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Academic writing

Learn to write using an academic style that is appropriate and grammatically correct.

If you come from a background where English is not your first language, it will be helpful to you to look at the section on common problems in language construction. If you feel your style is too informal or relaxed, read the section on making your language sound formal and what to avoid. There is also a useful guide on using punctuation and including the ideas from research literature in your writing.

Inclusive language

At university, there are a number of people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds as well as people with disabilities, different sexual preferences and holding varied religious or spiritual belief systems.

We all have a responsibility to respect these differences and ensure that our speech and language is appropriate and non-discriminatory. This means avoiding terms that are offensive or using language that portrays certain people in negative ways.

  • An Indigenous Australian is someone of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in the community in which he/she lives or has lived.

    The term aboriginal, written with a small ‘a’ is used to describe indigenous people around the world and fails to recognise the uniqueness of Indigenous Australians.

    The term Aboriginal, with a capital ‘A’, on the other hand denotes Indigenous Australians and is therefore a more appropriate word to use.

    Indigenous Australians are not, however, a homogeneous group and prefer to be called by the language or cultural groups to which they belong. For example, in the Northern Territory there are many different groups such as the Larrakia (Darwin), Tiwi people who live on Bathurst and Melville Islands, the Yolngu from Arnhem Land and the Warlpiri from areas north and west of Alice Springs.

    AppropriateInappropriate

    Indigenous Australian people

    Aboriginal people

    aborigines

    Black or blackfellas

    Half caste, quarter caste, full blood

  • It is important too to avoid ethnic or racist labels which create negative stereotypes. Any person, who was born in Australia or has acquired Australian citizenship regardless of their cultural background or origins, should be referred to as Australian.

    Terms such as ‘wog’ or ‘dago’ or ‘chink’ should be avoided as they demean and belittle people and are seen as a form of racial harassment.

  • Language that humiliates or intends harm to people on the basis of their assumed or actual sexual preference is not acceptable and can be offensive.

    Derogatory comments about gays, lesbian, bisexual members of the public are heard all too often. Unless members of these groups have used specific terms to reclaim their identity and as a means of empowerment, it is not generally acceptable to use terms such as 'dyke' or 'queer', 'poofter', and so on.

    AppropriateInappropriate

    lesbian, bisexual woman/man

    transgender person, transsexual person

    dyke, faggot, homo, tranny, lemon

     

  • Historically language usage has privileged men and often rendered women invisible or inferior.

    Here are some examples of appropriate and inappropriate language usage.

    AppropriateInappropriate

    Humans, humankind, spokesperson, chairperson.

    Man, mankind, spokesman, chairman

    Office staff, doctor, cleaner, professor

    The girls in the office, woman doctor, male nurse, cleaning lady, female professor

    Actor, author, managerAuthoress, actress, manageress
  • It is important that people with a disability feel that they are part of university life and are not excluded through the inappropriate use of language. Language that constructs people with disabilities as victims and focuses on the disability and not the person is inappropriate. It is therefore important to put the person, not the disability first.

    AppropriateInappropriate
    Person with a disabilityHandicapped or disabled
    Person with a hearing impairmentDeaf
    Person with a visual impairmentBlind
    Person with a psychiatric disorderMad/insane

    In summary, it is important to remember that inclusive language is required at university and students are encouraged to use appropriate terms and language in all their written and oral communications.

Grammar

How to write using an academic style.

In this section, common problems relating to language construction have been identified so that students can become aware of these and avoid them in their writing.

Common problems in language construction

  • Sentences can be short and concise, or longer and more complex. However, it is important to vary the length of your sentences so that your writing doesn't sound too abrupt (with the overuse of short sentences), or too densely packed with ideas (with the overuse of long sentences).

    One of the most common problems in writing is students writing sentence fragments rather than complete sentences.

    What is a sentence?

    A complete sentence (which is also called an independent clause) must always contain a subject and a verb.

    Example 1: The bushfires devastated many of the areas in the Adelaide Hills.

    This first sentence contains a subject (The bushfires) and a verb (devastated) and then more information in given about what the bushfires devastated.

    You may sometimes see sentences without a subject but these are usually instructions.

    Example 2: Use the exit stairs in case of fire.

    The subject (you or anybody reading this notice) is inferred from the situation but the verb is still there.

    What is a sentence fragment?

    A sentence fragment (which may also be a dependent clause) is an incomplete sentence because it is missing either the subject or the verb or both.

