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English for Academic Writing

已有 5992 次阅读 2008-5-30 20:48

English for Academic Writing

Academic paper is a way for scholars communicating with each other. It is different from normal articles such as novels, essays, poems etc. So academic writing has its own characteristics, complexity, formality, objectivity, explicitness, hedging and responsibility. It is also formal in style. The purpose for academic writing is to exchange ideas and make your idea accepted by others in the same field. One must have a correct attitude to treat academic writing. There are several aspects should be notified, which will be explained in detail in the following paragraphs.

1.       Complexity

Academic writing has its own style. It often use complex sentences, none phrases, instead of simple sentences and verb based phrases. It is recommended by experts who have done distinguished work in some field. You should have a good understanding about your readers. It is used to inform others about your research progress, so passive voice is often selected. If you are an authority, you can adopt active voice, in my opinion.

2.       Formality

Formality is another requirement for academic writing. Written English is a good choice, spoken English should be avoided. It also shows your attitude in science. Use terminologies as long as you can. Academic paper has special readers, avoid writing a paper for all. Remember your readers are those who doing research in the some field as you.

3.       Objectivity

Academic paper often describes some theories or techniques, so it should be objective. You should use figures, numbers, and experimental results to tell your readers what progress you have achieved. If you add your personal idea in it, which is not obvious but your speculation, the paper may inform some wrong ideas to others. We must respect fairness of science.

4.       Explicitness

Academic paper should directly relate to the theme and be written linearly. Firstly, you should introduce our research background, and raise the question you want to solve. Secondly, give your scheme and results. Rational analysis is also important. Finally, writing a summary about your paper, and point out your creativity or innovation. Avoid using spiral style, what you should do is just explain what you have done explicitly and clearly.

5.       Hedging

Language used in academic writing is also important. When we evaluate our work, we should also pay attention to the language. This is also called hedging. When we do not sure about you research results, we should use some hedging expressions, such as may, could, probably, likely etc. Hedging expressions allow scientists to present their knowledge cautiously. It can also encourage audience do further discussion or deeply thinking. Sometimes, it avoids the author’s involvement due the impossibility to reach the absolute accuracy of facts as well. So the importance of hedging is evidence.

6.       Responsibility

For the respect of science, it is our responsibility to what we have written. Plagiarism happen more in Chinese writers than other country. Citing other’s paper is allowed. We should also give all the important papers we cited in the reference. First, we must acknowledge the achievement of others, unless they are indeed wrong. Data fabrication is not allowed. All the results you obtained may be rational. Find appropriate reasons to explain way you get such results, while fabricate data to fit your experiment.

In the conclusion, I want to say academic writing is very important for scientists and technical workers. We should treat it seriously.



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