Rules and Conventions of Academic Writing

Objective: Apply conventions of academic writing to a variety of texts and styles. As a music teacher and an owner of a private music tutoring business, it is important to know how to write and speak in a different context. Knowing how words that surround the main idea impacts that Idea.

In writing a letter, it is important to know your audience, the institution to which you are addressing, and the accepted norms of the time. To understand the contexts and style one must look at some context clues. These are definition/explanation, synonyms (restatement), contrast/antonym, inference and punctuation? With the definition clue, this is where a word or a phrase is used and its meaning is understood immediately after its use.

A restatement or synonym is used in writing where a hard word or phrase is used so that someone can understand easily. The Antonym clue is when opposites are used to help explain an idea. A signal word is a transitional word ‘But’. An inference occurs when the original sentence or a word is not clarified but it can be explained in other sentences. And finally, a punctuation clue is using quotation marks dashes bracket etc. to help infer a meaning.

In writing is important that you understand the difference between homophones and homonyms and how to use them correctly. When writing it is important to know the difference between words that are noun and words that are verbs even when the sound the same. By identifying this difference in how you spell the word would be different. It is also important to know the meaning of words that sound alike for example: quite means fairly while quiet means silent. And if not looked closely can be mistaken when writing.

Objective: Clearly articulate your ideas in ‘your own voice’. In finding your own voice it is important to know the different rhetorical contexts, then apply them to your writing. In Understanding the rhetorical context of writing, you must ask yourself the following questions. Who is writing (the author), what is the writer purpose or what is he/she tries to accomplish? What is the topic? What is the motivation or occasion the writer is writing about?

To accomplish finding your own voice it is important to be specific while keeping it simple. Writing short sentences using your active voice of subject-verb and object. Understanding that the shorter the paragraph the easier it is to read, this is very important when writing. Use, less qualifying words as this does not add to your meaning. Also, refrain from rambling and repeating yourself, it is more important to get to the point rather than being redundant. To get your own voice it is important to write what you know. This allows you to articulate with greater effectiveness.

In finding your voice it is important to generate your idea before you begin writing. Having an understanding of the components of a sentence will help you in putting ideas together. The components of a sentence are as follows; subject, predicate, clause, phrase and modifier. The subject refers to what or whom you are addressing. A predicate is a verb that tells you something about your subject. The clause is the added information in the sentence.

A clause can be independent or dependent. A dependent clause is a phrase that cannot stand by itself to make a sentence. While an independent clause is a phrase that can stand on its own as a sentence. Thus, a phrase is a dependent clause. However, there are different types of phrases such as noun phrase, adjective phrase. Adverb phrase and this phrase starts with a proposition. On the other hand, a prepositional phrase is also a modifier.

Objective: Understanding that writing and other creative outputs are a recursive process. This process includes four main steps these are; pre-writing (recording your ideas), drafting, redrafting and editing. The pre-writing process includes brainstorming takings notes. It also includes dialoguing with others and gathering information. The drafting process consists of putting your ideas into sentences and paragraphs. During this process, however, it is important to minimize words while at the same time getting your ideas across. In long sentences, you can use a comma to help present the idea. However, in using a comma the following rules should be applied:

To indicate a quick pause in the sentence.
Separating the subject and predicate. This is not applied if the meaning will become obscured.
When there are several nouns in the sentence
When the expression interrupts the flow of the sentence
To show when words have been omitted
When words are placed outside their natural position in a sentence
Sentences that begin with phrases with more than three words, a comma is used after the phrase.

Commas are used to distinguish a question from a statement and to introduce or interrupt a direct quote. It is also used in date’s separation and to show official titles when names are used.

In revising your document make sure that your sentences are as short as possible. Make sure your ideas are clear and concise. Be sure that there are a verb and subject-verb agreement. It is also important to formulate your idea in a way that the reader can follow and understand. This leads to you editing the document and checking for grammar, spelling and mechanics.

Objective: Demonstrate critical reading comprehension and evaluation skills. Critical reading allows the reader to apply certain models, processes, theories and questions that brings greater clarity and comprehension. With a critical thinker, he approaches the text with an open mind. As a reader you allow the story to develop, without trying to use your own idea to rewrite the text. It is important for you to be the audience. This allows the flow of the narrative to help create the story the author desire.