    Example 1: Because of the northerly winds

    Example 2: Because of the northerly winds, years of drought and tinder-box bushland, along with an ill-prepared and under-equipped country fire service.

    The sentence fragment can be made into a complete sentence:

    Because of the northerly winds, the fire spread quickly through the bushland.

    The fire spread quickly through the bushland because of the northerly winds, years of drought and tinder-box bushland, along with an ill-prepared and under-equipped country fire service.

    Examples of independent clauses

    1. Many of our laws originated from customary law.
    2. The authority of customary law should be limited.
    3. The customary system of law varies in different areas.

    Examples of dependent clauses/phrases

    1. In resolving disputes and meting out justice.
    2. Outside of the major cities.
    3. Particularly in areas of criminal justice.

    By adding an independent clause to each of the dependent clauses above, we can complete each sentence.

    1. Village councils play the main role in resolving disputes and meting out justice.
    2. Outside of the major cities, village councils play the main role in resolving disputes and meting out justice.
    3. The customary system of law varies in different countries particularly in areas of criminal justice.

    Joining two complete (independent) sentences

    If you want to make a longer sentences from two complete sentences, you will need to use a linking word or phrase.

    Examples:

    • The bushfires devastated many of the areas in the Adelaide Hills. Many people lost their homes.
    • The bushfires devastated many of the areas in the Adelaide Hills and many people lost their homes.
    • The national government has little control over what happens in rural areas in north-west Pakistan. The people rely on their village councils to enforce the law.
    • The national government has little control over what happens in rural areas in north-west Pakistan so the people rely on their village councils to enforce the law.
  • Another common problem in writing is ensuring that when we list a number of components in a sentence, we must keep the same grammatical structure. Generally the rule is to use all nouns (or noun phrases) or verb + noun (or noun phrase).

    Example 1: The main student attributes include an ability to communicate well, think critically, and problem solving.

    This is not a parallel structure because it uses a noun phrase, verb/noun and noun. The following sentence is correct as all nouns are used.

    The main student attributes include effective communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.

    Example 2: Because of northerly winds blowing, out of control bush growth and the lack of rainfall for years, the fire quickly spread.

    This is not a parallel structure because it uses a noun/verb phrase, noun phrase and noun phrases. The following sentence is correct as all nouns are used.

    Because of the northerly winds, uncontrolled growth of the bush and the lack of rainfall for years, the fire quickly spread.

  • Definition of articles

    English has two types of articles: definite (the) and indefinite (a, an.) The use of these articles depends on whether the noun following the article possesses one of these paired qualities:

    • general or specific

    Coffee is a popular drink.

    The most popular drink in Australia now is coffee.

    • countable or uncountable

    I drank a cup of tea.

    I drank tea.

    • first mentioned or subsequently mentioned

    A cyclist crossed Trower Road on a red light and was lucky not to be hit by a car. However, the police noticed and stopped the cyclist further up the road.

    • is unique or forms part of shared knowledge

    Do you know I saw Tony Blair in Geneva. Do you mean the Tony Blair?

    Subject verb agreement

    Most students are familiar with the basic rules of subject verb agreement.

    Example: I live in Darwin, she lives in Melbourne and the Scotts live in Bendigo.

    Complicated sentence structures

    It becomes more complicated with the following sentence constructions:

    Using a noun phrase

    The Commission for Renewable Energy is convening the conference in Melbourne.

    The repeated scene of rioting shown on television news leads some teenagers to believe that civil disorder can be a legitimate form of protest.

    Indefinite pronoun such as someone, anyone

    Anyone is going to get lost in the labyrinth of the Turkish bazaars.

    A phrase starting with a quantifier such as some, any...

    Some breakfast cereals have nutritious ingredients.

    Any part of the crowd is at risk from the military.

    Phrases using either ... or and neither ... nor

    The energy crisis will neither be solved by increasing the price of petrol nor by rationing fuel.

    The energy crisis is not going to be solved by either increasing the price of petrol or by rationing fuel.

    Complex sentences

    The result of atmospheric pollution and soil degradation is the destruction of plant life and increased respiratory problems amongst the population.

    Many people who have been unemployed for several years and have given up hope of ever obtaining paid employment are beginning to think about how they might start their own small business.

    Sentences starting with words ending in 'ing'

    Getting into town is going to be more difficult than we think after that heavy rain.

    Going without water for more than three days is going to irreparably damage the vital organs of the body.

What to avoid in formal writing

When writing an essay, it is important to construct a reasoned argument that is supported by carefully researched evidence.

