF document, so a different format seems to be in order.

Table of Contents

  • I. Introduction
  • II. Getting Started
  • III. Rhetorical Situation
  • IV. Types of Argumentation
  • V. Process and Organization
  • VI. Joining the Academic Conversation
  • VII. Researched Writing
  • VIII: Ethics

Ancillary Material

About the book.

Welcome to composition and rhetoric! While most of you are taking this course because it is required, we hope that all of you will leave with more confidence in your reading, writing, researching, and speaking abilities as these are all elements of freshman composition. Many times, these elements are presented in excellent textbooks written by top scholars. While the collaborators of this particular textbook respect and value those textbooks available from publishers, we have been concerned about students who do not have the resources to purchase textbooks. Therefore, we decided to put together this Open Educational Resource (OER) explicitly for use in freshman composition courses at Texas A&M University. It is important to note that the focus for this text is on thesis-driven argumentation as that is the focus of the first year writing course at Texas A&M University at the time of development. However, other first year writing courses at different colleges and universities include a variety of types of writing such as personal essays, informative articles, and/or creative writing pieces. The collaborators for this project acknowledge each program is unique; therefore, the adaptability of an OER textbook for first year writing allows for academic freedom across campuses.

About the Contributors

Dr. Terri Pantuso is the Coordinator of the English 104 Program and an Instructional Assistant Professor in the English Department at Texas A&M University.

Prof. Sarah LeMire is the Coordinator of First Year Programs and an Associate Professor in the Texas A&M University Libraries.

Dr. Kathy Anders is the Graduate Studies Librarian and an Associate Professor in the Texas A&M University Libraries.

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Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise, precise, and meticulous is the key

Affiliation.

  • 1 Department of Pediatrics, Seth G.S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
  • PMID: 30930712
  • PMCID: PMC6398294
  • DOI: 10.4103/sja.SJA_685_18

This article deals with formulating a suitable title and an appropriate abstract for an original research paper. The "title" and the "abstract" are the "initial impressions" of a research article, and hence they need to be drafted correctly, accurately, carefully, and meticulously. Often both of these are drafted after the full manuscript is ready. Most readers read only the title and the abstract of a research paper and very few will go on to read the full paper. The title and the abstract are the most important parts of a research paper and should be pleasant to read. The "title" should be descriptive, direct, accurate, appropriate, interesting, concise, precise, unique, and should not be misleading. The "abstract" needs to be simple, specific, clear, unbiased, honest, concise, precise, stand-alone, complete, scholarly, (preferably) structured, and should not be misrepresentative. The abstract should be consistent with the main text of the paper, especially after a revision is made to the paper and should include the key message prominently. It is very important to include the most important words and terms (the "keywords") in the title and the abstract for appropriate indexing purpose and for retrieval from the search engines and scientific databases. Such keywords should be listed after the abstract. One must adhere to the instructions laid down by the target journal with regard to the style and number of words permitted for the title and the abstract.

Keywords: Abbreviations; aims; article; author; conclusions; database; indexing; keywords; manuscript; medical writing; message; methods; paper; research; results; summary.

Publication types

  • 301 Academic Skills Centre
  • Study skills online

Academic writing

Strategies and advice on how to communicate your ideas using an appropriate academic register

Student working on laptop in the library

Introduction to academic writing

Producing written work as part of a university exam, essay, dissertation or another form of assignment requires an approach to organisation, structure, voice and use of language that differs from other forms of writing and communication.

Academic writing is a language that no one is born speaking. Understanding more about the conventions of your discipline and the specific features and conventions of academic writing can help you develop confidence and make improvements to your written work.

Academic writing is part of a complex process of finding, analysing and evaluating information, planning, structuring, editing and proofreading your work, and reflecting on feedback that underpins written assessment at university.

Here we focus on the key principles of academic writing as a way to communicate your ideas using appropriate language, structure and organisation. 

301 Recommends:

Our Academic Writing Essentials workshop will explore the challenges of writing in an academic register and provide a range of strategies that can be used to develop your academic voice. The workshop will cover the use of language, structuring your writing and critical writing to take a holistic view of the writing process from a blank page through to a completed piece of work.

Try out our Academic Writing Interactive Digital Workshop  to explore the key principles of good academic writing.

Our Paraphrasing workshop will explore the roles of paraphrasing, quoting and 'para-quoting' and provide strategies for formulating and referencing paraphrases.

Join our 301 Writing Club sessions which include three 25-minute blocks of silent writing time, plus time to share your writing goals and progress with others. This is not a workshop, please bring an piece of academic writing to work on.

Academic language

Academic writing is defined by conventions rather than rules. This means that they are flexible and adaptable at least some of the time.

The point is not for you and your peers to produce identical pieces of work, but to provide a shared framework of communication that allows specialists within a field to access information, ideas and concepts quickly and easily.

It goes without saying that academic writing uses a more formal register than everyday communication. The following are four important conventions to follow that will help you to hit the right level of formality in your writing:

Use formal language

Academic writing tends to adopt formal language derived from Latinate, rather than Anglo-Saxon roots. This distinction is particularly evident in the use of verbs in academic language.

In general, phrasal verbs are used when speaking (eg in presentations), whilst Latinate verbs are used in academic writing (eg essays). Phrasal language is more informal, whilst Latinate verbs sound 'posher' and more formal.

Phrasal verbs tend to come in two parts: they use a  verb  together with an  adverb  or preposition.

There is often a one-word equivalent, which usually comes from Latin root, reflecting the origins of formal English among educated Romans and the Church.

Examples include: 

Carry out = perform

Talk about = discuss

Look up to = respect

Why is this useful? Latinate verbs use fewer words, so can help you develop a more concise writing style.

Latinate verbs can also be more specific than their phrasal equivalents, for example, the phrasal verb 'set up' has several Latinate equivalents: 

Set up a room: I’m going to  arrange  the room for the meeting.

Set up an experiment: The experiment was  prepared.

Set up an organisation: The NSPCC was  established  in 1884.

You may wish to use a mixture of phrasal and Latinate verbs in your writing, and to tailor it to your assignment. For example, if writing a more informal blog post, you may want to use more phrasal language.

Some common examples of academic verb use include:

Carry out: Perform "The experiment was carried out/performed..."

Find out:   Investigate "The aim of this project is to find out/investigate…"

Leave out: Omit "Therefore this was left out of/omitted from the analysis..."

Awareness of how and when to use different registers of language can help to improve the level of formality of your writing. 

Avoid contractions and abbreviations

Academic writing tends to avoid the types of contractions and abbreviated language that you might use in other forms of communication.

In some cases, this is obvious, but in other cases, where abbreviations have become commonly used forms of words, it can be more difficult to spot.

For example:

Are not/is not: Aren't/isn't

Quotation: Quote

UK: United Kingdom

However, some commonly used abbreviations or acronyms relating to the discipline will often need to be used to enhance the clarity of your writing and reduce the word count.

In these cases, it is important to use the full form of the abbreviated name or phrase in the first instance, including the abbreviation in parentheses.

