Academic writing follow-up post 9

Please allow me to jump in your discussion with Zeline. It seems that I have met a kindred spirit in the dashed expectation of “learning to craft fine academic writing” in this masterclass! However, rather than worry about thinking about Sword for the entire week, we can use the notion of style as a starting point for discussions that will ultimately be of more value to us.

You add Cottrell’s reasoning development (2005) and Moon’s critical thinking skills (2005) to Sword’s use of metaphor (2015). To this list, I’d like to add a few resources that have helped me locate areas for consideration in my own weak writing. I found Rowena Murray’s book with Sarah Moore (2006) to0 facile, but her recent solo work (Murray, 2013) contains a very useful chapter on “Finding a topic and developing an argument”. Like her earlier work, this tends to be formulistic, but she presents some insightful questions that may generate deeper thought into a topic. Another work that I found useful was Wallace and Poulson’s (2003) book on critical thinking. They present a “mental map” (p. 10) of how concepts build into perspectives and how these inform assumptions and ideologies. Like the Cottrell book, students need to reverse engineer the skills in order to analyse their own writing weaknesses to discover areas for improvement.

My question to you here is: how do you develop an argument? Six short words in that question.

Jim

P.S. Kudos on the “overcooked” diet. That brought a smile to my lips.

Cottrell, S. (2005). Critical Reading and Note-Making. Critical Thinking Skills, 147–166.

Moon, J. (2005). We seek it here …. HEA – Subject Centre for Education ESCalate.

Murray, R. (2013). Writing for academic journals. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Murray, R., & Moore, S. (2006). The Handbook of Academic Writing, 196.

Wallace, M., & Poulson, L. (2003). Critical reading for self-critical writing. In Learning to read critically in educational leadership and management (pp. 3–38). London: Sage.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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