This unit is concerned with general organization of academic writing (e.g. a review and project), its structure and particularly the way in which the different parts are linked together.
Most pieces of writing are organized in a similar way: introduction, development of main ideas and conclusion.
It is essential to divide your writing into paragraphs. A paragraph normally contains several sentences and the key sentence is usually the first one, which contains the main idea of the topic. The other sentences support it by adding further information or examples. A paragraph should be linked logically with the previous and following paragraphs.
When we develop arguments in academic writing, we normally need to present a balanced view. We must also ensure that facts and opinions are clearly separated.
According to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, a review is a report by somebody giving her or his opinion of a book, film, paper, etc. It has the following structure:
Opinions and Recommendations
● Introduction gives the title of the article, the authors name, the book in which it is published and the reasons you have chosen this article.
● Paragraph 2 gives the main idea, examples, details.
● Paragraph 3 analyses advantages and disadvantages, develops the main idea.
● Conclusion summarises the main points, gives views and what is very important recommendations.
When writing a review bear in mind that there are many useful phrases which can help you in reviews.
The text (article / paper / publication) is published in the book
The text is taken from the book
The author of the book is
The text is devoted to
The book (magazine, journal) publishes the text under the title
The text is entitled .
The text informs (tells us about / points out that / stresses that / presents, etc.)
The author describes (reviews / offers / clearly explains / starts by telling about, etc)
Paragraphs 2 and 3
The main (key) problem (question) of the text (article) is
The basic aim (purpose) of the text, in my opinion, is to show .
Brief (full) information about .. is given in
The text is divided into 2 (3, 4, etc.) parts
The first part is about .
The second part tells (informs) us about
In the first place
The text is organised into the following parts
In the text the author gives interesting data about
The text gives some interesting facts, for example,
Then the text passes on the problem of
It is necessary to point out that
Special attention is given to
The author gives numerous examples in order to illustrate
There are some figures
Figure 1 shows the scheme (diagram / graph / table) of
In figure 2 you see
On the whole
On the one hand / on the other hand
It is fact that
A lot of people think (believe) that
What is more /Moreover / Besides / Therefore / Thus
On the basis of the above information we come to the following conclusion
I think / I believe
In my opinion / To my mind
It seems to me that
As far as I am concerned
Finally / To sum up
Taking everything into account
The main advantage (disadvantage) of this text is
The best feature of this text is
The only drawback I noticed is that
I particularly enjoyed the second part, because
I recommend this (well-written / topical) text (highly) to
11.1. Choose five most important recommendations which you think will help you to improve your academic writing.
1. Write precisely: clearly and accurately.
2. Use correct language: grammar, vocabulary, spelling, etc.
3. Organise the writing carefully: introduction, main body, and conclusion.
4. Write legibly: handwriting should be easy to read.
5. Write in an academic style: without using colloquial language.
6. Avoid very long sentences.
7. Be rational, critical, honest and objective.
8. Carefully paragraph the writing.
9. Avoid too much repetition.
10. Check details carefully.
11. Ensure that the opening paragraph is not too long and that it creates a good impression.
12. Pay as much attention to the conclusion as to the introduction.
13. Avoid the use of jargon, propaganda, exaggeration, and emotive language.
14. Ensure that ideas and items are logically connected.
15. Finally add some advice of your own that is not covered in the list above.
11.2. Read the review below and answer the questions:
Which tenses are used?
What is the purpose of each paragraph?
What useful phrases are used in the review?
Is this a good example of the review or not? Give reasons.
The title of the article I have just read is Air Pollution. It is published in a famous journal National Geography and once more proves the importance of the discussed topic.