The language that you use needs to be precise and uncluttered by unnecessary devices which have the potential to distract the reader, shift the meaning or detract from the clarity of the argument.

  • It is usually the case that in formal writing you avoid the use of personal pronouns.  These include I, me, we, us and you. 

    However there are instances in certain disciplines where your lecturer will invite you to use the first person. In reflective journal writing, for example, using the first person is appropriate.

    Example 1: When you are reporting what you did

    Instead of writing:
    I prepared all the laboratory equipment for the whole group.

    Write:
    The laboratory equipment for the chemistry experiment was prepared.

    Instead of writing:
    I presented the group’s findings to the class.

    Write:
    The group’s findings were presented to the class.

    Example 2: When you are referring to what you have said

    Instead of writing:
    As I have already mentioned, Save the Children are leading the policy discussions on the establishment of Early Childhood Centres.

    Write:
    As previously mentioned, Save the Children are leading the policy discussions on the establishment of Early Childhood Centres.

    In each of these examples, we used the passive voice to make sure that the language sounds impersonal.

    Example 3: When you want to signal that you are drawing a conclusion, use an impersonal form such as: It can be seen that...

    Instead of writing:
    When using this teaching methodology with children from non-literate homes, you can easily see why it will never be successful.

    Write:
    When using this teaching methodology with children from non-literate homes, it can easily be seen why it will never be successful.

    Example 4: When you want to use evidence to arrive at a conclusion you can also use similar language. 

    Instead of writing:
    We can see, after examining the students’ results, that children are much more likely to be successful in their first two years of school if they have benefitted from preschool activities that promote cognitive growth.

    Write:
    The students’ results show that children are much more likely to be successful in their first two years of school if they have benefitted from preschool activities that promote cognitive growth.

  • You are often asked to present a point of view in your writing, but it is important that you do this in an appropriate way.

    The words in the table below help to grade the strength of your opinion. That is, they fill in the space between ‘yes’ or ‘absolutely’ or ‘no’ ‘not at all’. They are words which cover the ‘shades of grey’.

    StrongModerateWeak
    MustWillMay
    CertainlyProbablyMight
    UndoubtedlyLikely/unlikelyCould or possibly

    You can also use the different phrases given below to show the strength of what you are saying your language by using expressions like:

    StrongModerateWeak
    It is certain thatIt is likely/unlikelyIt seems possible
    It seems clearIt seems probablyIt appears possible
    It appears obviousIt appears probably/likelyIt is possible

    Examples:

    It is unlikely that government funding for university research will increase over the next five years.

    It seems clear that the number of online courses will increase.

  • A cliché is an expression that has been overused.

    Examples:

    • We cannot build a new school at this point in time.
    • Who would have thought that slavery could exist in this day and age?
    • The Prime Minister believed that at the end of the day her policies would be vindicated.
  • A metaphor takes a name or descriptive term and applies it to a person or object in a non-literal sense.

    Examples:

    •  A glaring error
    • The heart of the matter
    • Pillar of the community
    • A wave of terrorism
  • A simile compares a person, action or object with something else.

    Examples:

    •  Fly like an eagle
    • Solid as a rock
    • As happy as Larry
    • Pleased as Punch

    Well-chosen metaphors and similes can give your writing immense expressive power.

    Once a metaphor or simile has become a cliché, it no longer provides a vivid image for the reader.

    Consequently, instead of impressing your readers with your writing style, you leave them with the impression that you have nothing of substance to say.

  • Figures of speech are closely related to clichés. Like metaphors and similes, figures of speech provide a writer with a colourful or forceful means to draw attention to a particular point but should be avoided in academic writing.

    • The cleaners were advised to lift their game or else.
    • Management has been on a steep learning curve.
    • It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
  • What are colloquialisms?

    Colloquialisms are words or phrases that belong in conversational contexts.

    Examples:

    • Everybody was wandering around like stunned mullets. (Dazed and confused)
    • We'll all be pushing up daisies soon enough. (Dead)

    In everyday speech or conversation we often contract words so that what we say does not sound too pompous. E.g. 'can not' (e.g. can't), 'have not' (e.g. haven't), 'is not' (isn't), 'would have' (would've), 'should have' (e.g. should've) and so on. However, in academic writing, colloquial forms should be avoided.

    Some colloquialisms, such as slang expressions or phrases might demean or exclude other language users and must also be avoided. See inclusive language.

  • Padding consists of all the extra words added to writing that do not add anything to the meaning or content of the text.

