FOUNDATIONS OF ACADEMIC WRITING
How does an academic discipline affect writing choices?
Academic Writing Conventions
· Pay attention to format:
· 8 ½ by 11 inch paper size (Letter, not A4)
· The entire essay should be double-spaced (including references)
· 12 pt. Times New Roman Font
· One-inch margins
· Title page (usually)
· Page numbering (according to formatting/documentation style)
· Indent the first line of paragraphs
· Forget to read your syllabus/assignment sheet for the professor’s instructions
· Misspell your professor’s name
· Change the font type/size/colour
· “Justify” the margins (the words should not appear as a straight line down the right hand side)
· Turn in an essay that does not meet the minimum standard for the writing. If the assignment is a 3 page essay, this means 3 full pages of writing! (Not 2 ½ or 2 ¾, and not including the title/references page)
· Hand in a paper without a staple, in a folder or with writing on it or dirty pages.
· Document ALL your sources:
· Use the style your professor asks for (i.e. MLA, APA, Chicago)
· Document all ideas, theories, stories, examples, facts that you read and borrow using correct citation
· Cite all summary, paraphrase and quotation
· Use quotation marks to identify copied words, phrases, sentences
· Include a page of references in correct style, and in alphabetical order
· Borrow ideas, theories, stories, examples, facts, structures without giving a citation and reference that is correctly cross-referenced (the first word of the citation should match the first word of the reference entry)
· Copy and paste from websites
· Copy words, phrases, or sentences without using “quotation marks”
· Forget a page of references
· Include references of sources you did not cite in the essay
· Use a meaningful title
· Use formal grammar, including complete sentences
· Introduce ALL evidence with context (source information, credentials of the authors)
· Use spell-check to make sure you don’t have careless errors
· Include as much of your own ideas/interpretation
· Use third person plural and simple present tense (usually)
· Use dictionary/thesaurus/corpus to select as much academic vocabulary as possible.
· Use meaningless titles such as “Essay #1”, etc.
· Use informal grammar, idioms, or childish vocabulary (good/bad, important, happy/sad/angry, gonna)
· Submit an essay with spelling errors
· Use “you/we/our/us” in any academic work
· Overuse the word “people” in an essay (the rule to follow is one usage per 3 pages of writing)
· Write a paragraph that exceeds one page in length
· Use passive voice (“It was given to them by…”)
What is formatting in Academic Writing?
What is it?
Formatting refers to the way that your writing appears, as well as the way in which you indicate and give credit to the research in your writing (called citation/referencing). Because your instructors are typically busy individuals, they prefer to have all essays sent to them with the same appearance and reference/citation system. This allows them to read your essays quickly and efficiently.
How is it used?
There are a number of different styles of formatting used at the university. Three common styles used at the university are MLA (used in English Literature at TWU), Chicago (used in Political Science), and APA (used in the social sciences such as psychology and sociology). The instructor of your course typically tells you which formatting style they want you to use when you write your essays. In the leadership program, you will use APA style for all of your papers.
Why does it matter?
At the university, you often don’t get much opportunity to get to know your instructor, who is going to give you your grade. When you turn in your writing for grades, this is one of the best ways the instructor gets to know you, because they will take the time to read your ideas. If your formatting is not correct, the instructor might form a negative impression about you (that you are lazy or don’t pay attention to details) before they have even read your ideas—this could negatively affect your grade. Think about when you have to give a presentation in front of others. Do you pay more attention to your appearance that day? The same idea applies to writing. Formatting is the “appearance” of your writing, and you want to make sure you get it correct so that you can maximize your grade and leave your instructor with a positive impression about you.
Why else does it matter?
The style you use for writing essays at the university is also a system for documenting the research and evidence you are using in the writing. It allows you to show your instructor when you are borrowing ideas, and how you are using research to support your own opinions and ideas. It shows your reader where they can access the research you used should they want to study the subject more deeply on their own, and also allows them to form their own opinion about the quality of the evidence you are using to support your ideas. This becomes increasingly significant at higher levels of education.
The Importance of Careful Documentation
Importance of documentation – integrity is a significant aspect of academic culture in North American universities. Integrity is maintained in academic writing most clearly through accurate citation/referencing.
1. What is plagiarism/academic dishonesty?
Plagiarism is knowingly copying the ideas/writing of others without using proper quotation or citation/referencing. Plagiarism is considered cheating at the university and has significant penalties. Plagiarism includes the following:
· Copying ideas from other sources (such as books or the internet) without using proper citation/reference.
· Copying the exact language from another source without using “quotation marks” and/or citation/reference.
· Having someone else write an essay, a portion of essay, or even a sentence in an essay without the permission of the professor (a tutor may suggest alternative words for you and correct grammar, but should not write sentences for you).
· Copying the ideas or writing from a previous student’s essay for the same assignment.
· Lending essays to your friends for courses they are taking that you have finished.
· Using the same essay for two different courses without the professor’s permission (Yes, you can even plagiarize yourself!)
2. How is using sources different in different cultures?
· In some cultures, it is not considered a serious problem to use or copy the ideas and language of others.
· Different cultures have different ideas about what is considered “intellectual property” (i.e. ownership of ideas)
3. How are sources important in North American academics?
· In North America, ownership of ideas is extremely significant, especially at the university.
· If someone has published an idea (i.e. it has been written and printed for the public to view), they are the “owner” of that idea, and you must always give them credit for that idea through citation/reference as soon as you learn they published it.
4. What should you do to avoid plagiarism/academic dishonesty?
· Always use a citation/reference if the idea is something that you researched and did not think of on your own.
· Any language that you copy exactly from another source should be in “quotation marks” (And quotation cannot exceed three lines per quote, and two quotations per paragraph), and also include a citation/reference
· Try to paraphrase research, which means to write the ideas you are borrowing in your own way with your own words. Remember to include the citation/reference.
· You may NEVER copy essays or parts of essays (paragraphs/sentences) from your friends.
· You may NEVER let anyone write any of your essays for you. A tutor can help fix grammar errors and suggest different vocabulary but should not write sentences for you.
· You should NEVER lend your essays to your friends for courses you have finished.
The Deductive Pattern
A=B GENERAL – theory, background, definition, foundation
B=C SPECIFIC – add new, more specific idea, usually your specific topic
Think about the A, B, and C as your most important words or ideas. These words (or synonyms, different forms, or antonyms) should appear throughout your paragraph and essay. They are the “glue” that holds it all together.
As you write, sentence to sentence, and paragraph to paragraph, you should keep an old key word and add a new key word. This is called the “Given-New Rule.”
The Ladder of Abstraction
Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, “I have a dream.”
A=B provides the background and does not mention his specific topic.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
B=C builds on the historical background and adds his main topic: freedom today. Note how the “old” key word begins the next. He then goes on to explain the details: poverty and bad living conditions.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free
. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
King then goes on to use an analogy.
A=B connects the analogy to the historical context.
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to
cash a check
. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
B=C states that the current situation fails. It applies the analogy to the problem. Notice the repetition of the key word (B) and then the new word (C): justice.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this
insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the
security of justice
. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
King, M.L,K. (1963). I have a dream. Government Archives. Retrieved from https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf
Note: This speech is in public domain.
General Introduction Pattern
An introduction should not be something that takes a lot of time, and it should be short in length (typically under five sentences). However, there are some key points that should always be covered in an introduction to follow the deductive pattern of writing and get the essay off to a great start. The following five sentences should always be considered when writing an introduction:
1. Hook (Optional—you can but don’t need to include this)
An essay can always begin with a hook, which could be a famous quotation or story that grabs the reader’s attention. It could also be a question or interesting comment. Remember, the hook must fit accurately with the topic of your essay and should never exceed two sentences. A hook is ALWAYS optional and doesn’t affect your grade positively, so don’t use much time finding one to add to your essay.
2. Introductory (Purpose) Sentence (Required—this must be included)
The introductory sentence is the first sentence that must be included in any essay. Typically, the introductory sentence should answer the general purpose or theoretical idea of why you are writing the essay. In other words, it should connect with a significant idea/theory that you have learned in the class. Ask yourself the question: “Why does my professor want me to write an essay about this issue/topic? What should I prove that I learned/understand in the course through my writing?” Remember, this sentence should be written generally.
3. Topic Sentence (Required)
After writing about the theme/purpose of the essay, the topic sentence should introduce your specific topic, along with a comment about the relationship of the specific topic to the purpose of the essay. This sentence should not get into too much detail about the topic, which will be shared in the rest of the essay.
4. Thesis Statement (Required)
The thesis statement states the opinion that is being taken on the issue/topic, along with an academic concept/idea to give the essay focus. Key words that will hold the essay together must be used in this sentence.