A key role has always been played by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)...

World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations state...

The use of an Electrocardiogram (ECG) is recommended...

Certain extremely commonly used acronyms have become part of common usage and do not require further explanation within a text. For example, AIDS, laser, radar, scuba. 

Write objectively

Academic writing tends to strive for an appearance of objectivity.

Although you will no doubt have an informed opinion or theory that you are trying to get across in your writing, it is important to build a compelling objective case for your ideas using evidence and data.

Secondary sources should be used to build a foundation of background thinking, ideas and theories to support your approach.

All secondary sources (books, journals, webpages, conference presentations, films, audio recordings, etc.) should be referenced using the standard system recommended by your department.

A bibliography of all referenced works should be included at the end of your assignment, ordered alphabetically and formatted using the recommended standard system. 

Visit the  library referencing pages  for more information, examples and tutorials.

Primary sources include any information or data that you have found, collected or generated to illustrate your arguments or explore your hypotheses. Primary sources may include texts that you are analysing, survey responses, experimental data, artefacts and much more.

When writing about primary and secondary sources, it is usually better to avoid using the first person ('I' or 'we' forms), as your focus should be on an objective interpretation of that evidence. 

The first person is most commonly used to indicate where you are going beyond an objective analysis to put forward your own informed opinions, for example as part of a discussion section or conclusion. 

Some principles of using the first person include:

Avoid overusing the first person (I) and use passive forms where possible: "the experiment was conducted..."; "evidence suggests..."; "a sample was taken..."

Watch out for adjectives that imply a value judgement: fantastic, brilliant, rubbish, interesting, good, etc.

Avoid using cliched phrases: "a hot topic..."; "the other side of the coin..."; "at the end of the day..."; "the fact of the matter..."; "in the current climate..."

Avoid overstatement. Make cautious use or avoid the following altogether: extremely, very, really, always, never, a lot, the most, the least

Note: always check department guidelines   on the use of first-person forms in your writing.

301 Recommends: Manchester University Academic Phrasebank

The Academic Phrasebank is a repository of the most commonly-used phrases in published academic work, organised according to purpose and function. Explore the Phrasebank for ideas on how to express yourself using established academic language.

Paragraphs and flow

Paragraphs are the building blocks of your written work, and a good essay or assignment will organise the content clearly at a paragraph level.

However, in a piece of academic writing paragraphs can be tricky to structure due to the complexity of ideas that you are likely to be working with.

The following structure is not the only way to write a paragraph, but it is a common model that is used in academic writing to build sources and evidence into your writing in a critical and analytical way. 

Writing good paragraphs: structure

Most paragraphs of academic writing tend to follow a similar organisational structure:

The topic sentence:  States the main idea or area to be covered by the paragraph.

Explanation or definitions (optional):  Can be used to clarify any difficult or uncertain terminology introduced in the topic sentence.

Evidence and examples:  One or more sentences introducing key ideas, sources, quotes, case studies, evidence or data.

Comment:  Explores what the evidence means, how it can be summarised or whether it needs to be challenged.

Concluding sentence:  Relates the paragraph to your overall argument and links forward to the next paragraph.

The final sentence is often the most important part of a paragraph as it clarifies your interpretation of the topic area and identifies how it contributes to your overall argument.

Watch this short  study skills hacks video  for more information. 

Writing good paragraphs: unity

A paragraph will usually discuss only one idea as outlined in the first sentence, the  topic sentence . If you find a paragraph drifting away from this controlling idea, it is time to split it into more than one paragraph:

The opening sentence of paragraph should outline the main idea (topic sentence).

Every supporting sentence should directly explain, refer back to, or build on the main idea using specific evidence and examples where possible.

Use the final sentence(s) to refer back to the topic sentence and lead into the following paragraph.

Writing good paragraphs: flow 

The skill of structuring your writing and building effective connections between paragraphs is one that will allow you to develop and sustain a compelling argument in your written work.

By setting out your ideas and evidence with a natural flow, you will make your work much more readable.

This important technique will help you work towards higher levels of attainment in assignments and help to improve the quality of your everyday writing.

Paraphrasing and quoting

When you are producing a piece of writing at university, you will often want to talk about what someone else has written about the topic.

There are four distinct ways of doing this.

Quoting:  directly including in your work the published words or other data you have found in a source

Paraphrasing:  expressing in your own words the ideas, arguments, words or other material you have found published elsewhere

Para-quoting:  paraphrasing an idea or area but retaining one or more important words and phrases from the original in quotation marks

Summarising:  providing a top-level overview of a single larger area of work or multiple sources

There are many reasons for quoting or paraphrasing in your own work, but essentially these techniques allow you to show your understanding of current knowledge about the topic you are studying and respond to that knowledge in your work.

Remember that you will need to cite and reference all of the sources that have informed your work.

It is a complex linguistic skill to incorporate others’ work smoothly and efficiently into your own by quoting or paraphrasing.

Skilful use of sources and selective quoting and paraphrasing are important elements of the critical writing process, which is in greater detail on the critical thinking pages – see  Legitimation Code Theory  for more ideas.

It is also a key skill of academic writing that will help to ensure that your work does not include elements of plagiarism.

For more information on unfair means and plagiarism, including suggestions on how to avoid it, see the following  resource .

As with other aspects of working with sources, it is important to  follow your department's specific guidelines about these skills.

When to quote and when to paraphrase

You should direct quote

if you are referring to a formal definition in which the specific language is important

if you are quoting an opinion (with which you do not necessarily agree)

if you are reporting direct speech, eg the reactions or experience of someone actually involved

if you wish to highlight specific features of the author's writing style

 You should paraphrase

to elaborate on or explain a concept or definition to your reader

to engage critically with an opinion or source and demonstrate that you understand it fully

to summarise the reactions or experience of one or more individual

if the general concept is more important than the specific language used

academic research and writing a concise introduction

Writing to a word count

If you find you often go over the word count on an assignment, there are several possible causes and solutions.

In this online resource, we will think about the purpose of the word count, the reasons why we might go over it, and strategies to tackle it.

Why is there a word count?

Word counts are part of the challenge of academic writing for several reasons:

To suggest a level of detail: with one topic, you could write a 100-word summary, 1,000-word essay, 10,000-word dissertation, or a 100,000 word PhD thesis. The word count gives an indication of the level of depth you are expected to go into

To ensure fairness: each student has the same number of words to show the marker what they know. 

To test your communication skills: being able to keep within a word count requires a concise writing style and excellent communication skills – it helps you get straight to the point.

To demonstrate your critical thinking skills: to stay within word counts, you need to focus on what is most important and select the best examples and case studies. It puts critical thinking into practice

As a matter of practicality: markers only have a finite amount of time to mark work.

Why do we go over the word count?

First of all, it is important to remember that being over the word count is better than having a blank page. The ideas are down on the page but might need refining. There are several reasons why you might have exceeded the word count: 

Still developing an effective structure: Do you have a clear plan and have you stuck to it? If not, can you map out an overall structure for your essay and identify areas where you have departed from it?