    This includes:

    • redundant phrases such as 'It is interesting/worthy/important to note that ...’ 'For what it's worth ...’
    • irrelevant material which has no bearing on your topic
    • 'Dead' words include words which repeat other words e.g. dead corpse, combined together
    • adverbs add quantity but little to the meaning. Adverbs such as: really, rather, quite, totally and so on, may not enhance your expression. For example: really obscure, rather tedious.
  • Sometimes writers think that by using big, unfamiliar words or complicated sentence structures that this makes their writing sound sophisticated or more important. But it usually just means that no one understands it. For example:

    This author concludes that, after due and full consideration, some writers exhibit discursive practices that produce undecipherable sentences, the intelligibility of which beggar even the most sophisticated ratiocinative beings.

    The sentence could instead be rewritten.

    • A simple rewrite: Some people write so badly that no one understands it.
    • A complex rewrite: Some people write in a way that makes it difficult for even quite educated people to understand them.
  • Texting language is the collective term used for the shorthand way that people talk to each other using text messages, email, instant messaging and other forms of written contact. Abbreviating words is common in text language as the examples below show.

    • asap - As soon as possible
    • atm - At the moment
    • b4 - Before
    • brb - Be right back
    • btw - By the way

    These examples and others are used in informal texting exchanges. It is important to remember that text language is not acceptable in formal writing such as essays, exams, reports etcetera.

Punctuation

Punctuation marks help you to organise your words into clauses and sentences, and hence into identifiable units of meaning.

They are the signs that alert readers to the appropriate pauses in your text. These pauses signal where you intend the emphasis and intonation to be placed, and thus how you want the text to be read. Punctuation marks help you tell the reader how to find the meaning from your organisation of the words.

Thus, punctuation is more than just an incidental aspect of writing. It is an essential skill that helps you to express yourself clearly, directly and effectively.

  • End marks are used to end a sentence. They enable you to tell your reader where one thought ends and another begins. Thus, end marks help you keep your ideas distinct so that your reader can understand what you have written.

    Three ways a sentence can be ended are a full stop, exclamation mark and question mark.

    Full stop

    • This sentence finishes with a full stop.
    • This sentence does not!

    Exclamation mark

    An exclamation mark should be used when you intend the sentence to be either a strong command or an emphatic declaration.

    • Do as you are told! [strong command]
    • Idiot! [emphatic declaration].

    Question mark

    This is used to indicate a direct question.

    Example: What did you mean by that outrageous claim?

  • Being able to identify independent and dependent clauses will help you to decide where to put commas (or other punctuation) in your writing.

    An independent clause contains a subject and a verb.

    Example: The tree was losing its leaves.

    So it is a complete sentence in itself. However, a dependent clause cannot stand on its own. If it is written alone, it doesn't make sense. It is an incomplete sentence. This is because it is usually missing a subject, or a verb or both.

    Example: Because of the drought.

    We join dependent and independent clauses together to ensure:

    1. The meaning is clear: The tree was losing its leaves because of the drought.
    2. The sentence is complete: Because of the drought, the tree was losing its leaves.

    Commas are needed to clarify meaning when dependent and independent clauses are added to each other to form complex sentences.

    The general rules with commas in complex sentences are:

    1. If the dependent clause comes after the independent clause (highlighted), no comma is necessary.
      Village councils play the main role in resolving disputes and meting out justice.
    2. If the dependent clause is before the independent clause, you need a comma.
      Outside of the major cities, village councils play the main role in resolving disputes and meting out justice.
    3. If the dependent clause is in the middle of an independent clause or in the middle of two independent clauses, you need a comma each side of it.
      The whole parliament, aside from the President, agreed with the proposed legislation.
      Zahra’s family, who had lived in a small village all their lives, suddenly decided to move to the city. Tehran, with a population of more than twenty million, is a busy, chaotic city

    Other uses of the comma

    • Use a comma to separate the elements in a list.

    We need stationery, blackboards and easels for each school.

    • Use a comma + a conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two independent clause

    The kittens were very cute, but they were really out of control.

    • Use a comma to separate adjectives (descriptive words)

    That run-down, dilapidated cottage with the overgrown garden.

    • If you can put an and or a but between the adjectives, a comma will probably belong there.

    For instance, you could say, "I live in a very old and run-down house."

    • Use a comma to set off quoted elements. Because we don't use quoted material all the time, even when writing, this is probably the most difficult rule to remember in comma usage.

    Williams (2003) said, “It is highly unlikely that school improvement projects really work as they are intended.”