5. Roadmap (Optional—you don’t need to write this as a separate sentence, it can usually be included with the thesis statement)
The roadmap can be written as a clause at the end of the thesis or as a separate sentence (only one sentence) after the thesis. The roadmap should give an indication of the academic reasons that will be used to support the thesis in each body paragraph. They should use key words that will appear in the assertion (the first sentence) of each body paragraph.
The Thesis Statement
The thesis statement is the most significant sentence in your essay. It serves the purpose of stating your opinion on the essay topic, indicating the direction of your essay, and focusing the thinking in your essay according to key words. There are three important aspects to a thesis statement:
Thesis statements should be
In other words, thesis statements should be located in the correct place (at the end of the first paragraph), should be short (not more than one sentence), and should contain key words (words that help give your essay focus and are repeated in the assertions and throughout the essay. The thesis should also directly answer the question or topic that you are being asked to write about, and clearly indicate how the essay will answer the question (show the relationship of main idea to sub/supporting ideas)
Thesis statements should be
The thesis should use strong verbs (the most common being the be verb written as is or is not), should use strong language (such as adjectives that help develop your opinion) and should indicate an academic opinion on the topic (you must pick a side, and cannot state there are both positive and negative aspects of the topic).
Thesis statements should be
Every thesis should use key words to indicate the direction of your essay and the way you will analyze, evaluate, describe, or examine the topic. A thesis should always attempt to use an academic concept (made more specific through the use of accurate adjectives) that gives the essay focus and helps the reader to understand the topic from your perspective.
A General Thesis Pattern:
Specific Topic + “Be” Verb + (adjective) Academic Focus + (because) Explanation of the Focus + (through) Roadmap.
The beaver is an appropriate Canadian cultural icon because it metaphorically represents the nature of the Canadian people through its historical legacy, its sociological behavioral characteristics, and its economic value.
Key words were already introduced with the deductive pattern of writing, but within the essay they can be thought of with more specific titles. At a minimum, any essay should have at least three different types of key words that are used in the thesis, and in the first/last sentences of each body paragraph.
THREE TYPES OF KEY WORDS
Topic Key Word: This is a key word typically given to you by your professor. In a typical essay assignment, your professor will ask you to write about a topic. For example, in the example below, the student is writing about a cultural icon, so the topic key word is “icon”. This is the word that should be used in your thesis, as well as your assertion/connection sentences in the body paragraphs.
Thesis Key Word: Also known as your academic focus, this is the word that focuses your essay. This word should be academic (university level, or scholarly), interpretive (reflecting your opinion), and more general than your paragraph key words. For example, the decision to write about the beaver as a Canadian icon means that the thesis key word is “North American beaver”.
Paragraph Key Words: These are aspects of your academic focus (thesis key word) that represent your reasons for each paragraph. They should have a strong connection to the focus that you explain in the explanation and discussion sections of each body paragraph. For instance, in the previous thesis, the paragraph key words are “history”, “sociology”, and “economic”, which are all reasons to support the beaver as a Canadian icon.
A Few More Details about Key Words:
· These are the most significant words in an essay. They must be well-thought out.
· Use the same key words from the thesis in the assertion/connection sentences of the body paragraphs.
· Use synonyms of the key words in the explanation/discussion sections of the body paragraphs, as well as the transition sentence of the background paragraph. For example, a synonym of “icon” could be “symbol” or “representation”.
· Key words are a great way to demonstrate one’s control over the ideas/language being used in essay. Frequent use of the same key words in the correct places (Thesis, Assertion/Connection sentences, Conclusion) leave a strong impression on your reader.
Key Word Usage Examples
Thesis: The North American beaver is an essential Canadian icon for historical, psychological, and economic reasons.
The beaver is a Canadian icon for historical reasons.
As a Canadian icon, the beaver is also iconic for psychological reasons.
Economics also demonstrates the North American beaver to be a Canadian icon.
Therefore, the beaver is iconic of Canada for historical reasons because it was hunted by early settlers for hundreds of years.
Thus, psychology is a reason to support the beaver as a Canadian icon because it symbolically represents Canadian’s belief in their hardworking nature.
A background paragraph/section is a necessary element of most university essays. Academic writing often requires a definition of key words and terms that goes beyond what can fit in an introduction, so background information that generally defines the topic should be placed in a paragraph (or section, for longer essays) that immediately follows the introduction.
Common Features of a Background Paragraph
· Background paragraphs should generally be shorter than body paragraphs.
· The information used should define the main topic and should be researched (i.e. citations/references) and factual (descriptive information about the topic, not opinion about the topic, which is what the body paragraph is for).
· The information should be paraphrased (written in your own words), not “quoted” (i.e., it should not be copied directly from the sources used). It does NOT need to be introduced with context (You do not need to provide the credibility of the information; citations are sufficient).
· The information can come from only one source, but more commonly comes from several different sources to prove effective researching skills.
· At the end of a background paragraph/section, at least one sentence must be written that transitions from the background information to the thesis.
Steps for Writing a Background Paragraph
1. As you research, make notes of the most valuable factual/descriptive information for understanding the topic.
2. Pretend that your reader has no knowledge of your topic. What information would they need to generally understand what it is and how it relates to your opinion/reasons?
3. Do not share all the details you discover about the topic—instead, choose 3-4 of the most valuable/interest pieces of evidence.
4. Paraphrase the information. In other words, write the information out in your own words, beginning with the most general and then moving to the most specific.
5. Transition words such as “Moreover”, “In addition”, “Additionally”, and “Consequently” are all helpful to move smoothly from one point to the next (See Appendix A for more transition words).
6. The last sentence is a “Transition Sentence”. Using the thesis key word (or better, a synonym of the thesis key word), transition to the body paragraphs by rephrasing the thesis in a different, more simplified way. Do not restate the thesis exactly, and do not restate the assertion key words.
Example Background Paragraph:
The beaver is a unique animal because it is the largest rodent in North America, and the second largest in the entire world (Hinterland, 2013). It has a large flat tail which causes it to be slow on land, so it is more adapted to living in the water, where it is an excellent swimmer. In addition, beavers are known for their engineering skills, where of all the animals only humans have a greater impact on their environment (Canadian Museum, 2012). This is mainly because they are known for building dams which hold water for them to swim in, the largest beaver dam ever discovered is in Canada (Parks Canada, 2012). Although at one time there were millions of beavers in Canada, they were nearly hunted to extinction in North America to make hats for Europeans (Heritage, 2011). Consequently, the beaver is an apt symbol of Canada for many reasons.
Whenever we say something, we need to have a REASON (explanation) and we need to have PROOF. Without these two things, whatever we say is biased and weak.
When you write a sentence, ask yourself how you know that. Then provide your evidence.
Good academic argument draws on many different sources and kinds of evidence. If you try to prove everything from just one or two sources, your argument is weak.
Therefore, in every paragraph, consider these steps:
1. Make an assertion – state your opinion, response, or analysis. Use KEY WORDS to connect to your thesis.
2. Give a REASON for this idea – this is your explanation
3. Give PROOF or EVIDENCE for this idea. How do you know this? Remember your citation!
4. Explain what your evidence shows you. How does it prove your point? You must make this explicit to your reader.
Kinds of Evidence
· Primary source (literature, sacred texts, letters, diaries, photos, artifacts)
· Interviews and surveys
· Historical events or documents
· Current events or documents
· Research results from a study
· Eyewitness testimony (exact words of someone who was there)
· Expert discussion (high authority)
· Agreement from others (use of several people who say the same thing)
· Forensic or scientific evidence
· Personal stories and experiences (called “lived experience”) from newspapers, magazines, blogs, social media, books
· The evidence must fit the essay. Some kinds of essays require specific kinds of evidence.
· The evidence must fit the discipline and topic.
· The evidence must be authoritative and credible.
· The evidence must suit the scholarly environment.
· The evidence should be balanced – various kinds of evidence organized from general to specific
A Paragraph Pattern
Begin with your assertion, which should include your thesis key words and your paragraph key word. Explain this assertion in further detail in another one to two sentences. Introduce general evidence, “Give your quote or paraphrase or evidence” (Citation, Year). Transition. Give your discussion of the evidence and connect to your key words. This should be more than one sentence. Introduce more specific evidence, “Give your quote or statistics or factual details” (Citation, Year). Transition. Give your discussion and connect to your key words. This should be several sentences and can include more paraphrased evidence. At the end, add a concluding statement that uses the key words from the assertion (to connect with the thesis) and summarizes the paragraph.
You have three options. You can also combine all three.
1. Use the author’s name/title and a reporting verb. Choose a verb that suits the author’s meaning. Here are some ideas:
+ full sentence.
+ that + SVO.
+ noun phrase.
the idea that + full sentence.
___________ + the idea that
2. Use a transition word or phrase. Choose a transition that shows how you are moving from one idea to the next. Here are some common transitions: furthermore, therefore, however, on the one hand/on the other hand, due to, in addition… After your transition word, provide your evidence and then the citation (Author, year).
