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ERIC Number: EJ927071
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 59
ISSN: ISSN-0098-6291
Teaching the Conventions of Academic Discourse
Thonney, Teresa
Teaching English in the Two-Year College, v38 n4 p347-362 May 2011
Given the current emphasis on disciplinary discourses, it's not surprising that so little recent attention has been devoted to identifying conventions that are universal in academic discourse. In this essay, the author argues that there are shared features that unite academic writing, and that by introducing these features to first-year students composition instructors provide them with knowledge they can apply and refine in each new discipline they encounter. To determine what rhetorical features appear in the prose of experienced academic writers, the author analyzed twenty-four research articles--four articles from each of six disciplines: (1) psychology; (2) sports medicine; (3) biology; (4) marketing; (5) literature; and (6) engineering. The articles were randomly selected from the following peer-reviewed journals: (1) "American Journal of Community Psychology"; (2) "American Journal of Sports Medicine"; (3) "Journal of Cell Biology"; (4) "Journal of Marketing Research"; (5) "PMLA (Publications of the Modern Language Association of America)"; and (6) "Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers". The author's analysis reveals six standard "moves" in academic writing: (1) Writers respond to what others have said about their topic; (2) Writers state the value of their work and announce the plan for their papers; (3) Writers acknowledge that others might disagree with the position they've taken; (4) Writers adopt a voice of authority; (5) Writers use academic and discipline-specific vocabulary; and (6) Writers emphasize evidence, often in tables, graphs, and images. Introducing first-year composition students to these conventions of academic writing provides them with knowledge they can use now and refine later when writing in their chosen disciplines.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A