Academic Writing for International Students


The challenge of writing in English
Most international students who come to college or university to study on English-language courses can speak the language well enough for everyday activities such as shopping and travelling. But they may be surprised to find that writing notes, essays and reports in English is much more difficult. There are several reasons for this situation.

Firstly, while speaking is normally done face to face, so that you can see if the listener understands what you say, when writing we cannot see the reader, so we must write as clearly as possible to make our work easy to understand. Additionally, with academic writing, writers and readers must learn special conventions, such as using capital letters in certain places. If you do not follow these rules, your meaning may be unclear and your teacher could find it hard to assess your work. There is also the issue of vocabulary, since in most academic subjects students are expected to use a semi-formal vocabulary which is different from the idiomatic language of normal speech.


Part 1 The Writing Process
1.1 Basics of Writing
1.2 Reading: Finding Suitable Sources
1.3 Reading: Developing Critical Approaches
1.4 Avoiding Plagiarism
1.5 From Understanding Essay Titles to Planning
1.6 Finding Key Points and Note-making
1.7 Summarising and Paraphrasing
1.8 References and Quotations
1.9 Combining Sources
1.10 Organising ParagraphsParagraph structure
1.11 Introductions and Conclusions
1.12 Rewriting and Proofreading

Part 2 Elements of Writing
2.1 Argument and Discussion
2.2 Cause and Effect
2.3 Comparison
2.4 DefinitionsSimple definitions
2.5 Examples
2.6 Generalisations
2.7 Problems and Solutions
2.8 Visual Information

Part 3 Language Issues
3.1 Cohesion
3.2 Definite Articles
3.3 Numbers
3.4 Passive and Active
3.5 Punctuation
3.6 Singular or Plural?
3.7 Style
3.8 Time Markers

Part 4 Vocabulary for Writing
4.1 Approaches to Vocabulary
4.2 Abbreviations
4.3 Academic Vocabulary: Nouns and Adjectives
4.4 Academic Vocabulary: Verbs and Adverbs
4.5 Conjunctions
4.6 Prefixes and Suffixes
4.7 Prepositions
4.8 Synonyms

Part 5 Writing Models
5.1 Case Studies
5.2 Literature Reviews and Book Reviews
5.3 Writing Longer Papers
5.4 Reports
5.5 Writing Letters and Emails
5.6 Writing in Groups

‘This book is an excellent example of inclusive teaching. It is aimed primarily at international students, but reaches further, as it is equally useful for British students and students who come from a more
practice-focused background. It is also a strong companion to books on research methods that need a solid basis for academic skills. The clear structure, accessible content, and well thought through activities
in this book all give students the confidence to write effective academic work without the fear of breaking rules of plagiarism or academic malpractice. This is the book I recommend to all my students at the beginning of each academic year, independent of the subject I teach and the composition of my cohort.’
Ixchell Reyes, University of Southern California, USA


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