3. Mix the quotation into your own sentence. Here is an example:
It is still true that many minorities in the United States live in a “lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity” (King, 1963).
After you provide your EVIDENCE, you need to explain what it means to you and how it fits your argument.
1. Use a transition. This is a SIGNAL that you are making a new move. Here are some common transitions:
· This [research/data/theory] means/ reveals/ highlights /indicates/ suggests/implies that…
· In other words,
· It is clear that
· Clearly, then,
· For this reason,
· To this end,
· With this in mind,/Considering this,
· An important aspect of this is…
· In fact,
NOTE: Do not discuss your own writing directly. Do not say “This quotation shows” or “As I explained on page one.”
2. Then draw out and explain the relationship of the key words:
· from the quotation
· your own key words
3. Explain how they fit together. This helps you to focus on the meaning and purpose of the evidence.
Paraphrasing means to write the ideas you have read/learned about in your own words. It is a significant part of academic writing. Some of the reasons why include presenting information more concisely (in a shorter form than the original) and demonstrating that you understand an idea well (if you understand something you should be able to discuss it with your own language). Close attention to paraphrasing also helps you to avoid plagiarism. However, paraphrasing is not easy and it takes time to learn. Therefore, you must spend some time and energy to think about how to paraphrase ideas that you are borrowing from your researched sources of evidence. The benefit to putting your time/energy into this now is that it will get easier the more you practice, and will also help you to improve your ability to paraphrase ideas when you are speaking.
Para = beside + Phrase = explanation
When you read or hear something that you want to share with someone else, you usually paraphrase it. In other words, you explain it to them in your own way. This is also true in academic studies. You might want to explain an idea that you read in your textbook. Rather than repeat the exact words, you explain it in a way that makes sense to you or to your reader.
Most of your readings will include significant explanation and detail. You don’t need all of this for your essay. Therefore, you choose to explain the main idea or the ideas that you want to use in your own way.
Paraphrase also lets you use your own voice and style.
Direct quotations are very important, too. However, you should save direct quotations for using words that are really powerful and clear. The rest of the time, use paraphrase and summary. (Summary is similar to paraphrase. The difference is that you take an idea that is long and complex and re-tell it in a much shorter way).
Many people try to paraphrase by finding replacement words. It becomes like a word-by-word translation. This is not effective, as it is very slow and often loses the bigger meaning.
Instead, read the idea. Read it several times. Then do not look at the words but try to explain the idea yourself. If you forget some parts, you can go back to the reading and remind yourself.
Here is a paragraph from “I have a dream” (King, 1963):
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
I can paraphrase like this:
King (1963) calls his people to maintain their “dignity and discipline” through avoiding violence and through respecting the white people who have allied with them. He urges the black people in his audience to accept the support of the white people in their joint pursuit of freedom.
You will notice that some words are in quotation marks. This shows that these words are in the original and I have kept them because they are important and powerful. It is important to use quotation marks for any special words or phrases from the original.
You will notice that I have included the citation for this. The citation gives credit to the author and shows that my level of scholarship. If you miss the citation, it is PLAGIARISM
Three Ways to Improve Paraphrasing Skills
There are three main techniques that you can focus on to improve your paraphrasing skills. They are the following:
1. When you borrow the idea, always make it shorter (more concise).
2. Find replacement words (synonyms) for language from the source that you don’t normally use yourself.
3. Change the order of the information you are using.
Don’t forget to….
Include a citation for your paraphrase. If you are borrowing information from a source it must include a citation/reference.
Quotations are a great way to show your instructor that you read text carefully. However, they should be chosen carefully, introduced with context, should not take up too much space in the paragraph/essay, and should be well explained in your own words after they are used.
Rules for Quotation:
· Copy the quotation carefully from the text you are using—it should appear EXACTLY as it appears in the text (even with grammatical errors).
· Quotations must always appear in “quotation marks”.
· INTRODUCE the evidence with context—you should always reveal to your reader the authority/credibility of the author/organization/website BEFORE you give the quotation. If you are introducing a person, use only the family name. DO NOT introduce with the title of the article, because this does not contribute to demonstrating your research/critical thinking skills.
· Quotations should not be more than three lines in length. If your quotation is very long and there are two parts that you want to use, eliminate unnecessary content using … to show that you have removed information.
· Avoid long quotation (longer than three lines) in short essays. In fact, try to avoid long quotation whenever possible.
· ALWAYS explain the significance of your quotation as it relates to your key words after you give a quotation. Use key words from the quotation as you do this.
· Don’t forget to use correct citation/referencing for the quotation.
From the Huffington Post newspaper:
David Morrison, director of archeology and history at the Musee de Civilisation Canadiens in Hull, Que., feels the image of the beaver reflects the character of the Canadian people.
“I’m a big fan of the symbol of the beaver because I feel a country gets the animal it deserves,” he says. “A beaver is an unaggressive, hard-working, waterproof, unassuming, wonderful animal and I think it speaks well of Canadians that we chose it,” he says. “And even if the fur trade is long dead and in the ground, I think it still works.”
Morrison points out that most other nations are represented by showy, aggressive and usually predatory animals.
“England has the lion, Russia has the bear, France has the rooster,” he says. “Whereas our humble beaver is much more egalitarian — they build real houses, they store up food for the winter. It often looks like a hairy amoeba, but that’s a good thing too.”
“We’re not grand. We’re the hard-working good guys.”
Quotation as it should be written in the paragraph:
According to Morrison (White, 2011), the director of archaeology and history at the Musee de Civilisation Canadiens, “A beaver is an unaggressive, hard-working…unassuming, wonderful animal and I think it speaks well of Canadians…England has the lion, Russia has the bear….whereas our humble beaver is much more egalitarian—they build real houses, they store up food for the winter”. Clearly, Morrison explains that the beaver is an appropriate symbol for Canadians because it has many of the characteristics that Canadian value, such as being unaggressive and hard-working.
Look for the deductive pattern and the layers of evidence. Look for the introductions, transitions, and discussions.
Canadian history, particularly the World War history, is shadowed by acts of racism. In other words, although Canada is now known as a peaceful nation, welcoming all different races, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the government made decisions that created a kind of social hysteria or mob mentality among the Canadian population. According to Lee, a writer for the independent mental health network Psych Central, mob mentality occurs when a community or group of individuals “conform in such a way that leads to dysfunctional or irrational behavior” (Lee, 2018). Considering this, in the context of a war in which Japan was the enemy, the Canadian government fueled hatred and violence against the Japanese Canadians even though this was irrational (Marsh, 2016). Consequently, the government led white Canadians to intense racist actions. Ian MacKenzie, representing the federal government in British Columbia, declared, “Let our slogan be for British Columbia: ‘No Japs from the Rockies to the seas’” (“Japanese internment,” 2001). With such strong messages from leadership, it is no wonder that ordinary Canadian citizens responded with increasing anger and racism. As an example, one young Japanese Canadian woman, Muriel Kitagawa, recorded her fears in a letter to her brother. She described “overt acts of unthinking hoodlumism like throwing flaming torches into rooming houses and bricks through plate glass” (“Japanese internment,” 2001). These acts of “hoodlumism” reveal that during a time of world conflict, Canadians were far from peaceful. Thus, the internment of all Japanese Canadians became an infamous act of racism, and the memory of these actions reminds Canadians that we, like all countries, have made mistakes that have been dark times in our history.
The effective use of transition words helps readers to comprehend a mutual relation between sentences, between “evidence” and “your supportive explanation/discussion”, or between paragraphs to maintain the main idea of your essay.
Transition words can be used in various ways, so you need to discern which transition could be suitable to keep your ideas coherent.
To restate your ‘assertion’ in depth (Explanation sentence)
In other words,
In more detail,
To be specific, + SVO
To introduce your (general) evidence
According to _____________,
__________ reports that + SVO
As ________________ states,
To restate your evidence in depth (Discussion sentences)
In other words,
Clearly, then, + SVO
To be clear,
With this in mind,
To put it concretely,
To explain or discuss your evidence (Discussion Sentences)
This means/indicates/illustrates/demonstrates that
In this occasion, + SVO
In this situation,
In this case,
To add more specific supporting details (evidence)
In addition to ,
For example, + SVO
As an illustration,
Coupled with ,
To compare To contrast
In comparison with , On the other hand,
Compared to , However,
Likewise, +SVO Nevertheless,
Similarly, On the contrary,
In the same way, In contrast, + SVO
Even though S1+V1,
To reveal results or conclude the paragraph To conclude your essay
As a result, In conclusion,
As a consequence, All in all,
Consequently, In brief,
For this reason, In short,
Eventually, + SVO In summary, + SVO
Finally, On the whole,
In the end, To put it briefly,
Therefore, To summarize,
Thus, To sum up,
Language in Academic Writing (Tone)
The language used in academic writing is very specific. It must demonstrate careful attention to detail and
avoid repetition, colloquialism (informal language), and overly simple words
. With this in mind, please pay careful attention to the following words in your writing and make sure to find alternatives when you review the drafts of your writing.