Fear of missing out on something important: try to be selective with examples and arguments. What is your mission statement or key argument, and how does each section help you make it?

Waffling (using 200 words when 100 will do): work on developing a concise academic writing style. Even if you’re not over the word count, this leaves you more words for your critical analysis and discussion

Writing to a word count involves careful planning and organisation to make sure that you get your main points across. The following points might help you to stay within the parameters that you are aiming for:

  • Plan what your key points are, and what percentage of your word count to spend on each. Are any sections disproportionately long?
  • Avoid repeating arguments – try reading your work backwards (paragraph by paragraph, not word by word). This can make it easier to spot ideas that are repeated, as you are viewing each paragraph individually rather than your argument as a whole
  • Use topic sentences at the start of each paragraph. This can help you (and the marker) to identify what key point you are trying to make. Are there any paragraphs that are making the same point? Can you link them?
  • It might be tempting to show all of the reading you have done, but select the most important case studies, and explain why you have chosen them. This can be evidence of critical thinking (eg whilst many studies have examined X, a key paper is Y because…)
  • Are you using 200 words where 100 will do? One way of testing this is to calculate your  Fog Index  to find out how clear and concise your writing is.

Remember: Having a more concise academic writing style gives you more words to use on things that are important, eg critical analysis and discussion. It’s not just about cutting the odd word here and there to get you under the word count.

The following are some simple tips to make sure you stay within your word count:

Find out what counts towards your word count (for references, footnotes, abstract, captions, tables, text boxes…)

Consider combining related sections or cutting irrelevant sections.

Focus on condensing your key arguments.

Use a concise academic writing style, eg avoid excessive hedging, remove redundant adjectives.

Lie about your word count.

Cut sections just to meet the word count.

Focus on removing individual words – this will be extremely time consuming and will make little impact on your overall count.

Use contractions to meet the word count (eg isn't, doesn't, shouldn't) – this is not academic.

Useful resources

Internal resources.

University of Sheffield Library –  R esearch and Critical Thinking Resources

Digital Learning - Using Turnitin  (login required)

English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) –   P araphrasing

External Resources

Manchester University –  Academic phrasebank

UCL Institute of English –  Word count

Gunning Fog Index Calculator –  Online tool

Purdue Online Writing Lab –  Quoting, paraphrasing and summarising

Wisconsin Writing Centre –  Paraphrasing vs. quoting

Using English for academic purposes –  Writing paragraphs

Related information

Academic Skills Certificate

Dissertation planning

Scientific writing and lab reports

Essay Structure and Planning

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Academic writing: a practical guide

Academic writing style.

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Communicating your ideas clearly, concisely and (mostly) objectively.

Introduction to academic writing style

Academic writing uses a very different style to other types of writing, which might need a bit of getting used to.

Academic writing isn't about impressing people with ‘big words’ or being overly formal. The main aim is to be  clear,  concise  and usually  objective so that you can communicate your ideas effectively.

Student writing in notebook

Compare these two sentences - they contain the same information, but the better style example is much shorter, simpler and easier to understand.

Poor style: The primary ambition of expressing concepts in an academic fashion is to provide assistance for the audience of the piece in comprehending the information being conveyed in an expeditious and accessible manner. Better style: Effective academic writing helps readers understand your points quickly and easily.

Instead of being formal, academic writing uses neutral words  and avoids informal, conversational or colloquial language. For example, 'many factors' is more academic than 'loads of things'. Also avoid personal language - you're not the focus of the work (unless it's a reflective assignment). You should also generally use objective language , for example, 'it is really bad' is subjective, but 'a key negative consequence' is objective. 

Academic writing style [interactive tutorial]  |  Academic writing style [Google Doc]

For more on academic language, take a look at our in-depth guide:

Create & communicate

Cohesive language

Cohesive words and phrases are used heavily in academic writing style to smoothly link points. They're generally small and fairly simple, but are integral to communicating your argument clearly.

Features of online resources that students appreciate include being able to use them whenever and wherever is convenient (Gorman & Staley, 2018), being in control of pace (Johnston, 2010)  and the opportunity for immediate feedback (Dugartsyrenova, 2020). This is consistent with theories of andragogy, which state that adult learners need to be self-directing and able to control their learning (Knowles et al., 2005; Ota et al., 2006). However , not all students prefer online resources and some miss the in-person support in face-to-face sessions (Nichols Hess, 2014).

Find out more on our guide to creating cohesion:

Yellow speech bubble and a yellow pencil, set against a blue background

Hedging & cautious language

It's very rare that we can be completely certain about our statements, so we use hedging (or cautious language) to avoid making statements that are too strong.

Take a look at the hedging language here in bold  - how does it soften the statements?

When authentic assignments are evaluated through grades or citation analysis, online self-study resources seem to be more effective at supporting writing than face-to-face instruction (Anderson & May, 2010; Mery, Newby & Peng, 2012). Students also tend to  prefer online resources over face-to-face skills sessions (Craig & Friehs, 2013; Gerogas, 2014). This could be because online resources are available at the point of need, and so may be more useful while writing assignments.

Find out more about hedging:

Hedging [YouTube]  |  Hedging [Google Doc]

Correct grammar & punctuation

In academic writing style, it's important to use grammar and punctuation correctly. This is also something that markers look for in your work!

See our proofreading & checking guide for tips on what to look out for:

Google Doc

Inclusive language

It's very important to use inclusive language so you can discuss people and communities sensitively and appropriately.

Explore our EDI glossary to improve your awareness and make sure you're using the right terminology:

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Report writing

What is a report and how does it differ from writing an essay? Reports are concise and have a formal structure. They are often used to communicate the results or findings of a project.

Essays by contrast are often used to show a tutor what you think about a topic. They are discursive and the structure can be left to the discretion of the writer.

Who and what is the report for?

Before you write a report, you need to be clear about who you are writing the report for and why the report has been commissioned.

Keep the audience in mind as you write your report, think about what they need to know. For example, the report could be for:

  • the general public
  • academic staff
  • senior management
  • a customer/client.

Reports are usually assessed on content, structure, layout, language, and referencing. You should consider the focus of your report, for example:

  • Are you reporting on an experiment?
  • Is the purpose to provide background information?
  • Should you be making recommendations for action?

Language of report writing

Reports use clear and concise language, which can differ considerably from essay writing.

They are often broken down in to sections, which each have their own headings and sub-headings. These sections may include bullet points or numbering as well as more structured sentences. Paragraphs are usually shorter in a report than in an essay.

Both essays and reports are examples of academic writing. You are expected to use grammatically correct sentence structure, vocabulary and punctuation.

Academic writing is formal so you should avoid using apostrophes and contractions such as “it’s” and "couldn't". Instead, use “it is” and “could not”.

Structure and organisation

Reports are much more structured than essays. They are divided in to sections and sub-sections that are formatted using bullet points or numbering.

Report structures do vary among disciplines, but the most common structures include the following:

The title page needs to be informative and descriptive, concisely stating the topic of the report.

Abstract (or Executive Summary in business reports)

The abstract is a brief summary of the context, methods, findings and conclusions of the report. It is intended to give the reader an overview of the report before they continue reading, so it is a good idea to write this section last.

An executive summary should outline the key problem and objectives, and then cover the main findings and key recommendations.

Table of contents

Readers will use this table of contents to identify which sections are most relevant to them. You must make sure your contents page correctly represents the structure of your report.

Take a look at this sample contents page.

Introduction

In your introduction you should include information about the background to your research, and what its aims and objectives are. You can also refer to the literature in this section; reporting what is already known about your question/topic, and if there are any gaps. Some reports are also expected to include a section called ‘Terms of references’, where you identify who asked for the report, what is covers, and what its limitations are.

Methodology

If your report involved research activity, you should state what that was, for example you may have interviewed clients, organised some focus groups, or done a literature review. The methodology section should provide an accurate description of the material and procedures used so that others could replicate the experiment you conducted.

Results/findings

The results/findings section should be an objective summary of your findings, which can use tables, graphs, or figures to describe the most important results and trends. You do not need to attempt to provide reasons for your results (this will happen in the discussion section).

In the discussion you are expected to critically evaluate your findings. You may need to re-state what your report was aiming to prove and whether this has been achieved. You should also assess the accuracy and significance of your findings, and show how it fits in the context of previous research.

Conclusion/recommendations

Your conclusion should summarise the outcomes of your report and make suggestions for further research or action to be taken. You may also need to include a list of specific recommendations as a result of your study.

The references are a list of any sources you have used in your report. Your report should use the standard referencing style preferred by your school or department eg Harvard, Numeric, OSCOLA etc.

You should use appendices to expand on points referred to in the main body of the report. If you only have one item it is an appendix, if you have more than one they are called appendices. You can use appendices to provide backup information, usually data or statistics, but it is important that the information contained is directly relevant to the content of the report.

Appendices can be given alphabetical or numerical headings, for example Appendix A, or Appendix 1. The order they appear at the back of your report is determined by the order that they are mentioned in the body of your report. You should refer to your appendices within the text of your report, for example ‘see Appendix B for a breakdown of the questionnaire results’. Don’t forget to list the appendices in your contents page.

Presentation and layout

Reports are written in several sections and may also include visual data such as figures and tables. The layout and presentation is therefore very important.

Your tutor or your module handbook will state how the report should be presented in terms of font sizes, margins, text alignment etc.

You will need good IT skills to manipulate graphical data and work with columns and tables. If you need to improve these skills, try the following online resources:

  • Microsoft online training through Linkedin Learning
  • Engage web resource on using tables and figures in reports
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How to write an introduction for a research paper

How to write a introduction for a research paper

Writing an introduction for a research paper can be one of the hardest parts of the writing process. How do you get started? In this post, we discuss the components of an introduction and explore strategies for writing one successfully.

What is an introduction?

The introduction to a research paper provides background information or context on the topic. It also includes the thesis statement and signposts that let the reader know what you will cover in the rest of the paper.

Depending on the type of research paper that you’re writing, you may also include a brief state of the field in your introduction. You might also put that in a separate section, called a literature review. Before you tackle writing your introduction, be sure to consult the assignment guidelines for your paper.

How to write an introduction

An introduction provides an overview of your topic and any background information that your readers need to know in order to understand the context. It generally concludes with an explicit statement of your position on the topic, which is known as your thesis statement.

The opening section

Many papers begin with a hook: a short anecdote or scenario that draws the reader in and gives a hint of what the paper will cover. A hook allows you to capture your reader’s attention and provides an anchor for the context that you will provide in the bulk of the introduction.

Most of your introduction should be taken up with background information, but this doesn’t mean that you should fill your opening section with overly general statements. Instead, provide key pieces of information (like statistics) that a reader would need to know in order to understand your main argument.

The thesis statement

Towards the end of the introduction, you should state your thesis, preferably in the form of "I argue that..." or "This paper argues that..." or a similar phrase. Although it’s called a “thesis statement,” your thesis can be more than one sentence.

Finally, an introduction contains a brief outline or "signposts" of what the rest of the article will cover (also known as forecasting statements). You can use language like, “in what follows,” or “in the rest of the paper,” to signal that you are describing what you’ll do in the remainder of the paper.

Tips for writing an introduction

1. don’t rely on generalizations.

An introduction is not simply filler. It has a very specific function in a research paper: to provide context that leads up to a thesis statement.

You may be tempted to start your paper with generalizations like, “many people believe that...” or, “in our society...,” or a general dictionary definition, because you’re not sure what kind of context to provide. Instead, use specific facts like statistics or historical anecdotes to open your paper.

2. State your thesis directly

Once you’ve provided the appropriate, and specific, background information on your topic, you can move on to stating your thesis. As a rule of thumb, state your thesis as directly as possible. Use phrases like “I argue that..” to indicate that you are laying out your main argument.

3. Include signposts

A strong introduction includes clear signposts that outline what you will cover in the rest of the paper. You can signal this by using words like, “in what follows,” and by describing the steps that you will take to build your argument.

4. Situate your argument within the scholarly conversation

Some types of research papers require a separate literature review in which you explore what others have written about your topic.

Even if you’re not required to have a formal literature review, you should still include at least a paragraph in which you engage with the scholarly debate on your chosen subject. Be sure to include direct quotes from your sources . You can use BibGuru’s citation generator to create accurate in-text citations for your quotes.

This section can come directly before your thesis statement or directly after it. In the former case, your state of the field will function as additional context for your thesis.

Frequently Asked Questions about how to write an introduction for a research paper

A good introduction provides specific background information on your topic, sets up your thesis statement, and includes signposts for what you’ll cover in the rest of the paper.

An introduction should include context, a thesis statement, and signposts.

Do not include generalizations, apologies for not being an expert, or dictionary definitions in your introduction.

The length of your introduction depends on the overall length of your paper. For instance, an introduction for an 8-10 page paper will likely be anywhere from 1-3 pages.

You can choose to start an introduction with a hook, an important statistic, an historical anecdote, or another specific piece of background information.

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1: Introduction to Academic Writing

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  • 1.1: Post-Secondary Reading and Writing (Part 1)
  • 1.1: Post-Secondary Reading and Writing (Part 2)
  • 1.2: Developing Study Skills (Part 1)
  • 1.2: Developing Study Skills (Part 2)
  • 1.3: Becoming a Successful Writer

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

Nearly every element of style that is accepted and encouraged in general academic writing is also considered good practice in scientific writing. The major difference between science writing and writing in other academic fields is the relative importance placed on certain stylistic elements. This handout details the most critical aspects of scientific writing and provides some strategies for evaluating and improving your scientific prose. Readers of this handout may also find our handout on scientific reports useful.

What is scientific writing?

