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Is there a universal agreement on what constitutes good academic writing? Do the rules of academic writing vary from discipline to discipline? We are often asked these questions, along with the following: How can the AWC offer equally valid support to students of such diverse disciplines as Business, Geography, Science, Medicine, and Psychology?
One answer is that an ability to use language to express complex ideas forcefully and clearly is essential to all academic disciplines. We help students identify problems with the structure of their written work; we show them how to condense sentences without losing their original meaning and how to foreground their main ideas. Usually, we know very little about the content of the work. This, in fact, is an advantage, because it allows us to focus on the writing alone.
Yet these questions can be also seen as an invitation for a scholarly debate which would be profitable for students. To start the debate, we would like to ask faculty members to send us links to what they consider to be well-written articles in their discipline.
Looking at what their teachers consider to be examples of good academic writing, students will begin to reflect on their own writing skills. Tastes differ; approaches vary. Some professors are more tolerant of first-person pronoun use or long sentences than others. However, through looking at these pieces students will come to appreciate the diversity of approaches to academic writing while at the same time discerning and emulating the traits shared by all good writers.
We have been delighted to receive some links to well-written articles and would be grateful for further links.
Recommended by Professor Ciaran Morrison (http://www.nuigalway.ie/biochemistry/staff/morrison/index.html)
Note how the author of the three articles retains his voice while changing the style of writing depending on the nature of the publication:
Recommended by Rónán Kennedy
Rónán Kennedy is a co-author of How to Think, Write and Cite: Key Skills for Irish Law Students. Round Hall, 2011.