Words to reduce (you should use these words ONLY ONCE in short essays):
People (Humans, society, persons, leaders/followers)
Important (Use the alternative crucial or significant)
Problem (Use alternatives such as issue or dilemma)
Words to avoid (you should NEVER use these words in academic writing):
I/We/Our/My/Us (I/My are acceptable in personal response only)
Let/Show(Use more academic/specific alternatives such as allows or reveals/demonstrates)
Like (Use a more academic alternative such as enjoy or appreciate)
Say (Use a more specific reporting verb such as suggests, reports, or states)
Talk (Use the alternative discusses)
Huge (Use alternatives such as significant or massive, depending on the context)
Hard (Use alternatives such as difficult or diligently depending on the context)
Good/Bad (Use any alternative from a thesaurus that better describes the quality)
“A lot of” (i.e. There are a lot of reasons for…) (Use the word many as an alternative)
Guys/Girls (Use the alternatives male/female or men/women & children)
Etc. or …and so on (Use the alternative such as…with a couple examples)
First/Firstly, Second/Secondly, Third to begin paragraphs.
As we all know/As everyone knows,
Besides, (Use the alternative In addition,)
Obviously, (Nothing in academic writing is “obvious”, use the alternative “Clearly”)
And (Never begin a sentence with the word “And”, instead use the alternative In addition)
What do primary sources show us?
Nova Scotia Archives. (2019). Gone but never forgotten: Bob Brooks’ photographic portrait of Africville in the 1960s. Retrieved from https://novascotia.ca/archives/africville/default.asp
What is a primary source?
Primary = “first”
Primary source = first or original source of information
Image that your friends went to a party, but you missed it. You want to find out what the party was like. Who would you ask? You would not get very reliable information from a friend who heard about it from another friend. You would want to find out from someone who was actually at the party.
Primary sources give you information from people who experienced what happened or who lived during that time. For example, if you want to know about World War II, you could read reports, letters, or diaries written by soldiers and officers or by civilians who lived through the war. You could look at photos taken during the war. You could examine artifacts in a museum.
If another person is telling you about the primary document, that is a secondary source. If a professor or scholar is analyzing or theorizing or interpreting information, that is a secondary source. This means that other people’s opinions, perspectives, and biases are involved.
Photographs, speeches, and propaganda posters are all examples of primary sources.
Note: These images are all in the public domain and available from the Library of Congress.
Responding to a Prompt
Study the prompt (article, archive, photos, video, etc. as assigned by your professor). Take notes as you go along. If something you see or read gives you an idea, or an emotional reaction, or a comparison to something in your experience, write it down.
To push yourself to go deeper in your response, ask the WH questions:
WHO is involved?
· Do they have any biases? Do YOU have any biases about them?
· What do you respect about the people involved?
· Are they heroes? Villains? Ordinary people?
· Do you have any experience with people like this?
WHAT happened and WHY?
· What were the causes? How do you feel about the causes? Do you think the problems could have been prevented? Do you think they were inevitable?
· Have you had any similar experiences?
· Has your culture had any similar experiences?
· Does your first language have any unique words or proverbs to describe this kind of situation?
· How would theories you have been learning explain what happened?
· Are there other philosophies, perspectives, or reasons for the problem or situation?
WHEN and WHERE did it happen?
· Have we learned from history?
· What cultural factors could help us understand the situation?
· What historical or situational factors could help us understand the situation?
HOW did the situation end?
· Is there a solution?
· Do you think there will be further problems?
· Is the ending positive, negative, or neutral?
What are your top 3-5 responses? In other words, choose the most significant ideas, scenes, characters, or features. How many you choose depends on the length of your assignment. Your responses might be in any or all of these categories:
· Emotional (such as a sense of anger or sorrow or hope)
· Intellectual (such as a new perspective, a connection to a theory, a concept, an interesting observation)
· Comparative (such as relating to another situation, another country, culture, or language)
· Personal (such as relating to something that happened to you or your family)
How are your responses connected with one another? Think of a key word that brings together your overall response. (For example, in response to the Abraham Lincoln photograph above, perhaps your overall response is respect. This gives you a key word to begin your essay). Then you are ready to write your thesis sentence.
Writing the Personal Response
The thesis statement should include:
1. the name of the prompt (author, article, movie, etc)
2. your key word (focus for your response)
3. your main response
You can add a list of your paragraph topics if you like. This can be in a separate sentence.
A thesis pattern:
Key word [noun] + shown/seen/portrayed/highlighted/revealed in “name of primary source” + reaction + roadmap.
To indicate your reaction, you can use phrases such as:
· Reminds me of ____ [noun]
· Reinforces my understanding of ____ [noun]
· Draws my attention to ____ [noun]
· Makes me wonder/think/consider about ____ [noun]
· Makes me question how/why + full sentence
· Contributes to my thoughts about ____ [noun]
· Awakens my sense of ____ [noun]
· Inspires me to ____ [verb – an action]
Here are two examples:
Primary source: Gone but Never Forgotten: Bob Brooks’ Photographic Portrait of Africville in the 1960s
The environmental racism revealed in the archived images of “Gone but never forgotten: Bob Brooks’ photographic portrait of Africville in the 1960s” inspires me to be more attentive to similar injustices in current Canada through the following aspects: paragraph key word 1 + paragraph key word 2
The simple lifestyle portrayed in the archived images of “Gone but never forgotten: Bob Brooks’ photographic portrait of Africville in the 1960s” reminds me that humanizing historical events creates dignity through the following aspects: paragraph key word 1 + paragraph key word 2.
Choose another specific idea/situation/quote/photo and respond to it.
You should have at least three response paragraphs. Your paragraphs should all connect to your key word.
Introduction and thesis
Choose another specific idea/situation/quote/photo and respond to it.
Summary of the prompt
The background such as who wrote/produced it and when.
This is A=B.
Choose one specific idea/situation/quote/photo and respond to it.
Choose another specific idea/situation/quote/photo and respond to it.
Keep this paragraph very short (approximately 3-4 sentences). Do not provide any details or background information. Focus on preparing the reader for your thesis by following the general introduction pattern outlined earlier in this course pack.
Provide your reader with the background information about your prompt. You may need to look around to find the information. In some cases, you might do a little background research to find out about the historical context. Be sure to include your citations. Your final sentence of this paragraph should transition into your discussion. To do this, use your key words.
Sample background paragraph:
Bob Brooks was an American who moved to Nova Scotia, Canada, and became a photographer in the 1950s. He contributed to many national and international newspapers and magazines (Nova Scotia Archives, 2019). The collection of his Africville photos was taken in the final years of Africville’s existence, from 1962-65, when Brooks recorded daily life in the community as well as the arrival of city officials, the boarding up of homes, and the beginning of destruction. As the Nova Scotia Archives (2019) explain, Africville was an area of Halifax that was settled by black refugees and displaced persons who built a community that was mainly segregated from the main city. Over time, the city located all of the undesirable facilities, such as the rail, factories, and sewage pits in Africville. The city of Halifax did not provide any facilities to the community. As time passed, the city wanted the land, so they removed all of the homes and forced the people out. The story that Brooks tells through his photographs captures the dignity and beauty of the people who once lived there.
The Personal Response Body Paragraph
1. Write your assertion which includes your thesis key words and your paragraph key word. This sentence should not be a fact.
2. Transition & Explain your paragraph key word in more detail.
3. Transition & Provide evidence from your prompt. If you are responding to an article, it is effective to give a quotation from the article. If you are responding to photos, describe the details you see in the photo. Your reader needs to understand these details in order to understand your ideas.
4. Then use a transition to show that you are going to respond. Here are some examples:
· I think
· In my opinion
· In my culture
· In my experience
· I agree
· I disagree
· I cannot accept
· This ( ) makes me ________
· Use the verb “seems” or “appears’
You could also signal that you are giving your opinion by using strong, evaluative words:
· This is an intriguing idea.
· This story alarms me.
· The statistics are surprising.
· This photo is powerful.
4. Give your response. Be specific. Make sure you are still focused on the prompt, but that you explain your own thoughts, feelings, or experiences.
5. Write a concluding sentence using key words from the assertion.
Response Body Paragraph Pattern (Detailed)
Transition word/phrase (“also” if it is the second paragraph or beyond)
State what the paragraph will discuss/prove with the thesis key word (overall reaction) and a paragraph key word (aspect of the overall reaction) from the roadmap.
Transition word/phrase (In more detail, More specifically, In other words)
Explanation: Explain the assertion in more detail, focusing on the paragraph key word as it relates to the prompt, perhaps using some detail from the situation described by the prompt.
