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UCL老师告诉你Acadamic Writing值得注意的几个问题

UCL老师告诉你Acadamic Writing值得注意的几个问题
      Academic Writing,在这里可以简单理解为在英语国家留学用于完成平时作业,毕业论文和发表学术成果时所使用的写作方式。对我们中国留学生来说,会背单词翻译句子,和真正掌握这门语言并应用于学习中还存在很大的差距。下文中小编根据UCL的Michele老师整理了几个大家在Academic Writing中值得注意的几个要点:

      1. 结构问题。中国留学生在参加了一系列雅思托福考试之后学会了几个固定的文章分段方式,确实有以不变应万变的便利,但是也不可避免的损失了利用更合适结构强化论点的机会。

      2. Narrowing思想的问题。我们的教育,至少我经历过的写作教育中,确实提倡大主题从小处切入,但是从宏观到具体的楔形narrowing思维却很少有提及。这个思想简直就是Introduction和Literature Review高效完成的保障。同时对应Discussion也可以反向使用,确保结构分明逻辑清晰。

      3. Acadamic Words的问题。这个有点语言和文化的问题在里面,就像很多歪果仁搞不懂 “意思”,“方便” 这种词汇,我们有时也很难分清一些英语同义词近义词的区别,毕竟背单词的时候大多数就是死记硬背。而且,为了应付雅思考试的机械背诵近义词也会引起概念模糊的问题。当然如果你雅思没够还是乖乖去背单词。

      4. 文采问题。也许是因为语言的陌生,我们的英语作文往往都在注重表达清晰,而机会摒弃了对精彩表述方式的追求,显得非常平淡没有热情。当然这个问题只针对追求高质量的情况,毕竟很多英国人写的也很平淡甚至啰嗦。

      其他如时态,语态,副词连接词什么的问题,只要语法基础牢固,都是很轻松解决的问题。改写避免剽窃,引用等也都是容易理解的。说到底,更多的还是在于写作习惯,思考习惯和英汉语背后文化的不同。而着最好的学习方法就是边写边思考边找人改,当然前提是别人的学术造诣要比你身,要么就交给专业的学术机构来改,比如HotEssay就有提供英文论文修改润色服务。

      下面是找Michele要的一篇大体上的指导,直接贴上了。这个话题有人感兴趣的话我愿意找时间仔细研究一下。

      These are general points that any good scientific essay should follow.

      1. Structure: essays should make an argument: your essay should have a point and reach a conclusion, even if tentative, and you should try to convince the reader that your point is correct. This is the most important single point in writing a good essay. It will help you make it well organized, and well-written. Clarity of thought and argument provide the necessary basis for a clear writing style. Thus, just like making a legal case in the courtroom, you follow a logical progression, using data or evidence to support each step of your argument, until you reach a logical conclusion.

      What counts as a good argument, or a solid conclusion? There is room for considerable creativity here, depending on the topic. It is easier to say what does not count as a good conclusion. For example, you should never just review a study or studies, and conclude that "more work is necessary". More work is always necessary, and YOUR work in this essay is to reach a more substantive conclusion than that. A recapitulation of some experiments with no substantive conclusions does not constitute a good essay, however accurate.

      State the point of the essay in the introduction, using the first person (I argue, I believe, etc.). For example: "I will argue here that the frustration/aggression hypothesis is based on an oversimplified and inadequate psychological model, and is thus unable to explain most cases of prejudice that have been analyzed".

      2. It is key to back up each crucial point that you make with data. Don't just cite the study, but briefly describe its key result(s) in a sentence or two, and explain, explicitly, why this supports your point. Any statements of nonobvious fact (e.g. "monkeys can follow gaze", or "dopamine is necessary for motor function") should be followed by a reference (even if only to a textbook).

      Each piece of data should be cited at the appropriate place in the argument (and not repeated excessively in other less appropriate places). Avoid unnecessary data. How many of a species live where, what it eats, etc. are typically NOT relevant. Specific statistical values, like means or p values, are almost never appropriately cited in a review. Also, don't describe all the details of any experiment, only those that are relevant to the question you are addressing.

      On the other hand, ALWAYS cite relevant data. If something is relevant to your point, you must cite it (even if it goes against your argument!). Finally, don't say "This treatment appeared to have an effect" - either there was a statistically significant effect (in which case you say "there was a significant effect of x on y) or it didn't ("there was no effect of x ")

      3. Proof: Note that the logic of scientific discovery is that of generating a list of possibilities (postulating hypotheses) and then doing experiments to test them. We proceed by rejecting false hypotheses, rather than proving true ones. If we've rejected all of the plausible hypotheses but one, we consider the one left standing to be the best one, so far, but we don't consider it proven until a large amount of data converges on that as the only remaining possibility, from many labs and with many different techniques. So it is very unusual for a single empirical study to "prove" a particular hypothesis. It may be consistent with that hypothesis, but doesn't prove it.

      So in general, we say "this finding rejects the hypothesis that x", or "this finding is consistent with the hypothesis that y". Scientists tend to avoid the word "proof" except where the logical case is really water-tight.

      Similarly, a bad or methodologically flawed experiment can't prove (or disprove) anything (except the ineptness of the scientists who performed it).

