In order for a writer to become familiar with some of the constraints of the discourse community they are writing for, a useful tool for the academic writer is to analyze prior work from the discourse community. The writer should look at the textual 'moves' in these papers, focusing on how they are constructed. Across most discourses communities, writers will:. Each of the 'moves' listed above are constructed differently depending on the discourse community the writer is in.
For example, the way a claim is made in a high school paper would look very different from the way a claim is made in a college composition class. Porter Contrary to some beliefs, this is by no means plagiarism. Writers should also be aware of other ways in which the discourse community shapes their writing.
Other functions of the discourse community include determining what makes a novel argument and what a 'fact' is. The following sections elaborate on these functions. It is important for any writer to distinguish between what is accepted as 'fact' and what is accepted as 'opinion'.
Wikipedia's article Fact misguides writers in their interpretation of what a fact actually is. The article states that "A fact derived from the Latin factum, see below is something that has really occurred or is actually the case".
But this is not how writers think of facts. Writing professionals hold that, "In a rhetorical argument, a fact is a claim that an audience will accept as being true without requiring proof". The audience can be thought of as a discourse community, and a fact can suddenly change to become an opinion if stated in a different discourse community. This is how writers within discourse communities manage to present new ideas to their communities.
Any new opinion would need to be proven by making a rhetorical argument, in which the writer would weave together what his or her intended audience will accept as 'facts' in a way that supports his or her idea.
Therefore, knowing the intended discourse community is a very important part of writing. Across discourse communities, what is considered factual may fluctuate across each community. A key concept in this change is learning to recognize that facts aren't so much inherently true statements as they are claims-that is, assertions that most of a given audience has agreed are true because for that audience sufficient proof has already been given.
You, like most people, would probably classify the statement "the Earth is round" as a "fact. What Kantz wants us to see is that what makes the statement a fact is not how "true" the statement is but that most people have agreed that it's true and treat it as true. Statements about which we haven't reached this consensus remain claims, statements that people argue about.
Kantz's work here demonstrates why it's so important to read texts-even "factual" works like textbooks and encyclopedias-as consisting of claims, not facts. Within discourse communities, writers build on top of the ideas established by previous writers. One of the most common misconceptions about writing is the idea of the 'lonely writer'; that great writers' papers are filled almost entirely with original ideas and messages.
But this is simply not the case. Discourse communities introduce new ideas and claims, and from these, writers expand on them. James Porter, a scholar of Rhetoric at Indiana University, uses The Declaration of Independence as an example to illustrate this point. Porter points out that Jefferson merely pulled the phrase "That all men are created equal" straight from his commonplace book he made as a boy.
Porter also points out that, "'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness'" was a cliche of the times, appearing in numerous political documents.
Jefferson wrote this great work by weaving together the intertext of his discourse community. As Greene describes in his article, "Argument as Conversation", academic writing can be thought of metaphorically as a conversation between those in the discourse community. Just like in a conversation when you listen to the ideas of the others who are involved and formulate your own opinion on the topic, a writer may be reading a paper done by another writer in the discourse community and from this paper, the scholar may obtain inspiration to expand the claims expressed in the paper or address them from other angles.
Good academic writers know the importance of researching previous work from within the discourse community and using this work to build their own claims. By taking these ideas and expanding upon them or applying them in a new way, a writer is able to make their novel argument. Intertextuality is the combining of past writings into original, new pieces of text.
The term intertextuality was coined in by Julia Kristeva. All texts are necessarily related to prior texts through a network of links, writers often unwittingly make use of what has previously been written and thus some degree of borrowing is inevitable. This generally occurs within a specific discourse community. When you analyze, you break the whole into parts so that you might see the whole differently.
In the process of analysis, you find things that you might say. When you analyze, you break down a text into its parts.
When you synthesize, you look for connections between ideas. Consider once again the Hitchcock film. In analyzing this film, you might come up with elements that seem initially disparate. You may have some observations that at first don't seem to gel. Or you may have read various critical perspectives on the film, all of them in disagreement with one another.
Now would be the time to consider whether these disparate elements or observations might be reconciled, or synthesized. This intellectual exercise requires that you create an umbrella argument - some larger argument under which several observations and perspectives might stand. Many students writing in college have trouble figuring out what constitutes an appropriate topic.
Sometimes the professor will provide you with a prompt. She will give you a question to explore, or a problem to resolve. When you are given a prompt by your professor, be sure to read it carefully. Your professor is setting the parameters of the assignment for you. She is telling you what sort of paper will be appropriate. In many cases, however, the professor won't provide you with a prompt. She might not even give you a topic. For example, in a psychology course you might be asked to write a paper on any theory or theories of self.
Your professor has given you a subject, but she has not given you a topic. Nor has she told you what the paper should look like. Should it summarize one of the theories of self?
Should it compare two or more theories? Should it place these theories into some historical context? Should it take issue with these theories, pointing out their limitations? At this juncture, you have two options: It's always a good idea to talk with the professor. At the very least, you'll want to find out if the professor wants a report or a paper. In other words, is your professor looking for information or argument?
Chances are she'll want you to make an argument. It will be up to you to narrow your topic and to make sure that it's appropriately academic. As you think about a topic, ask yourself the following questions:. When writing an academic paper, you must not only consider what you want to say, you must also consider to whom you are saying it.
