Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Resolving your Research Project (Academic Conventions)

Introduction - what you are going to address, how you are going to address it.

How to structure and write dissertation element.

Academic conventions are like an institutional framework for your work.
They structure and standardise and they aspire to academic honesty.

People who mark will be looking for these conventions.

At this level you are expected to be able to :

Demonstrate a critical knowledge of practice
Apply theory to practice
Analyse relevant material
Evaluate theory and evidence within the context of study
Reflect - critiquing and critically reflecting on your learning and using this to improve practice.

Question and interrogate sources, apply ideas in original ways to examples of your own choosing
- you being an original thinker, own analysis and evaluation and reflecting.

Am I evidencing that I have a critical knowledge, deeper analysis?

Deep engagement with topic.


Comprehension - understanding how facts relate to each other.

Creation - doing something with all that knowledge.

Need synthesis, critique, deep knowledge.

Surface Approach - AVOID
This is more often caused by lack of preparation or engagement.

Do you try and challenge or unpick ideas that people have said?
Is there a sense that you are looking at small ideas and not joining dots.
Is your writing tracing underlying patterns between points and theories?

Deep approach
Independent engagement with material
Critical and thoughtful about idea and information
Relates ideas to own previous experience and knowledge
Sees the big picture
Relates evidence to conclusions
Examines logic of arguments
Interested in wider reading and thinking
Ongoing preparation and reflection - blog. Records of meetings, crits, etc.

How do I evidence deep learning?
Academic writing is formal and follows some standard conventions.

Each academic discipline has its own specialist vocabulary which you will be expected to learn and use in your own writing

The substance of academic writing must be based on solid evidence and logical analysis, and presented as a concise and accurate argument.

Academic writing can allow you to present your argument and analysis accurately and concisely.

Everything you say in writing has to be substantiated by evidence, need to show how all points have emerged from your engagement from some scholarly process - eg. book, questionnaire, research.
Use quotes.

Aiming for as concise and direct style of writing as possible, avoid conversational and rhetorical tones.

Don't want to seem uncertain.

Explicity referencing where your idea is coming from.

Don't say - may be this, might, could potentially, etc.

Shorter sentences rather than longer.

Don't use same word over and over. You need to look like you have a broad vocabulary.

Avoid abbreviations and contractions - isn't instead of is not, avoid slang words and phrases.
Avoid vague terms, conversational terms.

'Consideration has been give to...'

'The suggestion here is that...'

'It has been observed...'

Preliminaries - titile, acknowledgements (optional), contents, list of illustrations - like bibliography but with images with page numbers.

Introduction - the abstract, statement of the problem, methodological approach
summarises question asking and why asking it, outlines methodological approach
how it is going to be structured, key sources - writers, etc. (approx 500 words)

Main body - review of the literature, logically developed argument, chapters, results of investigation, case study. Should show logical development through a number of chapters. get more defined throughout chapters,

Conclusion - echo introduction

Bibliography, appendices, after conclusion doesn't count towards word count - eg. interviews, transcribed.

1.5 line spaced apart from quotes that are more than two lines long, these long quotes 1 line spaced.

Use longer quotes to evidence close reading, analytical skills, but also you need to show how you can summarise in one chapter.

Project self assessment.
Write down the major aims of the project.
Give a brief summary of the work so far.
Comment on your time management.
Do you know what the final project will look like?
What steps will you take to ensure it gets there?
What areas of the project are you worried about?
What risk management plans do you have?
How are you going to use the remaining tutorials?

Dont prioritise one element over the other - written or practical.

Images at end, fig,1 etc.

Bibliography should be alphabetised by surname and separated out into types of research sources

More correct way reference images -

In Zoffany's 1771-2
The Academicians of the royal academy (Miles, 2013, p.7) a scene is painted representing ...

Authors own image if taken itself.

Conclusion, eg.
In this essay I have attempted to highlight the simultaneous necessity and limitations of a variety of academic conventions that institutionally frame research at undergraduate level...

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