      4. Being critical means carefully examining the factual basis for a statement. Just criticizing a study (e.g. for only looking at one species, using a particular methodology, or having two few data points) does not demonstrate a critical attitude. Part of science is separating the crucial from the incidental factors, and criticizing incidentals is worse than saying nothing at all. Being overcritical about irrelevant issues is as bad as (maybe worse) than being uncritical.

      So for example, using a technique that is not perfect, or has only a few conditions, or using a single test species, etc., are not valid targets of strong criticism. They may be points to be brought up in considering the implications of a study, but they are not "flaws". Flaws include critical things left uncontrolled, poorly-described methods, incorrect statistics or hypotheses overlooked that suggest the results presented do not show what the scientists claim they show. Thinking of alternative hypotheses that can explain the observed data in a different way is one of the most creative aspects of psychological research, and can be challenging and fun.

      5. Be concise. Avoid such tropes as "it is believed that" or "scientists believe". Or (perhaps worse) "the general consensus seems to be..." (Science is not a popularity contest!) Say instead, "Herman (1996) {claimed (particularly if you don't agree)/showed (particularly if you do)/suggested (if it is a hypothesis)} that x". If it is you making the argument, just say "I suggest" (don't say "this paper suggests").

      Keep sentence structure simple and clear (avoid run-on sentences). Finally, avoid colloquial or informal expressions "a lot of", "to try and see what is best", or hyperbole ("this fabulous and amazing study").

      6. Do not use technical terms not known to a general psychologist without definition and explication. Terms like "metarepresentation", "peduncolopontine", "second- order representation", "phoneme" or "intentionality" have technical uses that need to be concisely summarized.

      7. Latin names of species are italicized. The genus is always capitalized and the species never is (Home sapiens, Canis familiaris). If the species is unknown it is written Naja sp., (singular) and if you want to discuss multiple species of the same genus you can write Naja spp. (plural). These rules are the same for all living things.

      On the other hand common names of animals are typically not capitalized in modern literature (we say rhesus macaques, not Rhesus Macaques). The exception is when a place name is involved (Alaskan brown bears, not alaskan brown bears).

      8. References: You must cite all work that you rely on to in making your argument. More detail on this is given in the section on Plagiarism below. All references should be given in full at the end of the essay (as in the example reference list at the end of this section). In the text, these should be referred to using the names of the authors and the date of publication. For example: Stein and Walsh (1997); Correll, Park, Judd and Wittenbrink (2002). If there are more than two authors, then this may be abbreviated if you need to refer to it again (so this example becomes Correll et al (1978). If there are six of more authors, you should use ‘et al’ even for the first citation.

      Note there are two formats that can be used for referencing, shown here:

      “Stein and Walsh (1997) review the evidence for differences in the magnocelluar processing stream ...”

      “There is evidence that processing in the magnocellular stream can differ in dyslexia (Stein and Walsh, 1997)”

      Don't cite something you haven't read yourself directly. Instead say: "(Sherif (1966), as cited in Hogg et al)". Then give the reference to Hogg et al, not to Sherif (1966), in the reference list.

      9. A few common mistakes with scientific terms/words/abbreviations:

      A. The abbreviation for et alia (which means "and others" in Latin) is et al. So you write (Jones et al., 1978). Do this only if there are two or more co-authors in addition to the primary author (so Jones and Smith 1978 is never Jones et al 1978)

      B. One stimulus, two stimuli. "A stimuli" is not a correct grammatical construction.

      C. "Data" are plural. "The data are consistent with...". The singular term, "datum" is rarely used - instead we discuss a single "data point"

      D. "Ganglion is" singular, "ganglia are" plural (thus "the basal ganglia are"). Same with criterion (sing) and criteria (plural) or phenomenon (sing) vs phenomena (pl).

      E. Hyperbolic terms like "huge", "amazing", "vast" , and "incredible" and punctuation like "!" very rarely have a place in scientific writing.

      F. The "work" of some scientists generally refers to their life's work or some subset of it, and thus more than a single paper. If you want to discuss one paper, call it a "study".

      G. Replication: a study is an "attempt at replication" if they 1) use the same methods and "a replication" if they 2) get the same results. If they don't get the same results it is a "failure to replicate". If they don't use the same methods (in broad outline) it is neither an attempt to replicate, nor a failure to replicate - its just a different study.

      10. Finally many students seem to have problems with contractions and possessives. Singular possessives are formed by adding -'s (a single animal's food). The possessive of a regular plural (with -s) is formed by adding the apostrophe after the s: "all the animals' cages". But irregular plurals (like person/people) just take the -'s: "The People's Party"

      REMEMBER:

      Make an argument, and reach a conclusion. State the argument in the introductory paragraph. The rest of the essay is an attempt to convince the reader that your argument is sensible, logical, and conforms to the facts. The most important thing is to argue some point: don't just say what they are but say what the advantages and disadvantages of each are.

      Example References:
      Journal Article: Fitch, W. T., & Hauser, M. D. (2004). Computational constraints on syntactic processing in a nonhuman primate. Science, 303, 377-380.

      Book: Byrne, R. W. (1995). The Thinking Ape: Evolutionary Origins of Intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

      Book Chapter: Fitch, W. T. (2005). Computation and Cognition: Four distinctions and their implications. In A. Cutler (Ed.), Twenty-First Century Psycholinguistics: Four Cornerstones (pp. 381-400). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
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