The author begins the article with some historical background and then gives a detailed analysis of the problem of air pollution. The idea is not new, of course, but we must agree that it remains very topical nowadays. Generally speaking the article is organised into 6 parts. Part 1 recounts the history and gives some definitions, e.g. air pollution management and monitoring. Part 2 describes industrial processes causing pollution in such big cities as London and Tokyo. Part 3 clearly explains the sources of harmful emissions, mentioning industrial complexes, motor vehicles and power plants. Part 4 compares big cities, small towns and rural areas. Moreover it gives additional information about toxic and hazardous sources of pollution. I really enjoyed reading part 5 because it is a good bridge to the next part. Only 10 sentences long it presents impressive possibilities of antipollution measures. Unfortunately in the last section the author comes to a distressful conclusion: although millions of dollars are spent to reduce the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere, this battle is endless and often not very successful.
I personally believe that the main advantages of this article are the following: all problems are covered from many points of view and vivid examples are represented to support them. In addition to this it is well written from all standpoints: the content, topic, style and structure. That is why I heartily recommend this article for those who are doing ecology and geography it will provide you with many things to think about.
11.3. And now read a similar review of the same article. This model is not a good one and your task is to explain why.
This article under the title Air Pollution, deals with one of the most essential problems of today. The article is divided into several paragraphs each to describe the problem from different sides.
The author starts with the origin of the problem and the first steps taken to solve it. He mentions, that people did not consider air pollution as a problem a century ago, but nowadays almost everybody realizes it. Evidently to catch readers attention the author gives a comprehensive picture of a modern city. From my point of view this paragraph, the largest one, is the best one for its insight.
All in all the paper is clearly written and relatively easy to read. The only drawback I noticed is that it says nothing specific about the problem. A primary goal is a list of organisations concerned with the quality of urban air. The readership if this article intends to attract students and all the people who want to get general information about air pollution. The epilogue of this article, however, remains the question of air pollution open.
11.4. Are the statements true (T) or false (F)?
1. Reviews do not include the writers view point.
2. The present tense is usually used in the description.
3. Each new topic is introduced in a new paragraph.
4. Linking words should be included in your writing.
5. The last paragraph never summarises the article.
6. Always justify your point of view.
7. The heading of the article should always be mentioned.
8. Students always have some difficulties writing in English.
11.5. Which verbs are similar in meaning?
1. analyse a) show
2. characterise b) make clear
3. classify c) demonstrate
4. explain d) describe
5. express e) examine
6. list f) propose
7. illustrate g) arrange into groups
8. suggest h) mention things one after another
11.6. Fill in the gaps with the words from activity 11.5. Mind grammar tense.
1. The report .. various ways of solving the problem.
2. In 1918 W. Köppen .. climates in 5 categories.
3. Last year British scientists .. samples of leaves taken from the sea.
4. To put pictures in a book means to .. it.
5. At the end of the course paper the books are .. alphabetically.
6. The author .. his own opinions in his books.
7. Bright colours .. his paintings.
8. Science cannot .. everything.
11.7. Match the two parts of the sentences.
1. There is acid in that bottle, therefore
a) the icy road continuous.
2. The accident occurred because of
b) cold it is.
3. He passed his examinations because
c) they had to turn round.
4. Lots of factories closed down, thus
d) he worked hard.
5. She leaves all the windows open, however
e) everyone played well.
6. We lost the game although
f) many people lost their jobs.
7. A tree had fallen across the road, so
g) the rain.
8. We went out in spite of
h) it must be handled very carefully.
11.8. Fill in the words in bold. Remember that:
who / that refers to peoplewhich / that refers to things
where is used for places
1. The article .. I have just finished reading is very clearly written.
2. A professor is a person .. works in a university.
3. The book .. I finished last year has just been published.
4. A school is an institution .. children are educated.
5. An encyclopaedia is a book .. gives information on subjects.
6. There are a number of languages .. are descended from Latin.
7. The difficulties .. you have when writing in English may be in grammar and spelling.
8. A university is a place .. students get higher education.
11.9. Match the words with their definitions.
a) an article that gives opinion about something
c) an examination of something
d) a list of questions
e) a long piece of writing on a particular subject that do for a university degree.
f) a brief statement of some points
11.10. Read Alis essay. Then match the paragraphs A - I with these topics: