Academic Writing



Academic Writing
Robin Bagon

Course Description Through a combination of writing exercises and close readings of academic texts, this course will hone the writing skills of students in a manner which will benefit them across the rest of their academic studies. This course will offer a focussed analysis of the purpose of academic writing and will consider the features and techniques of effective writing. We will read and analyse a range of essays to foster an understanding of the range of possibilities within the genre and each class will concentrate on a different aspect of writing starting at word level and making our way towards a consideration of the organisation of whole texts.

The course is assessed in the following way:

  • Four critical responses to articles. 5% per essay (total 20%). 400-600 words per response (due on the Sunday sessions of weeks 3 to 6).
  • In-class presentation of an article (10%). These will take place from week four onwards. Students will need to source their articles.
  • Outline of research paper. Mandatory (not graded). Due in week eight.
  • Draft of research paper (20%). 1500 words minimum. Due in week nine.
  • Student conference to discuss draft and revisions. Mandatory (not graded).
  • Final research paper (50%). 2000 words.

Attendance to all sessions is compulsory and absence from more than three sessions will result in failure of the entire course.
Finally, please note that you must read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1899) before the start of the course.


Course Outline


  Sunday Session Tuesday Session
Week One (week beginning 30th Oct) – Words and Sentences Purpose of academic writing
Levels of formality
Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle. “How to Write.”
Week Two (6th Nov) - The Paragraph Topic sentence and paragraph structure
Researching articles
Edward W. Said “Two visions in Heart of Darkness.” How to write a critical response. 
Week Three (13thNov) - The Thesis statement (1st critical response due) Thesis statements
Journal writing
Chinua Achebe “An Image of Africa.”
Week Four (20th Nov)– The introduction and conclusion (2nd critical response due) Introductions and conclusions
Preparation for first assessment
From week four onwards, the Tuesday session will be devoted to the study of articles presented by students
Week Five (27th Nov) - The Plan
(3rd critical response due)
Week Six (4th Dec) – Citations and plagiarism
(4th critical response due)
Methods and purpose of citations
Avoiding plagiarism
Week Seven (11th Dec) – Formal fallacies Common logical fallacies  
Week Eight (18th Dec) – The process
Outline of research paper due
The writing process
Error correction
Peer-review of outlines
Week Nine (25th Dec) – Outstanding issues
Draft of research paper due
No class – Hanukah holiday  

Week Ten (1st Jan) – Student Conference

Discussion of drafts and revisions  


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