covid 19

The Writing Corner on Academic Writing, Surviving the Pandemic, June 01

In our weekly newsletter, we present a series of topics designed to address students’ concerns about the elements and characteristics of academic writing. 

Last week I shared with you how my students and I delivered presentations via video chat where we talked about the music, literature, art, and other media from which we are drawing comfort and inspiration during these times.

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I hope that you found some kind of illumination if you read the essays, Coronavirus has led to an explosion of new words–and that helps us cope and How to Be Hopeful, Even in a Pandemic, that I had assigned to my students. Other essays my students and I have found thought-provoking include Arundhati Roy’s The Pandemic is a Portal and Mason Currey’s The Routines That Keep Us Sane. Should you find yourself with some extra time on your hands, I invite you to soak in these pieces; my hope is that you will find some inspiration or at least a sense of hope in the expressive prose of scholars and thinkers who are experiencing life as we are. Bonus: reading material in your target language is always great practice for language learners everywhere.

Citation Patterns

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One of the main tenets of research-based writing holds that source material should be integrated and cited appropriately and accurately. Students conducting research across all disciplines are expected to acquire mastery of research skills, source citation, and evaluation of source material among a number of other elements. Online sources such as Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) offer a wealth of information and guidance to the academic writer at any stage of the writing process. 

The OWL provides assistance in the form of video tutorials and sample papers for reference; academic writers can obtain help on anything from how to format a paper to how to integrate multi-authored sources in their own writing. Researchers in the sciences may even find additional guidance on the IEEE-style of referencing. Of course, researchers across all disciplines would benefit most from completing courses in academic writing given that those courses are designed to encourage student writers to write more and better based on carefully developed curriculum and assessment measures. Nevertheless, online sources such as the aforementioned are quite effective  complements when paired with course content. Happy writing and, as always, keep healthy and keep safe. 

by Leticia Medina