    • Use commas to set off phrases that express contrast.

    Some say the world will end in ice, not fire.

    • Use a comma to avoid confusion or misunderstanding.
    1. For most, the year is already finished.
    2. Woman without her man would be useless.
    3. Woman, without her, man would be useless

    Typographical reasons

    Use a comma between a town and a state [Bendigo, Victoria], a date and the year [June 15, 1997],

  • Colons (written as : ) are used mainly to introduce lists, summaries, or quotations.

    List

    You will need the following: four cups of flour, three eggs, one cup of sugar, one teaspoon of vanilla flavouring, and some imagination.

    Summary

    The company's financial position can be summarised in one word: disastrous.

    Quote

    Within western philosophy, for a man the question of the sex of his body does not arise: A man never begins by presenting himself as an individual of a certain sex; it goes without saying that he is a man (de Beauvoir 1988, 15).

  • Semicolons (written as ;) are used to link two closely related Independent sentences.

    Examples:

    • The chef prepared the fancy dishes; the assistants did the rest.
    • The students entered through the main doors; the lecturers had their own entrance.

    You can also use a semicolon to separate comma-containing phrases within a list.

    Example:

    • We shall need three tents; six rucksacks containing tools, first aid kits, and insect repellents; six utilities pouches for maps, small hand tools, spare batteries and compasses; and six two-way radios.
  • An apostrophe is used to indicate that a subject possesses or owns an object.

    Examples:

    • George's car. (i.e. the car belonging to or of George)
    • The council's car park. (i.e. the car park of the council).

    Note that the possessive form of It is Its (without the apostrophe). It’s means It is...

    Examples:

    • The snake shed its skin (i.e. the skin belongs to 'it')
    • It's the snake's skin (i.e. It is the skin of the snake).

    For plural nouns ending with an 's', it is usually not necessary to add an 's'.

    Examples:

    • cows' milk (i.e. the milk of the cows)
    • lawyers' fees (i.e. the fees of lawyers).

    Apostrophes are also used in contractions.  

    Examples:

    • don't (do not)
    • hasn't (has not)
  • An apostrophe is used to indicate that a subject possesses or owns an object.

    Examples:

    • George's car. (i.e. the car belonging to or of George)
    • The council's car park. (i.e. the car park of the council).

    Note that the possessive form of It is Its (without the apostrophe). It’s means It is...

    Examples:

    • The snake shed its skin (i.e. the skin belongs to 'it')
    • It's the snake's skin (i.e. It is the skin of the snake).

    For plural nouns ending with an 's', it is usually not necessary to add an 's'.

    Examples:

    • cows' milk (i.e. the milk of the cows)
    • lawyers' fees (i.e. the fees of lawyers).

    Apostrophes are also used in contractions.  

    Examples:

    • don't (do not)
    • hasn't (has not)
  • Quotation marks can either be single (i.e. '...') or double ("...") and are used to indicate direct speech or material that has been written by someone else.

    Direct speech

    She said, "Get the cat out of the house."

    Quoting someone else's writing

    Far too many people fail to understand the sexism of Aristotle's claim that "man was a political animal".

    Quotation marks can also be used to highlight a word that is being defined or named.

    Example: By 'sexism', I mean discrimination of women by men on the basis of sex.

  • Parentheses are brackets that you can use to indicate explanatory or interrupting material (sometimes referred to as parenthetical material), which is not essential for the meaning of a sentence. 

    Brackets can be round '( )', or square '[ ]' or squiggly '{ }', and are also used to set off numbers, especially in lists.

    Examples:

    • Seven different colours (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet) combine to form white light.
    • See Section 1 (a)
    • An essay usually consists of three main parts: (1) an introduction, (2) a body, and (3) a conclusion.
  • Dashes can be used in a similar fashion to brackets to make a parenthetical comment.

    Example: Three gangsters - Scarface, Itchy, and Knuckles - left before the dust had cleared.

    Dashes are generally considered a weaker form of parenthetical marker than brackets.

  • Hyphens are used to form compound words such as 'semi-colon' or 'half-back'. Hyphens are also used to help clarify the meaning of compound words.

  • An ellipsis indicates that words have been left out of the material that you have quoted.

    It is sometimes necessary to leave out words or lines in a quoted passage for reasons of relevance (to your point) or length. It is important that any omissions are made known to your reader. The modern way of doing this is by using three full stops (known as an ellipsis).

    The conclusion is used to sum up the points that have been covered in the essay… This section should not contain any new information and should refer back to the topic/question being discussed (Cheek et al. 1995, p. 102).