In other words, it's important to determine not only what you think about a topic, but also what your audience is likely to think. What are your audience's biases? To whom are you writing, and for what purpose? When you begin to answer all of these questions, you have started to reckon with what has been called "the rhetorical stance. Let's first consider your relationship to your topic. When you write a paper, you take a stand on a topic.
You determine whether you are for or against, passionate or cool-headed. You determine whether you are going to view this topic through a particular perspective feminist, for example , or whether you are going to make a more general response. You also determine whether you are going to analyze your topic through the lens of a particular discipline - history, for example.
Your stance on the topic depends on the many decisions you have made in the reading and thinking processes. In order to make sure that your stance on a topic is appropriately analytical, you might want to ask yourself some questions. Begin by asking why you've taken this particular stance.
Why did you find some elements of the text more important than others? Does this prioritizing reflect some bias or preconception on your part? If you dismissed part of a text as boring or unimportant, why did you do so?
Do you have personal issues or experiences that lead you to be impatient with certain claims? Is there any part of your response to the text that might cause your reader to discount your paper as biased or un-critical?
If so, you might want to reconsider your position on your topic. Your position on a topic does not by itself determine your rhetorical stance. You must also consider your reader. In the college classroom, the audience is usually the professor or your classmates - although occasionally your professor will instruct you to write for a more particular or more general audience.
No matter who your reader is, you will want to consider him carefully before you start to write. What do you know about your reader and his stance towards your topic? What is he likely to know about the topic? What biases is he likely to have? Moreover, what effect do you hope to have on the reader? Is your aim to be controversial? Will the reader appreciate or resent your intention? Once you have determined who your reader is, you will want to consider how you might best reach him. If, for example, you are an authority on a subject and you are writing to readers who know little or nothing about it, then you'll want to take an informative stance.
If you aren't yet confident about a topic, and you have more questions than answers, you might want to take an inquisitive stance. In any case, when you are deciding on a rhetorical stance, choose one that allows you to be sincere.
You don't want to take an authoritative stance on a subject if you aren't confident about what you are saying. On the other hand, you can't avoid taking a position on a subject: What if you are of two minds on a subject? Declare that to the reader.
Make ambivalence your clear rhetorical stance. Finally, don't write simply to please your professor. Though some professors find it flattering to discover that all of their students share their positions on a subject, most of us are hoping that your argument will engage us by telling us something new about your topic - even if that "something new" is simply a fresh emphasis on a minor detail.
Moreover, it is impossible for you to replicate the "ideal paper" that exists in your professor's head. When you try, you risk having your analysis compared to your professor's. Do you really want that to happen? In high school you might have been taught various strategies for structuring your papers. Some of you might have been raised on the five paragraph theme, in which you introduce your topic, come up with three supporting points, and then conclude by repeating what you've already said.
Others of you might have been told that the best structure for a paper is the hour-glass model, in which you begin with a general statement, make observations that are increasingly specific, and then conclude with a statement that is once again general. When you are writing papers in college, you will require structures that will support ideas that are more complex than the ones you considered in high school.
Your professors might offer you several models for structuring your paper. They might tell you to order your information chronologically or spatially, depending on whether you are writing a paper for a history class or a course in art history. Or they may provide you with different models for argument: No prefab model exists that will provide adequate structure for the academic argument.
For more detailed advice on various ways to structure your paper, see Writing: Considering Structure and Organization. When creating an informed argument, you will want to rely on several organizational strategies, but you will want to keep some general advice in mind. Your introduction should accomplish two things: Often writers will do the latter before they do the former.
That is, they will begin by summarizing what other scholars have said about their topic, and then they will declare what they are adding to the conversation. Apparently, there are some tips and recommendations that can facilitate the process of writing an essay and simplify the life of a student. The core aspect of any essay is a deep thesis and a system of strong supporting materials. Thus, the first thing an author is supposed to do is to examine the topic and research it.
Understanding the question is the basis for a successful accomplishment of the assignment. The latter should be a foundation for a few carefully reviewed and edited drafts that turn into a final version of the essay. Following the simple algorithm enables a student to prepare a sophisticated academic paper.
However, there are certain circumstances when a person cannot dedicate enough time to the assignment and to get the desired result. In such conditions one more academic writing tip will be useful: Experienced native speakers that possess all the required academic writing skills are ready to offer their services and to help out the students in need.
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Academic writing is conducted in several sets of forms and genres, normally in an impersonal and dispassionate tone, targeted for a critical and informed audience, based on closely investigated knowledge, and intended to .
Academic writing is characterized by evidence-based arguments, precise word choice, logical organization, and an impersonal tone.
Academic writing skills Regardless the type of an essay that should be written, a student has to be familiar with and to possess the skills that underlie an effective academic writing. There is a certain per cent of people naturally predisposed to writing. Academic writing refers to a style of expression that researchers use to define the intellectual boundaries of their disciplines and their specific areas of expertise.
A broad definition of academic writing is any writing done to fulfill a requirement of a college or university. Academic writing is also used for publications that are read by teacher and researchers or presented at conferences. What is Academic Writing? There are many types of writing that fall under the academic-writing umbrella. Use the links below to learn about the various types of academic writing and the processes associated with producing effective writing.