There are several different kinds of writing that fall under the umbrella of scientific writing. Scientific writing can include:

  • Peer-reviewed journal articles (presenting primary research)
  • Grant proposals (you can’t do science without funding)
  • Literature review articles (summarizing and synthesizing research that has already been carried out)

As a student in the sciences, you are likely to spend some time writing lab reports, which often follow the format of peer-reviewed articles and literature reviews. Regardless of the genre, though, all scientific writing has the same goal: to present data and/or ideas with a level of detail that allows a reader to evaluate the validity of the results and conclusions based only on the facts presented. The reader should be able to easily follow both the methods used to generate the data (if it’s a primary research paper) and the chain of logic used to draw conclusions from the data. Several key elements allow scientific writers to achieve these goals:

  • Precision: ambiguities in writing cause confusion and may prevent a reader from grasping crucial aspects of the methodology and synthesis
  • Clarity: concepts and methods in the sciences can often be complex; writing that is difficult to follow greatly amplifies any confusion on the part of the reader
  • Objectivity: any claims that you make need to be based on facts, not intuition or emotion

How can I make my writing more precise?

Theories in the sciences are based upon precise mathematical models, specific empirical (primary) data sets, or some combination of the two. Therefore, scientists must use precise, concrete language to evaluate and explain such theories, whether mathematical or conceptual. There are a few strategies for avoiding ambiguous, imprecise writing.

Word and phrasing choice

Often several words may convey similar meaning, but usually only one word is most appropriate in a given context. Here’s an example:

  • Word choice 1: “population density is positively correlated with disease transmission rate”
  • Word choice 2: “population density is positively related to disease transmission rate”

In some contexts, “correlated” and “related” have similar meanings. But in scientific writing, “correlated” conveys a precise statistical relationship between two variables. In scientific writing, it is typically not enough to simply point out that two variables are related: the reader will expect you to explain the precise nature of the relationship (note: when using “correlation,” you must explain somewhere in the paper how the correlation was estimated). If you mean “correlated,” then use the word “correlated”; avoid substituting a less precise term when a more precise term is available.

This same idea also applies to choice of phrasing. For example, the phrase “writing of an investigative nature” could refer to writing in the sciences, but might also refer to a police report. When presented with a choice, a more specific and less ambiguous phraseology is always preferable. This applies even when you must be repetitive to maintain precision: repetition is preferable to ambiguity. Although repetition of words or phrases often happens out of necessity, it can actually be beneficial by placing special emphasis on key concepts.

Figurative language

Figurative language can make for interesting and engaging casual reading but is by definition imprecise. Writing “experimental subjects were assaulted with a wall of sound” does not convey the precise meaning of “experimental subjects were presented with 20 second pulses of conspecific mating calls.” It’s difficult for a reader to objectively evaluate your research if details are left to the imagination, so exclude similes and metaphors from your scientific writing.

Level of detail

Include as much detail as is necessary, but exclude extraneous information. The reader should be able to easily follow your methodology, results, and logic without being distracted by irrelevant facts and descriptions. Ask yourself the following questions when you evaluate the level of detail in a paper:

  • Is the rationale for performing the experiment clear (i.e., have you shown that the question you are addressing is important and interesting)?
  • Are the materials and procedures used to generate the results described at a level of detail that would allow the experiment to be repeated?
  • Is the rationale behind the choice of experimental methods clear? Will the reader understand why those particular methods are appropriate for answering the question your research is addressing?
  • Will the reader be able to follow the chain of logic used to draw conclusions from the data?

Any information that enhances the reader’s understanding of the rationale, methodology, and logic should be included, but information in excess of this (or information that is redundant) will only confuse and distract the reader.

Whenever possible, use quantitative rather than qualitative descriptions. A phrase that uses definite quantities such as “development rate in the 30°C temperature treatment was ten percent faster than development rate in the 20°C temperature treatment” is much more precise than the more qualitative phrase “development rate was fastest in the higher temperature treatment.”

How can I make my writing clearer?

When you’re writing about complex ideas and concepts, it’s easy to get sucked into complex writing. Distilling complicated ideas into simple explanations is challenging, but you’ll need to acquire this valuable skill to be an effective communicator in the sciences. Complexities in language use and sentence structure are perhaps the most common issues specific to writing in the sciences.

Language use

When given a choice between a familiar and a technical or obscure term, the more familiar term is preferable if it doesn’t reduce precision. Here are a just a few examples of complex words and their simple alternatives:

In these examples, the term on the right conveys the same meaning as the word on the left but is more familiar and straightforward, and is often shorter as well.

There are some situations where the use of a technical or obscure term is justified. For example, in a paper comparing two different viral strains, the author might repeatedly use the word “enveloped” rather than the phrase “surrounded by a membrane.” The key word here is “repeatedly”: only choose the less familiar term if you’ll be using it more than once. If you choose to go with the technical term, however, make sure you clearly define it, as early in the paper as possible. You can use this same strategy to determine whether or not to use abbreviations, but again you must be careful to define the abbreviation early on.

Sentence structure

Science writing must be precise, and precision often requires a fine level of detail. Careful description of objects, forces, organisms, methodology, etc., can easily lead to complex sentences that express too many ideas without a break point. Here’s an example:

The osmoregulatory organ, which is located at the base of the third dorsal spine on the outer margin of the terminal papillae and functions by expelling excess sodium ions, activates only under hypertonic conditions.

Several things make this sentence complex. First, the action of the sentence (activates) is far removed from the subject (the osmoregulatory organ) so that the reader has to wait a long time to get the main idea of the sentence. Second, the verbs “functions,” “activates,” and “expelling” are somewhat redundant. Consider this revision:

Located on the outer margin of the terminal papillae at the base of the third dorsal spine, the osmoregulatory organ expels excess sodium ions under hypertonic conditions.

This sentence is slightly shorter, conveys the same information, and is much easier to follow. The subject and the action are now close together, and the redundant verbs have been eliminated. You may have noticed that even the simpler version of this sentence contains two prepositional phrases strung together (“on the outer margin of…” and “at the base of…”). Prepositional phrases themselves are not a problem; in fact, they are usually required to achieve an adequate level of detail in science writing. However, long strings of prepositional phrases can cause sentences to wander. Here’s an example of what not to do from Alley (1996):

“…to confirm the nature of electrical breakdown of nitrogen in uniform fields at relatively high pressures and interelectrode gaps that approach those obtained in engineering practice, prior to the determination of the processes that set the criterion for breakdown in the above-mentioned gases and mixtures in uniform and non-uniform fields of engineering significance.”

The use of eleven (yes, eleven!) prepositional phrases in this sentence is excessive, and renders the sentence nearly unintelligible. Judging when a string of prepositional phrases is too long is somewhat subjective, but as a general rule of thumb, a single prepositional phrase is always preferable, and anything more than two strung together can be problematic.

