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12

With the disclaimer that I'm neither a tech writer or tech editor: Scientific and academic books are generally organized by function. Unlike a narrative book where the chapters are broken down by feel or by narrative rhythm, a scientific or academic book has a certain amount of material to cover, and it makes logical sense to divide the book according to ...


9

I don't have any special knowledge of journalism, but I have a fair amount of experience with academic writing as well as giving advice to my grad students. Here's my take, all at the paper level: You're right about the possibility of sensationalism. I tell some of my students to imagine someone reading their work twenty years from now. Too much enthusiasm ...


8

In response to your specific question, I would say that ghostwriting is NOT illegal. However, I would say that it IS unethical, unfair, cheating, and a violation of academic policies. We had a discussion on this topic on the meta site a short while back after someone had asked about how to lower his writing standards to make it seem more like he was a ...


8

I am an english student, so if you are teaching, you already far outmatch me in ability, however, these are my thoughts. Sometimes, although is sounds a little bit insane, it is possible to create someone in your mind to critically analyse your work. Try this. Imagine a sarcastic, witty imp, sitting on your favourite shoulder. He knows nothing but the ...


8

Since we don't have the sample text that was analyzed, it's hard to answer this question in any specific sense. But I'd guess that this overuse of prepositions is actually the overuse of prepositional phrases. You can't eliminate prepositions, since English depends on them so heavily, but you can minimize them. Background Let's back up here: What's a ...


7

The best answer I ever heard was from an English professor: "Write as if you're explaining the text to a slightly stupider classmate."


7

I can think of an exercise which might help - although I'm not sure how efficient it would be - if the students would be able to solve it. Chose a set of sources for them and give them a task that forces cross-referencing, comparing and binding them. For example, give the students a task of examining and proving or disproving a claim in source A (which you ...


6

It's going to be difficult to give an absolute answer to any legal question since laws and their interpretation vary widely by jurisdiction. Also, IANAL. But, in general terms - are you looking for a way to see it as illegal to sell the papers? I can see buying (and using) the essays being seen as fraud, as well as being against academic honesty policies, ...


6

Use Latin when it makes sense to use Latin, not because you want to impress, which could turn your piece into an illegible mess. Perhaps there's a specific scientific or legal phrase in Latin that you need to use because that's the accepted standard among the scientific community. I would strongly suggest researching in your particular area to see how others ...


6

I think the answer for this is going to depend on your audience. "I" and "We" are both first person, and the use of first person is usually considered more casual, and not suited for formal writing in many academic fields. But I think this rule is relaxing, and your instructor may or may not want you to follow it. I'd check. Assuming you're allowed to ...


6

I gave you an upvote for your question: I wish more on SO would ask it. Good SO questions and answers are hard work. I try to improve my questions by finding and studying good questions. I think that good questions have been edited and worked over to share some attributes: They are succinct: not too wordy or overlong. They are free of lazy jargon and ...


6

Contractions are, by their very nature, informal, as they tend to be more frequently used for speech than writing. However, you don't necessarily always have to avoid them: although the APA Style Guide recommends avoiding them for academic writing, other style guides, e.g. Chicago Manual of Style, recommend using them, for when "used thoughtfully, ...


6

An abstract is a quick summary or overview of the entire piece. It's used for search results (manual or computerized) — basically, the reader is saying, "Is this the piece I need as a source for X task?" The introduction can vary in information and tone. It can be the classic "Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em," it can be a way to guide the ...


6

Short answer: You can't. But you shouldn't worry about it. Good textbooks get updated. They are refreshed and corrected, new material is added, things are changed to reflect reader/student/teacher feedback, and items which are no longer valid are removed. This is a good thing. I'm not saying you have to put out a new edition every year, but updating a ...


5

It sounds like you have a very understanding prof - I'd take advantage of that! Maybe you could write a children's book about it - how could you simplify the experiment to a level that a child (teenager?) could perform at home, using household objects? You could have a side-panel that explains how it was done in the lab, if that's needed for academic ...


