Refining Technique in Academic Writing

  I wrote briefly last week about the importance of technique in academic writing.   Academic writing is, above all else, a specialised form of communication, which remains true whether we are teaching essay writing to first year students or working on a journal article addressing our research. Articles, essays, theses, and dissertations are all … Continue reading Refining Technique in Academic Writing

Developing Student Self-Reflexivity In Secondary Source Research

Yesterday I wrote about how I introduce secondary source research to students.  Those 7 questions, are, of course, only the starting point for helping students to get the full benefit from engaging with the work of other thinkers.When our students are working with secondary source material in their writing, we should be encouraging them to … Continue reading Developing Student Self-Reflexivity In Secondary Source Research

7 Questions to Help Students Use and Understand Secondary Sources

The university-level study of English is paradoxically both an individual and collaborative effort, with students developing their own analytical skills while simultaneously learning to think in collaborative ways with tutors and fellow students.  What this paradox demonstrates, of course, is that communicating with those around you plays a significant role in the development of ideas, … Continue reading 7 Questions to Help Students Use and Understand Secondary Sources

The Art and Science of Academic Writing

Academic writing is both an art form and a science.  Various conventions of style and argumentation have emerged because they tend to produce clear, effective pieces of writing. To a great extent, the conventions of grammar that we will be covering must be taken as rules that must be followed.  But conventions of structure, organization, … Continue reading The Art and Science of Academic Writing

Analytical Evidence

Textual Analysis, or 'close reading' You might be surprised to discover that the academic discipline of English literature, as we know it today, only came into existence around 1900.  Eager to make the study of English literature an academically rigorous undertaking, early twentieth-century literary critics sought to codify and professionalize their discipline, and developed a … Continue reading Analytical Evidence

Drafting: The Reader Sees / The Writer Sees

Once you have finished the draft of your first essay and you are happy with your work, leave it for a few days and move on to something else. Then, when you come back to it, read through it twice. The first time, imagine that you are a reader who has never seen the essay … Continue reading Drafting: The Reader Sees / The Writer Sees

Prewriting: The Three Questions

Academic essays at university level arenʼt just a form of assessment. Academic essay writing is part of the learning process itself, and the research that you will undertake is a part of your intellectual growth. You are not expected to simply summarize the ideas that you have learned in your module. Instead, you are expected … Continue reading Prewriting: The Three Questions

The Sources at Your Disposal

PRINT SOURCES BOOKS In the contemporary study of language and literature, single-author books customarily run to around 250 pages because that is generally just about the length needed for a highly sophisticated, yet tightly focused argument based upon the conventions of argumentation in these fields. It is likely that a great deal of your research … Continue reading The Sources at Your Disposal

Advice for New Students of English Literature

Read Widely Perhaps the most important advice for English literature students is to read widely.  While you will certainly be doing a great deal of reading for each of your modules, don’t forget about your own personal reading interests.  Periodicals such as The New Yorker, The Times Literary Supplement, The Atlantic Monthly, and Monocle are … Continue reading Advice for New Students of English Literature