Transition word/phrase (According to, As______states/reports/indicates)
More general than evidence below, make sure to introduce with detail from the prompt (i.e. name of the speaker of the quotation or at least the source type), “quote” cite (Last name/organization, Year).
Transition word/phrase (With this in mind, Considering this, This indicates that, Clearly, In other words,)
Explain in your own words how the evidence proves the relationship of the key words for the assertion/thesis using a variety of the four types of response. Follow the specific guidelines for creating appropriately detailed comparative/personal experience responses.
i.e. With this in mind, this causes me to feel (emotion) because… (Emotional response)
In my opinion, (Intellectual response)
Another idea is that… (intellectual response)
In comparison/In my experience, (Comparative or PE response)
Please note: the above is an example only—the responses you choose can/should vary for each paragraph. For instance, one paragraph should have a Comparative response, the other should have a PE response.
This section is
Transition word/phrase (In addition, For example, Moreover, For instance) + (According to, ______states/reports/highlights/suggests that)
optional for Evidence: More specific evidence from the prompt, or related researched evidence (introduced with sufficient context, paraphrase or “quote”, cite)
Transition word/phrase (Clearly, This suggests/reveals/means/highlights that, For this reason, With this in mind, In my opinion, When I reflect on this,)
Response Discussion: Explain in your own words how the evidence proves the relationship of the key words and from the assertion/thesis and ALL the evidence
Assignment above using the different types or response. Can/should be more than one sentence
Transition word/phrase (Therefore,/Thus,/Hence,/Consequently,)
Using Thesis key word (overall reaction) and the paragraph key word (aspect of the overall reaction) from the roadmap (same key words from the assertion), summarize in one sentence how the paragraph proved the assertion/thesis.
All of the images of clean laundry drying outside reinforce the
value of the simple everyday life of the residents of Africville. In more detail, the photos reveal the normal routines of living that help to develop the community. In the photos by Brooks, one is called “Africville backyard scene, featuring a boy with his bicycle and a full clothesline of laundry behind him” (Brooks, 1965). This image depicts a black boy on his bicycle in his yard, just like any other boy his age. There is laundry that has been hung on the clothesline with precision, as seen in the evenly spaced pegs. With this in mind, though it seems that although the house appears to be in poor condition, the family lives an ordinary life there. They play, they come and go, and they take care of their daily needs. This makes me respect the Africville people. In another image called “Two Africville houses” (Brooks, 1965) there is a clothesline of white sheets and white aprons, and a dog rests in the shade of the house. Even though the homes appear run-down, the people make the best of their lives and seem to have a peaceful place to live. Considering this, When I continue to view the photographs in the collection, I see how the city developers began to come to houses like this one with plans to demolish it and make the family leave. I am saddened that the officials did not seem to value the families who had made this a home and a community. In my experience, this reminds me of the time I spent with my grandfather planting the flowers and gardens at my parent’s house. It was some of the first real work that I had to do, and even though I didn’t always like it I now realize that it was one of the things I did that helped me to grow close to my grandfather. This is similar to what I think the residents of Africville probably felt with each other, and may explain why they would be unhappy after Africville was destroyed. The collection of archived photos reveal to me the dignity of these residents who lived simple family lives and reinforce the injustice done to them. Therefore, the laundry reveals the value of their life because it demonstrates how community develops through work.
The conclusion should be brief, approximately 3 sentences. It is a simple summary of your essay. Do not make any recommendations or talk about the future. Focus on how the prompt helped you gain new understanding. You do not need any research or quotations.
Writing Different Responses in Discussion
Emotional: If an emotional response is used, it must always be used first. It must also always be followed with an intellectual response
This causes me to feel despondent because…. (intellectual response)
Intellectual: Can be used throughout the discussion, but must be used deductively. In other words, if it is a general idea/concept, it should be used earlier than a more specific idea concept. Intellectual responses can also be used to describe a comparative/personal experience response (so long as they are more specifically explaining the comparative/personal experience)
Note: Intellectual responses should generally not be placed before emotional responses.
Writing Personal Experience & Comparative Responses in Discussion
Both of these types of response should come close to the end of the discussion section. They each should be a minimum of 3-4 sentences long (but can be longer).
They each follow a similar pattern, which can be outlined as followed:
1. Transition word/phrase:
For PE responses, use
In my experience
For Comparative responses, use
2. State what the PE/Comparative Response will be about.
3. Explain the PE/Comparative response in some detail.
4. Write a final sentence that draws a direct connection with the evidence used in the paragraph from the prompt.
· The final sentence can often use the Although/Though sentence frame.
i.e. Although/Though (differences with the prompt), (similarities with the prompt).
· Another option is to make a direct connection with the prompt using an appropriate verb.
i.e. This relates to/connects with/demonstrates what (the prompt) is discussing because…(explain why in one sentence)
The PE response makes a connection between the prompt evidence and/or assertion idea and something from your own personal social network. It can be about your own experience, OR about someone that you know personally (e.g. Your father/mother, relative, friend, teacher, or anyone that you know)
Example Discussion Section:
With this in mind, MORE GENERAL RESPONSES. In my experience, what George discusses reminds me of when I failed a semester at university. In my first year of university I started to get a degree in business but failed many of my courses in the second semester. It was a terrible time for me, but I took the time after I failed to think about the reasons why I did not do well. I realized that I did not really want to be a business person so I switched my studies to English and education, and I also realized that I needed to do more to take care of my mind and body. Since that time, I have had more success. Although I was not really a leader at the time, and George might be writing more about business leaders who fail, I think what he writes applies to my life because learning from mistakes helped me to become a stronger person. Therefore…CONNECTION sentence (using key words from the assertion/thesis)
The Comparative response makes a connection between the prompt evidence and/or assertion idea and something from your knowledge outside of the class. It can be about something/somebody you learned from school, read about in books or the news, watched a movie about, etc. PLEASE NOTE, it should not be something that you learned about in the class you are writing the essay for, or the prompt you are writing about (because this does not demonstrate that you can make connections with your knowledge outside of the class).
In addition, the comparative response must include a citation from a credible source of evidence.
Example Discussion Section:
With this in mind, MORE GENERAL RESPONSES HERE. In comparison, this reminds me of the story of Walt Disney. Disney is one of the most successful companies in the world, but when Walt Disney first tried to make an animation studio it did not make any money and had to be dissolved (MacQuarrie, 2015). Even after he made the Disney Company and had some success, the business still struggled, but Disney continued to learn from his failures in order to be successful. This relates to what George writes about, just like Disney, George states that one must see failure as the pathway to success. Thus, CONNECTION sentence (using key words from the assertion/thesis)
MacQuarrie, A. (2015, Jan 14). Overcoming obstacles: Hard work and persistence paid off for Walt Disney. Retrieved from https://www.learningliftoff.com/overcoming-obstacles-hard-work-and-persistence-paid-off-for-walt-disney/
One more thing…
When you write these types of response, it does not have to be exactly the same experience/idea as what happened in the prompt. Instead, it can be similar/comparative in the abstract (i.e. it is similar in some way to the prompt). The most important thing about this type of response is that you explain what the connection is!
The Ladder of Abstraction Applied to Writing Response
All EMOTIONAL (Emotion responses are general and abstract, also shared experience amongst humans)
Many INTELLECTUAL (Intellectual responses are often shared ideas—they are typically general and also explain emotional responses)
Some COMPARATIVE (Comparative responses may be known by many, but are often culturally
Few specific or only known based on one’s interests or education)
One PERSONAL EXPERIENCE (This is specific only to the writer—no one else can share the same experience in the same way.)
Using the Ladder in Response Writing:
· Deductive Paragraphs move from general to specific, building onto each concept.
· Emotional Responses, if used, should always be first.
· Personal Experience Responses should always be last
· Intellectual responses can be used to explain other responses, but must be specific/focused to the responses they are explaining.
· Don’t forget that all responses must explain the ideas from the assertion more specifically.
Tone: Personal but Academic:
This assignment is about your own thoughts and reactions. You can also explain your experiences and comparisons to other things you have read or seen. This paper is not objective. You need to show your responses clearly, but you should also maintain an academic tone.
· You can and should use personal pronouns like “I” and “my.”
· However, avoid using “you.”
· Also, avoid using slang, idioms, contractions, and “chatty” language.
Use of Evidence:
· All of the evidence for your personal response comes from the prompt. Do NOT use additional research. This is not a research paper.
· Use a lot of direct quotation (or description of details) from the primary source. Be sure to use “quotation marks” for copied words, phrases and sentences.
· Use citations when you refer to the information from the prompt.
· If you need to find the background information about the prompt, be sure to include your citation. In the example we have been using, you will see citations to the photographs (Brooks, 1965) and citations to the archive that hold the collection (Nova Scotia Archives, 2019).