    In this passage, an extra sentence of twenty-seven words has been left out. The three dots occur at the end of the sentence. There is no need to add a full stop. The following example demonstrates an ellipsis indicating missing words.

    This section … should refer back to the topic/question being discussed.

    The most important consideration when using an ellipsis is to ensure that you do not alter the intended meaning of the original material.

Referencing

Learning at university may be different to learning at school or college. Lecturers will not usually supply you with all the reading you need to complete your assignments.

They expect you to research and read independently. You may read books, online journal articles or research on the web. This is called wide reading.

When you write academic assignments, you must demonstrate your wide reading by citing ideas or concepts from this wide reading.

Citations are academics’ way of showing that they are using someone else’s ideas, concepts, theories or actual words.

Plagiarism is the presentation of the ideas and words of another writer, artist, filmmaker etcetera as you own without any form of acknowledgment. Plagiarism can easily be avoided if you document the relevant sources which you have used.

Why reference?

  • You are indicating that you have read published writing in the area you are studying.
  • Referencing allows you support your arguments.
  • You demonstrate that you are aware of and understand other opinions in the area you are studying by referring to authors who have written about them.
  • Using references allows you to demonstrate your ability to assess, compare and contrast, critically analyse and evaluate competing arguments.
  • Referring to documented evidence lends weight to and validates your argument.
  • Accurate references allow others to consult the same sources you have used.
  • To avoid plagiarism, you need to reference, in text and in the reference list, accurately.

Referencing styles

There are many referencing styles and the reference you copy from a journal article may not be in the style you are required to use.  The most commonly used styles at CDU are Harvard and APA. However, your lecturer may require you to use a style other than these.

For more information about referencing guides, including Harvard and APA, head to the CDU Library referencing guide.

Paraphrasing, summarising and quoting

Any writing you do at university will require reference to recognised experts or authorities in that particular subject area (discipline), to give the thoughts, ideas and information in your assignment credibility.

There are three ways of including the ideas of an expert in your text: quoting, paraphrasing, summarising. No matter what you choose to do, you must acknowledge the source of these ideas.

Learn how to transform a journal reference to an APA 7th referencing style.

  • References are given in your text by including the surname of the author and the date that the idea was first published. If it is a direct quote, you should also include the page number.

    Examples:

    1. In examining Gandhi's search for Absolute Truth and post-modern perspectives, Salla (1996, p.43) concludes that there can be no non-violent future, only a non-violent present.
    2. Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence was essentially a philosophy of action, a means of resolving conflict and creating a just society free of violence. "By non-violence Gandhi means … the technique of conducting social relations characterised by constructive peaceful attitudes …" (Bondurant 1988, p.193). For Gandhi, this meant living a life of 'truth'.
    3. "The distinctions [between individual and collective violence] are helpful in so far as they make violence against women visible and connect different forms of violence to structures of domination" (Tolhurst 1997, p.10).
    4. Gandhi believed that tapasya (self suffering) had its greatest value when one is in a position to do harm, but refuses to do so … While suffering love was an important function of Satyagraha, it had its limits. However, Abhaya (fearlessness), as Sharma (1987) contends, was critical to Gandhi's philosophy.
    5. “When killing is viewed not only as permissible but heroic behaviour sanctioned by one's government or cause, the distinction between taking a human life and other forms of impermissible violence get lost” (Cambridge Women's Peace Collective 1984, p.227).
    6. "Gandhi thought that exact truthfulness follows real fearlessness and that when man abandons truth in any way, he does so owing to fear in some shape or form" (Iyer 1973, p.180 cited in Sharma 1987, p.47).
    7. If writing, even occasionally, causes you grief and misery, you are in very respectable company. Publius Vergilius Maro, otherwise known as Virgil, started  his epic poem, the Aeneid, in 29 B.C. and continued writing it until 19 B.C. That is an average of a line a day for eleven years, and even then it was not finished (Klauser 1987, p.7).

    You will have noticed that there are two ways of writing the reference in-text. Either you can write it at the end of the quote, paraphrase or summary or you can write the author’s surname as part of the sentence.

  • Paraphrasing means using your own words to report someone else's material or ideas.

    You will need to paraphrase when you want to change the style or the language used in the original either to make it easier to understand or to make it fit better into your own piece of writing.

    Unlike a summary, a paraphrase is usually about the same length as the original, but both the words and the sentence structure must be changed in a paraphrase. An idea that has been paraphrased must also acknowledge the source of that idea.