5

I am not certain if it is what you are looking for, but you can get the xml or unixref formatted citations from DOI on the CrossRef website. Also Connotea is freeware that will produce similar citation formats. If you specifically interested in LaTeX (i.e. BibTeX) formatting, you may be interested in these answers on the TeX site. And on the CrossRef ...


5

I commend you for wanting to improve your writing. :) You can look at how other people have edited your questions and compare the changes. For example, in your question above: I'm a member of some SE sites, like SO and CSTheory. You need "and" between two items in a list. You need to end a sentence with a period. In those sites I'm an active member. ...


5

When is it acceptable to refer to an undefined group of people in academic writing? I'd say only when such group has been defined previously in the text. Academic writing is about specificity. Think of dictionary definitions. What makes a definition valid? That it can only be applied to that particular thing you are referring to (you wouldn't define a rat ...


5

Way back in 10th grade, when we were learning how to do research papers on the back of a coal shovel, our teacher had us take all our notes on 3x5 cards. We had to submit them as part of the grade — she actually went around with a bag and we had to toss in our rubber-banded stack of cards. Edit to clarify: Each card had one note or thought on it: ...


5

An abstract should cover the whole paper. It reports what the paper is for, what you did and the conclusion. E.g. This paper explores the hypothesis that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. The experiment classifies new tricks as tricks the dog hasn't learned before. Six dogs were used in the trial. Three old, three not old. Two tricks were used. One ...


4

You may want to look into academic journals in your subject areas, although the authors in academic journals are often professors or graduate students. Professors at your university should be able to tell you if you can qualify, what journals are available, what would be a good fit, and how the submission process works. At many universities students are ...


4

The answer is going to depend on context, and the consistency of your usage. The "I" in your example quote clearly refers to you, the author, and does not include the reader. Replacing "I" with "we" does indicate you are referring to both you and the reader. However, you have to be cautious, because the context could change. For example, you could reach ...


4

Take a look at creative nonfiction. This approach relies on facts like a journalist, but uses the literary techniques of a novelist. Lee Gutkind has promoted this genre extensively through Creative Nonfiction magazine and several books. You may be able to find some of them in your library. There's a book by Philip Gerard, also titled Creative Nonfiction, ...


4

The fifth of George Orwells Five Rules is: Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. Use of Latin (or French or German or any 'foreign phrase') can appear an affectation unless there is a strong justification.


4

One key to academic writing is to think about grammar. Unless you are a completely fluent speaker who has spent much time thinking about grammar in the past so that it is effortless to get it correct, you will make grammatical errors unless you think about it. This will distract and confuse your readers. Other aspects of presenting a question--for ...


4

I don't think that there is a general rule about dropping articles from the title, esp. in academic research papers, however, according to the book, How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, a title of a paper is its label, and should therefore be succinct in its description. [Specifically,] the meaning and order of the words in the title are of ...


4

Well, having been a Social Science major and a Journalism minor who has written several academic papers and worked for a variety of newspapers and magazines here is the difference for me. In academic writing you generally introduce a topic by presenting a thesis or a hypothesis, then you lay out the premise of the discussion, then you discuss the topic and ...


4

Chicago Style states that bibliographic list entries should be of the format: Author last name, Author first name. Title. Location of press: Press name, Year Published See here for more: http://www.isr.bucknell.edu/img/assets/6535/chicago.pdf A quick scan through my bookshelf, and I can't find a single bibliography that puts the title first before the ...


4

Such "metadiscourse" can help guide the reader through a complex line of reasoning. "Use these phrases liberally" seems like coarse advice, perhaps useful until students can distinguish for themselves whether the text requires such orientation, or until they can write the text so that it orients the reader without the burden of phrases like these.


4

Here is a mishmash of ideas... A common way to open is to state your conclusion as concisely and directly as you can. You don't always need exciting. Consider intriguing or surprising. Maybe controversial. What do you want the reader to feel right from the start? It isn't always excitement, but it's always some feeling. Curiosity. Outrage. Wonder. Humor. ...



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