· Include the full bibliographic information in your References page. Ask your professor for help on how to write the references if you are not sure.
CASE STUDY/ INTEGRATION PAPER
How does a specific theory interpret a case?
What is theory and what is “case?”
Theory = a way to interpret or explain something in the real world
Theories are usually considered secondary sources. Similar words include framework, paradigm, construct.
Case = a situation or story (real or fiction) that shows one specific event or one person’s experience
Your professor will provide the case or cases to examine.
Some Famous Theories Learned at University:
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Great Man Theory
Writing the Integration/Case Study Paper
Include a thesis statement explaining what you will integrate (the theory and the case). Don’t forget that your thesis must still include a thesis key word to focus the paragraphs, which should be similar to an overall reaction/interpretation of the case or theory. Here are some possible sentence styles for a thesis:
If organizing by theory: (Theory) is an effective framework for analyzing ___ (thesis key word) of (case).
a useful concept for understanding
a valuable tool for explaining
If organizing by case: The truth of ___ (thesis key word) in (case) can be understood in light of (theory).
The causes of ___can be examined by looking at
The behaviour of ___is revealed through applying
The situation of ___can be analyzed by means of
When examining a theory compared to a biblical or Christian worldview:
(Theory) is incompatible with (perspective/worldview).
is completely compatible with
(Perspective) does not support (theory).
If I want to focus/organize by theory:
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a valuable tool for explaining the injustice against illegal immigrants depicted in the movie “MOVIE NAME” through the following articles: (article), (article), (article).
If I want to focus/organize by case:
The truth of inequality against illegal immigrants revealed in the movie “MOVIE NAME” can be understood in light of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) through the following events/characters in the movie: (event/character/aspect of one character), (event/character/aspect of one character), (event/character/aspect of one character)
NOTE: your own opinion of the topic or the justification is not significant in this type of paper. The point is to demonstrate how the theory interprets the case.
The introductory paragraph is usually brief (3-4 sentences). Simply introduce the theory or concepts in a general way. Include the theory and/or theorist’s name and write a one-sentence summary of it. You might include when it was developed if this is relevant, and you might list the parts or categories. Be sure to include citations for any background information you use. End your introduction with your thesis statement.
Conflicts and misunderstandings between older and younger people are timeless and universal. One way to understand the cause of this tension is through generational theory, which was originated by two sociologists, William Strauss and Niel Howe, in 1991 (Cagle, 2018). Generational theory examines society in “cohorts” that are impacted by the social, political, economic, and technological factors around them. In many parts of the world, these cohorts are divided into the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z (Cagle, 2018). Ryback (2016) provides a useful framework of generational characteristics to analyze the conflicts in [name of the case].
Write one fairly short paragraph to summarize the case or situation. The purpose of the summary is to provide the reader with background. You don’t need to include details, and you don’t need information that is not relevant to your analysis. If you are analyzing a movie, you do not need to give the names of the actors, and you don’t need to tell the entire plot. Simply introduce the situation and the context (where and when the story happens) and highlight the names of the main people involved. You do not need quotations or evidence in this paragraph because you are not proving anything.
Organize either by case (each paragraph focuses on one scene/person/situation from the case) or by theory (each paragraph focuses on one category/concept from the theory). Be consistent.
If you want to organize by case, one option is to use time order from the story (choose to analyze the conflict at the beginning, middle, and end of the story).
Start with an assertion that provides the key word for the paragraph. If you are organizing by case, this sentence should highlight a key word/name/situation from the case. If you are organizing by theory, this sentence should provide the specific term that you will apply. Explain in one or two more sentences, using “a specific quotation if possible in order to give you more specific terms.” TRANSITION to piece 2, and provide some specific details or “quotations to keep your analysis concrete.” This section should be a similar length to the first section of the paragraph. However, it depends on the complexity of the information. Next, integrate the two pieces by focusing on the meaning of the case. Explain how the specific theoretical terms help you explain the problem or issue in the case. Give details and draw out the key words from both theory and case. Add a concluding sentence that uses key words from the paragraph sentence and summarizes the idea of the paragraph.
· This concept sheds light on…
· The theory of ___ highlights why …
· This notion explains why…
· This theory justifies…
· X explains this situation with his idea of…
· According to X, the reason is…
· In the case of X,
· In my own life,
· In the movie/story “____”,
· In ____’s case,
The concluding paragraph is brief (3-4 sentences). Just restate your thesis (in a new, fresh way) and any conclusions you have drawn. Do not make any recommendations or add any new pieces.
Integration Paper Organizational Patterns
Focus on theory: the essay will be organized by parts of the theory
Focus on case: the essay will be organized by events OR characters from the case
Second Choice (If you choose case):
Focus on events: the paragraphs will be organized by significant events from the case
Focus on characters: the paragraphs will be organized by the characters of the case
Third Choice (If you choose characters)
Focus on characters: the paragraphs are organized by 3-4 characters in the case
Focus on aspects of a character: the paragraphs are organized by 3-4 aspects of ONE major
character from the case
Writing a Summary Background Paragraph
You might be nervous to write a summary. How can you take so many information and condense them into paragraph? Keep in mind that the reasons for a summary are 1) to show your instructor that you studied the case carefully and 2) to give readers background to understand your integration. Therefore, you don’t have to try to include every main idea.
Rather, your job is to capture the main ideas of the case – the overall reaction/theme, the main events, and basic details of the setting.
To do this, do not try to write a point by point summary. Have you heard the idiom, “you can’t see the forest for the trees?” You will find too many ideas that you might miss out on the actual argument. If you do this, your summary will sound more like a list.
The background paragraph should still be relatively short (8-10 sentences)—most importantly it should not be longer than any of the body paragraphs.
How do you put the ideas together to make a smooth summary?
· Begin with a general statement to introduce the summary:
Director’s last name + develops/introduces his/her idea about _________ + by first + gerund + object.
· Use “tour guide” language. Take your reader on a “tour’ of the argument. Guide them by referring to the director’s last name and/or the movie’s “moves.” Use reporting verbs and time transitions.
· Remember: Simple present tense, reporting verbs, transitions (chronological/time order After that, Then, Finally, In conclusion)
· Words to avoid: verbs such a go/went/showed/talks about and repetition of the same verb.
· Conclude the background summary with a transition sentence that uses a synonym of your thesis key word.
Reporting Verbs and Time-Transitions
When writing summary, it is crucial to give the reader the impression of being “led” through the case, with a sense of what the choices made to create the case. This is done by using effective reporting verbs and time order transitions.
Reporting Verbs: Reporting verbs give a more specific indication of actions of the case.
Weak: Tarek and Walter
to the subway where Tarek is taken
to jail by the police for not paying the fare.
Strong: Tarek and Walter
enter the subway where Tarek is suddenly
by the police for not paying the fare.
Time Transition Words/Phrases: Using time transition word/phrases at the beginning of some of your sentences gives the reader the impression they are being “guided” through the article.
You must use at least three time transitions in the background summary (1 for beginning, 1 for middle, 1 for end), but usually add more to the middle.
At the end,
On the whole,
Integration Body Paragraph Pattern (Detailed)
State what the paragraph will discuss/prove with the main thesis key word (the overall reaction to the case) and a key word from the roadmap (case or theory depending on the focus).
Don’t forget to add topic key words for the case AND theory, and to begin the assertion with case or theory depending on your organization choice (if you choose theory organization, begin with theory; if you choose case; begin with case)
Transition word/phrase (In more detail, More specifically, In other words, In particular)
Explain the assertion in more detail, focusing on the paragraph key word.
Transition word/phrase (According to, As______states/reports/indicates)
Depending on the organizational choice, introduce theory or case evidence here. Don’t forget that case evidence typically needs to be described (paraphrased) but should include at least a short “quote” to demonstrate close attention to the case. Don’t introduce the evidence with repetitive context (something that was already shared in the introduction or background paragraph); instead, make sure to introduce original context.
Transition word/phrase (Clearly, This indicates that, It is clear that, In other words)
Briefly, explain how the evidence connects with the thesis.
Integrated Transition word/phrase:
If theory above: (This concept sheds light on; This notion explains why; This theory justifies; In the movie/story/case of X,)
If case above: (According to X, the reason is, X explains this situation with the idea of; This aspect of the case explains why X….)
If theory evidence above, then case evidence here (and vice versa).
Transition word/phrase (Clearly, This suggests/reveals/means/highlights that, For this reason, With this in mind)
Integrated Discussion: Using key words from the evidence of the case/theory, explain using your own thinking how the theory interprets the case. Each sentence should clearly combine language from the theory or case (the order does not matter, some sentences can begin explaining the theory and move to case, some can begin with case and then explain theory)
Transition word/phrase (Therefore/Thus/Hence)
Using the thesis key word (overall reaction to the case) and the key word (aspect of the academic concept/word) from the roadmap (same key words from the assertion), summarize in one sentence how the paragraph proved the assertion/thesis
The final rule to follow is that a body paragraph cannot exceed one page in length.