    The most effective way to paraphrase is to use the following method:

    1. Read the sentence or sentences several times carefully to make sure you understand the meaning.
    2. Highlight the key words and phrases.
    3. Cover up the original and try writing down the substance of the sentence/s from memory in your own words.
    4. Now check the original. Make sure you did not leave out anything important or added something that isn't there.
    5. Check your wording. Make sure you have not used the same words as the original. If you have, change them.
    6. If the original contains a phrase that you find particularly striking and you do not want to change this expression, put quotation marks around it and only paraphrase the rest. Do not overuse quotes though as you will lose the flow of your writing.

    Original

    (Original taken from Wajnryb, R 1990, Grammar Dictation, Oxford University Press, Oxford)

    Teen suicide is an increasing source of concern in today's society. Health professionals attribute it to a reaction to unresolved conflict within the family and to stress, both, real or perceived. Over the last twenty years the incidence of suicide among teenage boys has doubled, while that for girls has fallen. This trend is explained in two ways, one quite immediate and objective, the other more interpretive. Firstly, there is the fact that boys usually choose more violent ways of killing themselves. Secondly, among broken families, where the children usually stay with the mother rather than the father, the loss of a father makes a greater impact on a boy that a girl, leading to a greater probability of psychological injury.

    Paraphrase

    Wajnryb (1990) argues that an increasing incidence in suicide amongst young males is a worrying trend in our society. Generally, it is acknowledged that suicide is a result of stress or conflict. However, the significant increase in suicide amongst boys in the past twenty years needs to be further explained. Wajnryb suggests that there are two main reasons for this. The first is to do with the fact that boys generally chose a violent means of killing themselves. The second is to do with family breakdown. That is, it is believed that family breakdown, which often results in the loss of a father in the family home, affects boys in far more significant ways and is more likely to lead to psychological harm.

  • A summary, as compared to a paraphrase, is always much shorter that the original text.

    When you write a summary, you limit yourself to giving your readers only the main idea/argument of an article or chapter of a book.

    To write a good summary, keep the following points in mind.

    1. Read the original carefully ensuring that you understand the extract.
    2. Mention the author (and date) at the beginning of the summary and add again if you need to remind the reader that you are summarising another person’s ideas.
    3. State the author's main idea without distorting those ideas or adding your own.
    4. State the author's most important supporting evidence or sub-points without distorting them. Do not include details.
    5. Use your own wording. If there is a phrase in the original text that is especially striking, interesting, or controversial, or really cannot be changed without distorting its meaning, use the author's exact words. Make sure however that you put quotation marks around them if you do.
    6. Don't include your own ideas or comments (editorial remarks). The summary should include only the author's ideas.

    Original text


     “Migrants don't cost jobs”


    by Peter Boyle (The Bulletin December,1998)

    If recent polls are to be believed, a majority of Australians are in favour of stopping immigration at least in the short term. According to a November 2-3 AGB-McNair Poll, 62% are in favour of a "short term freeze", and a Bulletin Morgan Poll of October 22-23 found 66% in favour of "stopping immigration in the short term". While neither poll sought out the reasons for this anti-immigration sentiment, studies of earlier polls suggest that the main reason is a fear that immigration might be causing, or at least exacerbating, unemployment.

    Widespread as this belief may be, it is totally false. Immigration is not causing the current levels of unemployment, nor making it worse. Indeed, economic studies indicate that cutting immigration now may actually worsen unemployment.  

    However, it is a fact that unemployment has grown dramatically in Australia (and all other industrialised countries) since the 1970s. With each recession since then unemployment has shot up to new highs. During the last recession (1990-1992) it passed the 10% mark. Even more disturbingly, with the "recoveries" following each recession, the unemployment rate refused to fall back by as much as it had previously risen. Thus today, well into the current "recovery", the unemployment rate is still 8.8%. And as the unemployment rate has ratcheted up so has the anti-immigration sentiment.

    In the 1960s, polls showed that less than 20% of Australians believed that immigration was too high. In the 1970s, when unemployment began to rise, the polls showed that figure rise to 40-45%. In the 1980s, it was up to 50-60% and this has obviously increased recently. Yet over the same period, immigration (as a percentage of the population) was declining from a high in the late 1940s.

    In addition, several detailed econometric studies by the (now dissolved) federal Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research and individual academics have established that immigration has a positive impact on the economy.

