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Further reading on literacy-oriented approach to research writing

Further explanations on "Read for Writing" approach and introduction to rhetorical consciousness-raising

Reading for writing

The concept of this literacy-oriented approach can be traced back to the rhetorical consciousness-raising practice (Sengupta, 1999), which promotes awareness of language use in reading text.

I believe now you have some basic understanding of what research is and what research writing is like. Before I’ll see you again next class, I will like to introduce you to a strategy I have developed over the year. I call it “reading for writing,” okay? Here, I do believe that before we can effectively construct a research article, we first have to deconstruct, analyze, decompose, analyze, and identify some features and critical elements in the writing so that, eventually, we can apply this idea and knowledge in our actual writing. So, exactly what is “reading for writing?” I will say, reading is the foundation of our writing ability and skills. In reading, we can develop our knowledge of vocabulary, the common use, the phrases, and also the convention in that field. So, I call it, it’s more data-driven because, from your reading, you can collect vocabulary, improve your grammar skills, and also learn the words from those well-established and published writers. So, here, I do believe that in order to improve your research writing skill, we read more research articles that can definitely improve your knowledge and ability alike. So, here, when we are deconstructing a research article, pay attention to the organization of the content, and how the information is being organized in a certain way, in a logical way, from general to specific. Next time, when you are reading a research article, don’t just focus on the content or don’t just jump right to the results section. Instead, probably slow down and pay more attention, okay? Raise your awareness of linguistic features. So, other than an organization, please also pay special attention to the structure. If you are very familiar with the structure commonly used in your field, in the research article, you can definitely increase your genre knowledge. Also, linguistic aspects. The language used, alright? So, if you are more familiar with those commonly used phrases and vocabulary in your field, you can soon apply that knowledge in your future writing. So, I will consider it as reused. This is different from plagiarism. Don’t worry. We will be talking about how we can appropriately borrow language that can be reused in your writing.

How to Read for Writing in this course?

  • Select a research article in your field. First, I will like to ask you to select a research article in your field, namely physics, chemicals, engineering, biomedical research, you name it. I want [you] to choose a research article that you are familiar with, and that you will be reading for your research. But please be noted that do not choose a review paper because review papers usually follow a very different structure and they will organize information in a different way. In this course, we focus on research articles, which are usually empirical studies. More like a research report. In the document, remember to describe the research process, and why you are doing it. So, once you have selected a research article in your field, I will like you to keep that article handy throughout the rest of the course because whenever we introduce a new concept, I will like you to see if you can identify that pattern, or use that knowledge right into your reading process.
  • Reflect on the selected paper constantly. If you have that selected article ready, make sure you constantly reflect on the selected paper in various different aspects. You can try to identify the language feature and the structure of the whole paper in general. And you can also compare and contrast to see disciplinary differences because in this course, I know, my dear students, you are coming from different fields and different departments, different programs. So, the structure of your selected article may look different from each other. And I’ll be talking about those general principles and the typical structure. So, you can try to reflect on those universal features and see if your paper looks the same or actually looks different from those principles.
  • Mark on the selected paper And your selected paper, I will suggest you print it all out. Print it out as a print copy. Or, if you are more used to reading on the screen, or on your iPad, that’s fine, too. I hope you can find a way to mark that selected paper to highlight some language use so that in the future, you can use that as a reference. You can mark on the verb, a very commonly used verb, a single verb, and/or some word choices on adjectives, and also see if there’s a tendency for active or passive voice, and also the tense so that once you can identify those and also highlight those phrases and vocabulary, you can actually borrow them and use them in your writing. So, this is how we can read for research writing. I hope you will have your selected research article ready next time. Like that, okay? I’ll see you next time.

References: “Rhetorical consciousness raising”

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Deconstructing Research Articles: How to Read and Write a Research Paper

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