Effectively integrating Quotations from a Case
Unlike theory, which usually contains very clear quotations that can be used as support for the discussion and explanation, studying a case often does not produce evidence that can be easily blended into an academic paragraph. In this situation, it is more ideal to paraphrase and use short quotations only to demonstrate close attention to the case.
In the film, Tarek is arrested in the subway station. Cop #2 says “Just step over here, pal”, and Tarek replies “Please, what do you want”, and Cop #1 says “You jumped the turnstile.” Tarek replies “I did not jump it! I paid. I paid!” Then Walter says “Sir, I did pay his fare”, and Cop #2 says, “Could you step back please?, and Walter says “But I paid this man’s…”, and Cop #2 states “Sir, stand over there” (London & McCarthy, 2007). Clearly, the drafters of the UDHR would assert that….
In the film, Tarek is arrested in the subway station when the police believe he has jumped the turnstile. However, Tarek clearly holds the ticket in his hand, stating “I did not jump it! I paid. I paid!” Moreover, Walter also clearly states that he paid for Tarek’s ticket, but the police do not listen to him, instead telling him to stand away from Tarek (London & McCarthy, 2007). Clearly the drafters of the UDHR would assert that…
Beginning Integrated Discussion Sentences with
Theory (UDHR) or Case (Movie)
Expressions for beginning with theory
The drafters of the UDHR would assert/argue/contend/insist/maintain that
Humanitarians would assert/argue/contend/insist/maintain that
The UDHR clearly states/demonstrates/reveals/indicates that
Those who support the UDHR would claim/maintain/affirm that
In the theory,
With these concepts,
With this theory,
Through this framework,
Using this model,
In the opinion of the United Nations/UN
From the perspective of the United Nations/UN
Expressions for beginning with case:
In the case of X (as long as it has not been used for the integrated transition)
In this situation,
The actions of X explain/clarify/imply
The movie/film clearly reveals/portrays/highlights/exposes
Use specific character names/language from the case to begin the sentence
One can …
Sheds light on
Aids / Helps
Provides insight into
Other names for this assignment:
There is not one common name for this kind of assignment. On your syllabi for your other courses, look for assignments such as:
· Application Paper
· Personal Analysis Paper
· Movie Analysis
Instructions will often say something like:
· “Analyze _____ by referring to concepts from our course.”
· “Using X theory, explain the problem of ____.”
· “Take a look at your personal goals by reflecting on X theory.”
· “Examine your own life using concepts from our course.”
Kinds of evidence for this paper:
Sometimes you might write a research paper that is also an integration paper. In other words, you might have to research various sources on the theory, and you might have to examine many sources about your case.
However, in most assignments, the evidence you use will be:
· Quotes and details from the theory and/or your course textbook or lectures
· Quotes and details from the case
This is usually a formal academic paper, so your tone should be formal. This includes:
· No use of I/me/my
· No use of you/your
· No contractions, slang, idioms, or chatty style
· Use of quotation marks and citations
· Use of all normal academic conventions (see Module 1)
If the assignment asks you to examine your own life, then of course you will use I/me/my. Otherwise, your essay should follow all the other formal requirements.
THE DEFINITION ESSAY
How can different perspectives and premises lead to different definitions?
What does definition mean and how can I write a 1000-word definition?
Definition = Oxford dictionary states: “An exact statement or description of the nature, scope, or meaning of something”
Nature of something = what it is like and what it is not like
Scope of something = how big it is or how far it goes
Meaning of something = the category it fits in and what makes it significant
How can I write a 1000-word definition essay?
The dictionary definition is usually just the basic category. We look up a word in the dictionary to get a simple idea of the category it fits into.
For example, if I look up “faith” in the Cambridge dictionary, it says:
· “great trust or confidence in something or someone”
· “a particular religion”
· “strong belief in God or a particular religion”
This just gives me the very basic idea. It does not answer the nature, scope, and significance of the concept of faith. An essay can help me to explore the concept and truly come to understand it.
We can come to understand a concept from different perspectives. Let’s look at the word “faith.”
What does having faith refer to if I’m talking about business? What if I am talking about my sense of myself? What if I am talking about my society and culture? What if I am talking about religion?
When you are defining a concept, first ask yourself about the origin or source of the concept. In other words, where does it come from or what causes it? For example, where does faith come from? Is it from the physical environment around me? Is it a gift of God? Is it something my mind creates? Some kind of emotion? Or is my ability to have faith somehow biological? Or maybe it is a combination of all four quadrants.
RUAH (a Hebrew word meaning “spirit” or “breath”)
When you are defining a concept, first ask yourself about the origin or source of the concept. In other words, where does it come from? For example, where does happiness come from? Is it a physical feeling? Is it a gift of God? Is it something we create with our own minds? Or is it in our biological make-up? Or maybe it is a combination of all four quadrants.
Philosophy: Logic/Aesthetics & Epistemology (Rationalism & Constructivism)
· Focuses on the human mind and human creation/construction
· Other significant ideas might be systems and society.
· Truth is what humans make it to be.
· Focuses on explaining the nature of being (i.e. time and existence)
· Things that are believed without being “seen”.
· Spiritual ideas can be included (including belief in God), but also ideas such as luck, fate, and chance.
· Truth is what fate/chance/luck allows (non-religious), or what God instructs/desires (religious)
· Focuses on the psychological and emotional aspects of issues.
· Human feeling is significant, as well as right/wrong actions (morals)
· Truth is how one feels about the idea, or the right/wrong decisions that are made.
Philosophy: Epistemology (Empiricism)
· Focuses on knowing through experience (the senses)
· Things that are scientific, physical, or biological
· Truth is what exists only in reality (i.e. What is seen, heard, felt, tasted)
Writing the Definition Essay
Usually, the introduction is short (3-4 sentences). Start with a simple hook – a quote (famous quote, biblical quote, popular quote), a symbol, an image, what often comes to mind in association with the word you are going to define. Then follow the general introduction pattern (Introductory sentence + Topic sentence + Thesis)
Thesis statement (formal definition)
Term + its class/category + differentiation (what makes it unique in that category)
Note: For the class/category, consider your perspective and see the graph on the previous page.
Grammar you need for this:
Noun + be + article + noun + adjective clause (that, which, who, when, where)
Here are some examples:
Faith is a mindset that leads to well-being and a more peaceful life.
Faith is a spiritual practice that requires the experience of suffering.
Faith is an executive function that requires healthy brain development.
Thesis Statement (detailed)
Follow the structure for the basic definition:
Term + be + category (RUAH) + that/which + differentiation + through the following methods of definition: roadmap (indication of your assertions methods of definition)
Biblical love is God’s wisdom that provides a guide for whole, healthy living both on earth and in heaven through the following methods: comparison, function, and analogy.
Writing expressions of RUAH into a thesis
(Term) is an emotional condition that/which…
…is a psychological state that/which…
(Term) is a physical condition that/which…
…is an experiential state that/which…
…is a scientific idea that/which…
(Term) is a human construct that/which…
….is a system of _________ that/which…
(Term) is a spiritual condition…
(Term) is a _____ from God that/which
… is God’s ________ that/which
Differentiation (Thesis key word):
The differentiation should be one word that unifies and interprets the evidence and methods used in the essay. This can be a word you think of on your own, or a word/idea that you have discovered in your research that is commonly associated with the term. (i.e. in the example above, “guide for living” is the differentiation). Use this key word accurately (i.e. use the same word/expression in the thesis and the assertion/connection sentences of the body paragraphs)
Roadmap (Assertion key words):
4 (or more) methods listed in the course pack should be chosen that reflect the evidence used in the paragraph (i.e. Historical origin, comparison/contrast, function, examples, etc.). Use the key words accurately (i.e. what appears in the course pack should be what appears in the road map and in the assertion/connection sentences)
Expand the Definition
Choose one or more ways to continue the definition. One clear organizational choice is to write with one method per paragraph.
· Contrast (what it is NOT or how it is different from other things)
· Comparison (how it is similar to other things; synonyms)
· Characteristics or qualities
· Historical origin
· Appearance (what it looks like)
· Process (HOW it works)
· Causes and/or effects
· Connotation (associations and emotions)
· Functions (what it does; why it is important)
Another good option is to use the WH Questions (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How). With this option, you can write a paragraph about “what” it is, another about “how” it functions, and another about “when and where.”