As a critical reader, it is important to learn clues about the writer. By reading the title and the introduction it can give you the reader an idea of the writer’s viewpoints, his approaches and the writer’s attitude. Reading slowly allows you the reader to make a better connection with the text. Never pass over a word you don’t understand. It is better you look it up the word and get the meaning, as every word is important. This is also true as technical words used in text allows you to see how it is being used and how you can apply them in another context.

When reading it is important that you take notes or highlight important points in each paragraph. Writing down the main points helps you to remember. It helps you to see the writer’s main idea and how this supports his thesis. By taking written notes it allows you to develop both skills.

The thesis involved making a claim which he tries to support in the text. This thesis statement declares your belief and what you will prove in the document. It is important, however, to make a distinction between a research project and where one is just stating facts. In writing a thesis statement it must have these attributes: can it be contested? Can the point be proven easily? Can your point be proven based on evidence? Can, it refutes any counterpoint posed? And does it avoid vague languages and the use of the first person?

Objective: Show an understanding of authorship and academic honesty. According to the Merriam Webster’s dictionary, authorship is the profession of writing, the state or act of writing, creating or causing.

To better understand authorship it is important to look at the author, who is the individual that creates the document. However, there are co-authors that may help in the process these persons must also be recognized. It is also important to identify the areas in which they have contributed. This allows for accountability on the work done.

Academic honesty suggests that work/ document being submitted is authentic and was done by the individual. If the document is submitted by the individual contains words or any idea from another, this must be acknowledged. This can come in many forms in having your work done by a parent or student (being a teacher this I have to deal with on a regular basis.), plagiarism or simple miss representing the facts. Being academically honest is important as it allows the reader to be able to trust your work both now and in the future.

Objective: Formulate and defend a thesis. It is important to understand what a thesis is and the different type of thesis for you to formulate and defend it. A thesis is designed to give the reader a basic knowledge of what your argument is about. As the reader reads they will see some elements of the statement in each paragraph. An essay can be written in three ways that are analytical, expository and argumentative. Having a knowledge of these will determine how the essay will be written.

In an argumentative essay, the written states a claim and then defends this claim in the body of the essay. The expository statement explains a topic and also list the areas of the topic to be discussed and the order it will be discussed in the document. Finally, the analytical thesis looks at an issue in a focused way, by breaking down, defining and evaluate the subject matter being discussed. In the analytical approach, the subject matter is would be found in the statement.

In order to write a good statement and essay, it is important that you read and review your materials. And you can divide them into the issue for and against your statement. It is important to also integrate other person’s idea into your argument. However, it is important that be careful of plagiarism. It is also important to state your source. Stating source can come in many ways, such as the MLA, Chicago and the APA styles. These styles are explained in depth on ‘Purdue online writing lab’ site.

Since writing comes in different forms such as a letter, reports. Proposals and even a critique. All these documents follow the same principle as an essay with some variation with their format. Having an understanding of how to approach each document is important. The structure of a report would have a title, summary, introduction, body, conclusion, recommendation and appendices (which have details to support your conclusion).

The proposal format can be seen at the following website ‘Office of Research services’. A critique has an introduction which has the title and the author, with a summary of your argument and your thesis statement. The body would support your argument by highlighting the relevant points. Your conclusion looks back at your statement and a summary of your critique.

Information gained from the following source

The Writing Center: https://www.csuohio.edu/writing-center/critical-reading-what-critical-reading-and-why-do-i-need-do-it

2.2 Authorship and Authorship Responsibilities


Council of Science Editors www.kean.edu/~roneilfi/How%20to%20write%20a%20thesis%20statement.htm
Merriam Webster Dictionary https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/authorship
Purdue Writing Lab: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.html
Pen and Pad: https://penandthepad.com/different-types-thesis-statements-2593.html
Career Anna June 10, 2016, Report Writing format and Sample Report: https://www.careeranna.com/articles/report-writing-format-sample-report/
Office of Research Services: http://www.ors.hawaii.edu/index.php/apply/proposal-development/proposal-format
South Eastern University: https://www2.southeastern.edu/Academics/Faculty/elejeune/critique.htm

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