Nearly every form of scientific communication is space-limited. Grant proposals, journal articles, and abstracts all have word or page limits, so there’s a premium on concise writing. Furthermore, adding unnecessary words or phrases distracts rather than engages the reader. Avoid generic phrases that contribute no novel information. Common phrases such as “the fact that,” “it should be noted that,” and “it is interesting that” are cumbersome and unnecessary. Your reader will decide whether or not your paper is interesting based on the content. In any case, if information is not interesting or noteworthy it should probably be excluded.

How can I make my writing more objective?

The objective tone used in conventional scientific writing reflects the philosophy of the scientific method: if results are not repeatable, then they are not valid. In other words, your results will only be considered valid if any researcher performing the same experimental tests and analyses that you describe would be able to produce the same results. Thus, scientific writers try to adopt a tone that removes the focus from the researcher and puts it only on the research itself. Here are several stylistic conventions that enhance objectivity:

Passive voice

You may have been told at some point in your academic career that the use of the passive voice is almost always bad, except in the sciences. The passive voice is a sentence structure where the subject who performs the action is ambiguous (e.g., “you may have been told,” as seen in the first sentence of this paragraph; see our handout on passive voice and this 2-minute video on passive voice for a more complete discussion).

The rationale behind using the passive voice in scientific writing is that it enhances objectivity, taking the actor (i.e., the researcher) out of the action (i.e., the research). Unfortunately, the passive voice can also lead to awkward and confusing sentence structures and is generally considered less engaging (i.e., more boring) than the active voice. This is why most general style guides recommend only sparing use of the passive voice.

Currently, the active voice is preferred in most scientific fields, even when it necessitates the use of “I” or “we.” It’s perfectly reasonable (and more simple) to say “We performed a two-tailed t-test” rather than to say “a two-tailed t-test was performed,” or “in this paper we present results” rather than “results are presented in this paper.” Nearly every current edition of scientific style guides recommends the active voice, but different instructors (or journal editors) may have different opinions on this topic. If you are unsure, check with the instructor or editor who will review your paper to see whether or not to use the passive voice. If you choose to use the active voice with “I” or “we,” there are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Avoid starting sentences with “I” or “we”: this pulls focus away from the scientific topic at hand.
  • Avoid using “I” or “we” when you’re making a conjecture, whether it’s substantiated or not. Everything you say should follow from logic, not from personal bias or subjectivity. Never use any emotive words in conjunction with “I” or “we” (e.g., “I believe,” “we feel,” etc.).
  • Never use “we” in a way that includes the reader (e.g., “here we see trait evolution in action”); the use of “we” in this context sets a condescending tone.

Acknowledging your limitations

Your conclusions should be directly supported by the data that you present. Avoid making sweeping conclusions that rest on assumptions that have not been substantiated by your or others’ research. For example, if you discover a correlation between fur thickness and basal metabolic rate in rats and mice you would not necessarily conclude that fur thickness and basal metabolic rate are correlated in all mammals. You might draw this conclusion, however, if you cited evidence that correlations between fur thickness and basal metabolic rate are also found in twenty other mammalian species. Assess the generality of the available data before you commit to an overly general conclusion.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Alley, Michael. 1996. The Craft of Scientific Writing , 3rd ed. New York: Springer.

Council of Science Editors. 2014. Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers , 8th ed. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press.

Day, Robert A. 1994. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper , 4th ed. Phoenix: Oryx Press.

Day, Robert, and Nancy Sakaduski. 2011. Scientific English: A Guide for Scientists and Other Professionals , 3rd ed. Santa Barbara: Greenwood.

Gartland, John J. 1993. Medical Writing and Communicating . Frederick, MD: University Publishing Group.

Williams, Joseph M., and Joseph Bizup. 2016. Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace , 12th ed. New York: Pearson.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Office of Undergraduate Research

Writing an academic paper as an undergraduate researcher, by ariane garrett, our peer research ambassador.

Publishing papers is the primary way that scientific knowledge is disseminated within the academic community. Therefore an essential part of becoming a successful researcher is learning how to write an academic paper. Throughout your undergraduate research career you may or may not have the opportunity to be published. Regardless, learning how academic papers are written is useful knowledge for anyone interested in pursuing a research career. Whether or not you have the opportunity to be published as an undergrad depends on a variety of factors, including the nature of your project, how often your faculty advisor publishes papers, and your particular role in the research lab. If you haven’t been published as an undergrad, no need to stress. There are many other ways your research can shine on an application.

I was tasked with writing my first paper in the spring of my junior year. As I am the primary person working on my research project, my faculty advisor expected me to write the paper by myself with his help and feedback. At first, this seemed to be a very daunting task. I had never written an entire academic paper by myself before, and I had no idea where to begin. The writing process took much longer than I expected (I didn’t finish until Fall 2019), and the paper I submitted is currently under review. In this blog post, I will share what I learned while writing my first academic paper. As a biomedical engineering major, my experience is a reflection of the norms within the engineering field. However, I hope that some of these tips will prove useful for those in all majors.

Getting Started

I began my first draft of my paper as I had begun many other papers I have written- with an introduction. When I showed my first draft to my PI, he told me that it is actually most common in the engineering field to begin writing an academic paper by constructing the figures. At first, I thought this seemed rather counterintuitive. Shouldn’t the figures be based on the writing, rather than the other way around? There are several reasons why the opposite is actually true. Firstly, the figures are the most eye-catching part of every paper and sometimes the only thing a reader will look at. In addition, many journals have figure limitations so the figures that are chosen must be carefully thought out in order to maximize their effectiveness. Lastly, constructing the figures first establishes a clear outline that you can follow as you write the rest of the paper.

Writing the Paper

Writing the actual paper is a long process that typically involves many revisions. I found it helpful to read papers from the same journal I was submitting to in order to get an idea of typical paper formats in that journal. I would also recommend seeking feedback at several stages of the writing process. Don’t wait until the entire paper is finished before showing it to your PI, instead, ask for feedback after the first draft of each section is finished. As an academic paper can have anywhere from five to hundreds of sources, I would also suggest using a citation manager as you write. This will save you from having to constantly update the sources in the paper as you add and revise.

Submitting the Paper

In my case, my PI submitted the paper and is the primary contact with the journal. However, I was expected to fully format the paper before I gave it to him to submit. If you visit the website of the journal you are submitting to, there will be details on the formatting expectations. Reformatting the entire paper after it has been written can be a lot of work, so it’s helpful to review these before you begin writing. Often, it is expected that you include a letter to the editor requesting for your paper to be considered, which you may or may not have to write depending on your PI.

After Submission

Depending on the journal, it can be up to several months before you hear back about your submission. In my case, I heard back from the reviewers about two months after submission. There were two reviewers for the paper I submitted, though this number will likely vary depending on the journal. The comments that were made were useful and provided good insight into an outsider’s perspective on my research. It is very common for journals to request revision and resubmission, so don’t expect the first paper you submit to be published!

Although writing an academic paper is challenging, I found it to be a very rewarding experience. I now appreciate how much work it takes to write a good paper and I feel like I grew as a scientific writer throughout the process. If you feel that your research deserves to be published, don’t be afraid to reach out to your PI and ask them if they think you could write a paper. Even if it is never published, writing about your research is an excellent way to become a better writer and also understand your own research area more fully.