For my essay on “faith,” I could decide to define it by:
· The historical understanding of faith from the Bible
· How faith is misunderstood in modern culture
· A story of a person whose faith grew through hardship
Body Paragraph Structure
1. Make an assertion of your specific point. This should reveal the method of definition for your paragraph.
2. Explain more in your own words.
3. Offer your general evidence (such as a quotation or background information).
4. Explain the meaning of the evidence. Connect it to the key words in your paragraph and thesis.
5. Give more specific evidence.
6. Explain the meaning of the evidence and…
Sample Body Paragraph:
The ancient Old Testament origins of the concept of faith focus on a sense of safety and security. In other words, people need to choose faith because their lives are sometimes unsafe and insecure. In his explanation of faith, theologian H.L. Schwartz (1996) says, “security that is a result of a trusting relationship with God is most important. It can be combined with the fear of the Lord and obedience to his Word so that the one who walks in the dark is encouraged to ‘trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God (Isa 50:10).” Faith, then, requires actions such as seeking a relationship with God, obeying God, and relying on God. These actions are not easy, and they are in the context of “walking in the dark.” Faith, then, deepens when we experience difficulty. In Matthew 6, we read of numerous miracles of Jesus. In all cases, there is a serious crisis, but Jesus recognizes that in their crisis, these people have faith, and he heals them. Then, Jesus and his disciples go out on the lake in a boat, and a violent storm blows in. “The disciples went and woke him up. They said, ‘Lord! Save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘Your faith is so small! Why are you so afraid? Then Jesus got up and ordered the winds and the waves to stop. It became completely calm (Matthew 6:23-26). In this situation, we can see that the opposite of faith is fear. Therefore, the Bible reveals that having faith is a choice during times of fear and trouble, even when it seems hopeless.
Definition Body Paragraph Pattern (Detailed)
Please follow this pattern for the definition essay which is closely related to the general body paragraph pattern.
State what the paragraph will discuss/prove with the main key word from the thesis (your differentiation) and an assertion key word from the roadmap (one method of definition that supports the differentiation and matches the evidence used).
Transition word/phrase (In more detail, More specifically, In other words)
Explain the assertion in more detail, focusing on the method of definition
Transition word/phrase (In the book of, As ________(biblical author) records/writes)
Evidence: Biblical evidence (more general than below, if applicable) make sure to introduce with sufficient context (at least author/book/context of the passage), “quote” cite (Book Chapter: Verse(s) + Translation for first citation).
Transition word/phrase (Clearly, This indicates that, It is clear that, In other words, With this in mind, Considering this,)
Discussion: Explain in your own words how the evidence supports/proves the assertion/thesis. Can be more than one sentence.
Transition word/phrase (In addition, Moreover, or In comparison/contrast or For example/For instance) + (The book of _____ states, As_______ (biblical author) records/writes)
More biblical evidence (more specific than above, if applicable), OR evidence from an authoritative/credible source (required for comparison/contrast paragraphs) make sure to introduce with sufficient context, paraphrase or “quote” cite (Book Chapter: Verse(s)).
Transition word/phrase (Clearly, This suggests/reveals/means/highlights that, For this reason, With this in mind,)
Discussion: Explain in your own words how the evidence proves the assertion/thesis/evidence above. Can/should be more than one sentence.
Transition word/phrase (Therefore,/Thus,/Hence,/Consequently,)
Using key word (academic concept/word) from the thesis (differentiation) and the key word (aspect of the academic concept/word) from the roadmap (method of definition) (same key words from the assertion), summarize in one sentence how the paragraph proved the assertion/thesis
The appearance of the Latin cross is the most familiar and widely recognized symbol of Christianity today. In more detail, it was most likely the shape of the structure upon which
was crucified. In the gospel account of Matthew, he describes the trip to Jesus’ execution, “As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross” (Matt 27:32 NIV). The story continues to tell how Jesus was nailed to the cross and hung up along with two other criminals. Clearly, the shape of the cross was significant because it visually indicated the end of Jesus’ human life, which would have greatly impacted his followers. Though various forms of the cross existed, the Latin cross was made of two pieces of wood crossed to create four right angles. The
depictions of the cross often reveal the body of Christ still on the cross (Citation). This is known as the crucifix and brings emphasis to the sacrifice and suffering of Christ. Protestant churches tend to portray the empty cross, emphasizing the resurrected, risen Christ. As Matthew also records, followers of Christianity identify with the cross through the words of Jesus, “anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:38). With this in mind, the appearance of the cross represents a Christian’s understanding and acceptance of suffering in life, and the cross today represents Christ’s victory over sin and death through the sacrifice of his own body on the cross. Therefore, the appearance of the cross is significant because Christians wear the cross as a symbol that they are “following” Jesus.
Introducing Scriptural Evidence with Context
Always include the title of the book as context (do not write “As the Bible states/writes”, etc.)
· In the book of Genesis,
· As is written in the book of Deuteronomy,
If the author is known, include their name (and title if available)
· In the book of Revelation, the author John states…
· In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul writes…
· In the book of Matthew, he records (he implies that the author of Matthew is Matthew)
If there is no author for the book, write that the author is “unknown”
· In the book of Hebrews, the author who is unknown, writes…
· The book of Job, whose author is unknown, records…
If the author is disputed or debated (the scholars are not sure who the author is, but there may be a traditionally accepted author for the book)
· According to the book of 1 Kings, whose author is debated,
· The book of Genesis, whose author is disputed but traditionally/historically believed to be Moses,
The best introduction for scriptural evidence is book + author + context. In this case, context refers to where the passage (verse) used as evidence fits in the larger section of text it is a part of.
· In the book of Genesis, whose author is disputed but traditionally believed to be Moses, God speaks to Moses from a burning bush saying: “Quote”
· The book of Matthew, written by the disciple Matthew, records Jesus’ speaking to the Jews about love, “Quote”
Follow the deductive pattern. However, you do not need a separate A=B paragraph (background) for this essay because the whole essay is definition. Instead, start your body paragraphs with a more general or foundational definition. It is common to start with a paragraph about the historical background or linguistic origin of the word and then go into other ways of defining in the following paragraphs. If you plan to use contrast, we often place this second. If you plan to write one paragraph using examples, since examples are very specific, place this paragraph last. These are not rules but common practices.
Return to the definition that you started with but now, add to it. Rewrite the definition more specifically or with new insight. Your concluding paragraph will be short (approximately 3-5 sentences).
Kinds of Evidence
You can use any kind of evidence for a definition essay. However, consider the discipline you are writing for. If you are writing a definition essay for a biology course, what kind of evidence counts? If you are writing for a history class, what kind of evidence counts? If the assignment asks you for your own thoughts, then you can use your personal experiences. Otherwise, this is a formal paper and your personal experiences do not fit.
Research and documentation
Always read your professor’s instructions. Your professor might want you to write a definition essay that is also a research paper. Or you might write a definition based on your lectures and textbook. Or you might write a definition that does not use research but just your own thoughts.
Remember that any time you get ideas, information, background, or sentences from a source, you need to give your citation and reference.
Definition essays are usually formal, so avoid using I/me/my. As always, avoid using “you” as well as slang, idioms, or informal language of any kind. Use proper sentence structures.
Cultural and Linguistic Comparisons
Definition essays provide a perfect opportunity to contribute your culture, religion and language to the discussion. Consider writing a comparison or contrast. For example, for our topic on faith, you might explain what words your language has that are similar. You might offer proverbs and teachings from your culture, or you might tell a story (true or fictional) about a person who demonstrates faith in your culture.
Brooks, B. (1965). Bob Brooks Nova Scotia Archives 1989, 468 (16). Sheet 5 image 22, Sheet 4 image 34. Retrieved from https://novascotia.ca/archives/africville/results.asp?Search=&Start=16
Fairchild, M. (2018). Christian symbols illustrated glossary. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/christianity-symbols-illustrated-glossary-4051292
Japanese internment. (2001). Canada: A People’s History. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/history/EPISCONTENTSE1EP14CH3PA3LE.html
Kagle, K. (2018, August 22). Rethinking millennials and generations beyond. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2018/08/22/rethinking-millennials-and-generations-beyond/#5f5a7fa71893
King, M.L,K. (1963). I have a dream. Government Archives. Retrieved from
Lee, R. (2018, July 8). The acceptance of group mentality. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-acceptance-of-group-mentality/
Marsh, J.H. (2016, November 28). Japanese Canadian internment: Prisoners in their own country. In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/japanese-internment-banished-and-beyond-tears-feature
Nova Scotia Archives. (2019). Gone but never forgotten: Bob Brooks’ photographic portrait of Africville in the 1960s. Retrieved from https://novascotia.ca/archives/africville/default.asp
Ryback, R. (2016, February 22). From Baby Boomers to Generation Z: The generational gaps and their roles in society. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-truisms-wellness/201602/baby-boomers-generation-z
Schwartz, H. L. (1996). Faith. In W.A. Elwell (Ed.), Bakers’ evangelical dictionary of biblical theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House. Retrieved from https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/faith/
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