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This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, English for Academic Study. Join the course to learn more.

Create your own definitions

Now it’s your turn to practise writing your own definitions.

Read the following excerpts from Professor Gardner’s video and use the information in the video and the Macmillan Dictionary Online to write your own definitions of the words.


Literature could mean English literature: the books and novels that we read, or literatures in English, the books and novels that are written by people in English, but normally in academic terms we don’t mean that. We mean the writing in the discipline, so the writing that scholars write about sociology or business or engineering. And when students are told to consult the literature, that usually means looking at their textbooks, going to the library, looking for sources, looking for evidence usually to support the arguments that they’re making in their writing and then including those in their writing, referring to them in their writing.


A source is where you get your information from. Sources are very important in all disciplines and sometimes students will have to find their own sources and in other disciplines they will be given sources. My son studied engineering, and when I asked him what sources he used, he basically used the textbook, he used the lecture notes, he used practical materials that he was given in his course and he did very little library research. But, if someone is studying English, they might spend a lot of time in the library looking for sources that will be different — different students in the class might use different sources — using those in their writing. So the sources differ across disciplines, but they’re basically the places where you look for evidence to support whatever you are doing in your work.


Scholarship is sometimes placed between teaching and research, so scholarship is academic work that may not be original, but it is academic. So, research tends to be original, this is the first person who has had this idea, who’s discovered something, but scholarship is being able to take what other people know and to use it intelligently and appropriately in your work.

Your task

Add your definitions to the comments, then read other people’s definitions. Can you use them to further develop your own definitions?

At the end of the week, we will post some example definitions for you to check against.

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This article is from the free online course:

English for Academic Study

Coventry University