Ariane is a senior majoring in biomedical engineering and Spanish. Click here to learn more about Ariane.

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Writing an academic report

Although you may not realize it, writing an academic report is different than writing an academic essay. in an essay, you can provide your thoughts and opinions about a topic or statement. in an academic report, you should provide a description or analysis of a set of actions you took to research a specific question or phenomenon..

Academic reports are used to present and discuss the results of an experiment, survey, or other research method. These reports often require a specific layout and the inclusion of a certain set of sections. Below, we describe the most often-used sections in an academic report in the order in which they generally appear. Before we begin, note that when writing an academic report, you must always follow the guidelines for formal academic writing, including citing trustworthy sources and using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

The sections that are usually included in an academic report are as follows:

Introduction

Literature review/background.

In the introduction to your academic report, you present the research topic or question and explain why you chose to study that topic. You may also present a general overview of the work you did and your findings, expanding on these points further in the main body of the text. At the end of the introduction, you may want to present a brief summary of the way in which the rest of the report is organized.

In this section, you will briefly summarize work on this topic that other researchers have conducted, including their findings. You can also provide any background information on the topic that your readers should have before you present your own work. Remember that your reader is interested in your work, not the work of others. It isn’t necessary to go into excessive detail regarding other studies, especially if they aren’t relevant to your work. Focus on summarizing work that relates in some way to the work you have performed.

The methods section is where you describe the steps you took in your research. For example, you can describe the methodology you used to build your study, the sampling method you used to obtain survey participants, and the steps you took in a scientific experiment. Make sure to describe all your steps in detail using the past tense (since you’re describing something that already happened, not something that will happen).

In this section, you will describe the results of your study. For example, you will provide information such as survey participants’ answers, medical test results, data from scientific experiments, and any statistical analysis results. You may find it helpful to use figures and tables to present these results in an easy-to-read format. However, note that if you present data in a table or figure, it is not necessary to also provide all the same data in the text. If you use tables or figures, only discuss particularly important findings in the text.

In this section, you will discuss the implications of your findings, explaining them and relating them to the previous research presented in your literature review. You will interpret your findings and describe how these findings answer (or don’t answer) your research questions. You should also describe any limitations of your work, such as sample size or missing data, and discuss how you could resolve those issues in future work.

If all this sounds like too much work, or you simply lack the time, you can find a reliable writing service for students and pay for college papers . This way, you get a high-quality academic report without going through any trouble. Such services can help you deal with all kinds of writing assignments you get as a part of your studies.

The conclusion is where you summarize your main work and findings as well as the implications of your work. You should not introduce any new material in this section. You should also provide recommendations based on your findings and discuss any future research needed.

Of course, you should check with your academic institution or professor to see if they want you to include any other sections or information. In addition, make sure you follow the style guide required by your institution (e.g., APA or Chicago).

Writing an academic report doesn’t have to be stressful and intimidating. Using the information above, you can finish your report and avoid undue stress.

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academic research and writing a concise introduction

Opinion Pieces and Editorials: A Comprehensive Writing Guide

  • Published: November 16, 2023
  • By: Yellowbrick

Opinion Pieces and Editorials: A Writing Guide

Opinion pieces and editorials play a crucial role in journalism, offering writers a platform to express their perspectives and influence public opinion. These forms of writing allow individuals to delve into a range of topics, from politics and social issues to entertainment and culture. Whether you aspire to become a journalist, a columnist, or simply want to enhance your writing skills, this comprehensive guide will provide you with the necessary tools to craft compelling opinion pieces and editorials.

Choose a Relevant and Engaging Topic

The first step in writing an impactful opinion piece or editorial is selecting a topic that is both relevant and interesting. Consider current events, trending topics, or issues that you are passionate about. It’s essential to choose a subject that will captivate your readers and spark their curiosity.

Conduct Thorough Research

Before you start writing, it’s crucial to gather as much information as possible about your chosen topic. Conduct thorough research from reliable sources, such as reputable news outlets, academic journals, and expert opinions. This will help you build a strong foundation for your argument and ensure your piece is well-informed.

Understand Different Perspectives

While writing an opinion piece, it’s important to acknowledge and understand various perspectives on the topic. This will help you present a balanced argument and avoid appearing biased. Analyze different viewpoints, gather supporting evidence, and consider counterarguments to strengthen your piece.

Develop a Clear and Persuasive Thesis

A strong thesis statement is the backbone of any opinion piece or editorial. It should clearly state your main argument and provide a roadmap for the rest of your article. Craft a thesis that is concise, persuasive, and captures the essence of your viewpoint.

Structure Your Piece Effectively

To ensure your opinion piece or editorial flows smoothly, follow a logical structure. Start with an attention-grabbing introduction that hooks the reader and provides context for your argument. Then, develop your points in the body paragraphs, providing evidence and examples to support your claims. Finally, conclude your piece with a compelling ending that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Use Clear and Concise Language

Opinion pieces and editorials should be written in a clear and concise manner. Avoid using jargon or overly complex language that may alienate your readers. Instead, opt for simple and impactful language that effectively communicates your ideas.

Incorporate Compelling Evidence

To strengthen your argument, it’s essential to back up your claims with compelling evidence. Use statistics, research findings, and expert opinions to support your viewpoints. This will add credibility to your piece and make it more persuasive.

Engage with Your Audience

Opinion pieces and editorials are meant to engage and provoke thought in readers. Consider your target audience and tailor your writing style accordingly. Use rhetorical questions, anecdotes, or personal experiences to captivate your readers and invite them to think critically about the topic.

Edit and Revise

After completing your initial draft, take the time to edit and revise your opinion piece or editorial. Check for grammatical errors, clarity of ideas, and overall coherence. Consider seeking feedback from peers or mentors to gain valuable insights and improve your writing.

Submit to Appropriate Platforms

Once you are satisfied with your final draft, it’s time to submit your opinion piece or editorial to relevant platforms. Consider pitching your article to newspapers, magazines, or online publications that align with your chosen topic. Additionally, consider publishing your work on personal blogs or social media platforms to reach a wider audience.

Opinion pieces and editorials are powerful tools for shaping public discourse and influencing opinions. By following this writing guide, you will be well-equipped to craft compelling and impactful pieces that resonate with readers. Remember, the key to success lies in thorough research, clear argumentation, and engaging storytelling. Happy writing!