    These studies explained that immigrants contributed to both demand and supply in the economy. They contribute to demand because they need housing, clothing, food and other goods and services to establish themselves in a new country. The studies estimate that, on average, an immigrant family creates, through adding to demand, four new jobs over the first four years of their life here.

    On the supply side immigrants contribute their labour and any savings and assets they bring with them. Obviously, richer immigrants have more assets, but even this is dwarfed by immigrants' contribution through their labour. In this sense they "take" jobs, but the report says that, on balance, they create more jobs than they take. Thus, cutting immigration today would actually increase the unemployment rate slightly.

    However, anti-immigration lobbies point to the higher unemployment rates suffered by recent immigrants especially those from non-English speaking backgrounds and refugees from wars or countries in severe economic crisis, as "proof" that cutting immigration can reduce unemployment.

    Superficially, this argument appears to make sense, but it doesn't. Unemployed immigrants add to demand and create jobs (for others), even if they come with few assets and require social security support – which they may be denied under new discriminatory laws which ban most immigrants from receiving social security payments for their first two years in Australia. The studies found that on the whole, the initial cost to government from immigration (for social security, health and other services) is more than repaid in taxes collected from immigrants. Indeed, Australian governments "save" by escaping the cost of bringing up and educating immigrants who arrive as adults.

    Coalition government cuts to the social security entitlements of recent immigrants and to special migrant education programs only worsen the plight of some of the main victims of unemployment. The cuts prolong their unemployment while giving credibility to the myth that immigration causes unemployment. The previous Labor government also encouraged anti-immigration sentiments by cutting immigration quotas, attacking the rights of refugees and reducing the rights of recent migrants.

    So if immigration is not the cause of growing unemployment, it must be asked, what is?

    Summary

    Boyle (1998) argues that here is no evidence to support the belief that immigration is the cause of an increasing unemployment rate. In fact, quite the contrary to this, migrants contribute in positive ways to the economy through supply and demand. This claim is supported by studies done by the Federal Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population research. While anti-immigration lobby groups cite evidence of high unemployment rates amongst particular groups of migrants as proof that immigration is causing unemployment, Boyle claims that this is misleading. He says such evidence ignores the fact that studies have shown that migrants generally more than repay any initial government assistance through payment of taxes and that even the unemployed create demand. Moreover, government cuts in assistance to migrants only exacerbate this situation possibly increasing the length of periods of unemployment and adding to the myth that migrants cause unemployment.

  • Short quotes

    Short quotes, quotes of less than three lines, should be written into the paragraph and shown by quotation marks: “ .............”.

    Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence was essentially a philosophy of action, a means of resolving conflict and creating a just society free of violence. "By non-violence Gandhi means … the technique of conducting social relations characterised by constructive peaceful attitudes …" (Bondurant 1988, p.193). For Gandhi, this meant living a life of 'truth'.

    Long quotes

    Long quotes, quotes of more than three lines or 40 words, should be indented and separated from the paragraph. No quotation marks are needed.

    If writing, even occasionally, causes you grief and misery, you are in very respectable company. Publius Vergilius Maro, otherwise known as Virgil, started  his epic poem, the Aeneid, in 29 B.C. and continued writing it until 19 B.C. That is an average of a line a day for eleven years, and even then it was not finished. (Klauser 1987, p.7).

    Square brackets

    [ ] Square brackets in a quote show that the writer has added words to the original quote. This may be necessary to clarify what is being said.

    "The distinctions [between individual and collective violence] are helpful in so far as they make violence against women visible and connect different forms of violence to structures of domination" (Tolhurst 1997, p.10).

    Ellipsis

    An ellipsis … mark shows that part of the quote has been omitted. This is useful if you don't want to include all of a statement.

    Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence was essentially a philosophy of action, a means of resolving conflict and creating a just society free of violence. "By non-violence Gandhi means … the technique of conducting social relations characterised by constructive peaceful attitudes …" (Bondurant 1988, p.193). For Gandhi, this meant living a life of 'truth'.

    Gandhi believed that tapasya (self suffering) had its greatest value when one is in a position to do harm, but refuses to do so … While suffering love was an important function of Satyagraha, it had its limits. However, Abhaya (fearlessness), as Sharma (1987) contends, was critical to Gandhi's philosophy.

    Cite the original text

    if the quote you are copying comes from a source other than the author of the book you are reading, you should cite the original source then the author you are reading.

    "Gandhi thought that exact truthfulness follows real fearlessness and that when man abandons truth in any way, he does so owing to fear in some shape or form" (Iyer 1973,p.180 cited in Sharma 1987, p.47).