Key Takeaways

Writing opinion pieces and editorials can be a powerful way to express your perspectives and influence public opinion. Here are the key takeaways from this writing guide:

  • Choose a relevant and engaging topic that captivates your readers and sparks their curiosity.
  • Conduct thorough research to gather information from reliable sources, building a strong foundation for your argument.
  • Understand different perspectives on the topic to present a balanced argument and avoid appearing biased.
  • Develop a clear and persuasive thesis statement that captures the essence of your viewpoint.
  • Structure your piece effectively with an attention-grabbing introduction, well-developed body paragraphs, and a compelling ending.
  • Use clear and concise language, avoiding jargon and complex terms that may alienate your readers.
  • Incorporate compelling evidence, such as statistics and expert opinions, to strengthen your argument.
  • Engage with your audience by tailoring your writing style to resonate with them and using rhetorical questions or personal anecdotes.
  • Edit and revise your work to ensure clarity of ideas, coherence, and grammatical accuracy.
  • Submit your opinion piece or editorial to appropriate platforms, such as newspapers, magazines, or personal blogs, to reach a wider audience.

To further enhance your writing skills and gain valuable insights into the world of modern journalism, consider enrolling in the NYU | Modern Journalism online course and certificate program offered by Yellowbrick. This program provides a comprehensive curriculum designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the field of journalism.

Remember, writing opinion pieces and editorials is not only about expressing your own views but also about engaging with your readers and influencing public discourse. With practice and dedication, you can become a persuasive and impactful writer in the world of journalism.

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COMMENTS

  1. Writing a Research Article: The Introduction and Background Sections

    Introduction. Writing for publication is a discipline, or perhaps even a habit. Like all disciplines (and habits), your writing will develop through repetition and undoubtedly benefit from sage guidance. One of the heartening thing about writing research articles or any other publications is that there is an abundance of guidance available.

  2. How to Write a Good Introduction Section

    First impressions are important. Scientists need to make their work stand out among a sea of others. However, many mistakenly believe that first impressions are formed based only on titles and abstracts. In actuality, the introduction section is critical to making a real impression on the audience. The introduction is where authors outline ...

  3. Introduction to Writing to Inquire

    Writing for inquiry, also known as academic research writing, generally includes the following: Research Question: From projects written in first-year composition courses to doctoral dissertations, academic research projects seek to answer a research question. This question is focused. It's a question that can be answered through research.

  4. Drafting an Effective Introduction

    A key function of any introduction is to present your argument in such a way that your audience can enter the conversation and properly engage with your paper. Key questions to think about as you write your introduction with this in mind may include: Why would people want to read my paper in ...

  5. PhD Tips: Writing a Dissertation That Stands Out

    Structuring Your Argument. The backbone of a standout dissertation is a clear, logical, and compelling argument. Structure your dissertation in a way that each chapter builds upon the last, leading smoothly to a well-supported conclusion. Use clear headings and subheadings to guide the reader through your narrative, and make sure each section ...

  6. Chapter 7

    Chapter 7 - Primer. The structural elements to be applied in academic writing depend on the nature of the research project. Manifestations of academic writing range from student assignments and term papers to doctoral theses and other forms of complex research documentations. Some structural elements are always used in research papers. Other ...

  7. Informed Arguments: A Guide to Writing and Research

    Welcome to composition and rhetoric! While most of you are taking this course because it is required, we hope that all of you will leave with more confidence in your reading, writing, researching, and speaking abilities as these are all elements of freshman composition. Many times, these elements are presented in excellent textbooks written by top scholars. While the collaborators of this ...

  8. Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise

    Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise, precise, and meticulous is the key ... specific, clear, unbiased, honest, concise, precise, stand-alone, complete, scholarly, (preferably) structured, and should not be misrepresentative. The abstract should be consistent with the main text of the paper, especially after a ...

  9. Academic writing

    301 Recommends: Our Academic Writing Essentials workshop will explore the challenges of writing in an academic register and provide a range of strategies that can be used to develop your academic voice. The workshop will cover the use of language, structuring your writing and critical writing to take a holistic view of the writing process from a blank page through to a completed piece of work.

  10. Writing Clearly & Concisely

    Choose the word that most clearly conveys your meaning. English words generally have two types of meanings: a denotative meaning (the descriptive dictionary definition of a word) and a connotative meaning (the emotional impact of a word). The connotation can be positive or negative. For example, the words slender, thin, and skinny have the same ...

  11. Academic writing style

    Academic writing isn't about impressing people with 'big words' or being overly formal. The main aim is to be clear, concise and usually objective so that you can communicate your ideas effectively. Compare these two sentences - they contain the same information, but the better style example is much shorter, simpler and easier to understand.

  12. PDF Steps to Academic Writing

    With regard to length, many of the examples of essays in the essay units are around 250-300 words. Writing of this length is long enough to demonstrate good skills, but if you need to write longer answers, the basic structure can easily be expanded. You can fi nd some examples of longer answers in the Answer key (see below).

  13. Writing Introduction: Laying the Foundations of a Research Paper

    In the IMRaD structure, an introduction section plays an essential role in achieving the writer's intention of writing an article. It serves as the foundation for a research article (Bavdekar ...

  14. Report writing

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  15. Academic research and writing A concise introduction

    The Title is Academic research and writing:A concise introduction. If we have resources available we will share images. Pages Count - 00332. Binding type - Perfect. Books are released in many editions and variations, such as standard edition, re-issue, not for sale, promotional, special edition, limited edition, and many other editions and versions.

  16. What should I include in a research paper introduction?

    The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements: A hook to catch the reader's interest. Relevant background on the topic. Details of your research problem. and your problem statement. A thesis statement or research question. Sometimes an overview of the paper.

  17. How to write an introduction for a research paper

    3. Include signposts. A strong introduction includes clear signposts that outline what you will cover in the rest of the paper. You can signal this by using words like, "in what follows," and by describing the steps that you will take to build your argument. 4. Situate your argument within the scholarly conversation.

  18. 1: Introduction to Academic Writing

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  19. Sciences

    The major difference between science writing and writing in other academic fields is the relative importance placed on certain stylistic elements. This handout details the most critical aspects of scientific writing and provides some strategies for evaluating and improving your scientific prose. Readers of this handout may also find our handout ...

  20. PDF Research Writing: Starter Phrases

    Sometimes we find it difficult to find the right phrase to start sentences. At such times, a useful strategy is to borrow the phrases of others, known as 'syntactic borrowing' (Kamler & Thomson, 2006; Swales & Feak, 2004). To do this, look at some sentences in various sections of a research journal in your discipline and remove all the ...

  21. Writing an Academic Paper as an Undergraduate Researcher

    As an academic paper can have anywhere from five to hundreds of sources, I would also suggest using a citation manager as you write. This will save you from having to constantly update the sources in the paper as you add and revise. Submitting the Paper. In my case, my PI submitted the paper and is the primary contact with the journal.

  22. Writing an academic report

    In the introduction to your academic report, you present the research topic or question and explain why you chose to study that topic. You may also present a general overview of the work you did and your findings, expanding on these points further in the main body of the text. At the end of the introduction, you may want to present a brief ...

  23. Opinion Pieces and Editorials: A Comprehensive Writing Guide

    Opinion pieces and editorials are powerful tools for shaping public discourse and influencing opinions. By following this writing guide, you will be well-equipped to craft compelling and impactful pieces that resonate with readers. Remember, the key to success lies in thorough research, clear argumentation, and engaging storytelling.