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Techniques de rédaction de texte

Place ending punctuation inside the quotation marks.

John said, “I am in love with Julie.”

Limit adjective use.

Find one word that means what you are trying to say, preferably an action verb or concrete noun instead of an adjective. If you want to use an adjective before a noun, use only one adjective that means exactly what you are trying to say. If you want to use adjectives after the noun, don’t use more than two.

Use the Subject-Verb-Object sentence structure.

The most powerful sentence structure is the Subject-Verb-Object structure.

Use the active voice.

Place the object as closely as possible to the main verb.

Identify your central idea.

The first part of the writing process is identifying the central idea. Does this sound simple? It isn’t as easy as it sounds. The central idea is the one idea, one theme, one concept, that you wish to communicate. Your document will contain many ideas, but every idea should help the reader understand the central idea. Ask yourself: “What is the one idea that I want to communicate?” Here’s a good exercise to conduct before you begin typing. In one sentence, 20 words or less, write your central idea.

Keep descriptive phrases close to the thing being described.

Remove unnecessary that is/are and who is/are phrases.

“The boys who are in the hallway are standing in front of the door that is open.” We can apply this tip to change “The boys who are in the hallway” to “The boys in the hallway.”

Place

combination.

the subject–verb

clarifying

adverbial

phrases

before

or

after

Replace this “The man yesterday after the wind blew fell from his ladder.” by “After the wind blew yesterday, the man fell from his ladder.” or “The man fell from his ladder after the wind blew yesterday.”

Limit compound sentences to two independent clauses.

A compound sentence is made up of two or more independent clauses. Consider this sentence.

“The personnel director wrote his report, and I was admonished for selling company property.” This sentence contains two independent clauses, each of which could be a complete sentence. The first is “The personnel director wrote his report.” The second independent clause is “I was admonished for selling company property.”

Organize ideas from broadest ideas to smallest details.

Identify your broadest ideas. These are the central themes that will be elaborated throughout the document. A document may have several or it may only have one. For example, a funding proposal may have two or three. Identify the main ideas that support or address those broad ideas. Identify the details, arguments, facts, etc. that support the main ideas.

In most cases, you will address one broad idea at a time and discuss it fully with supporting ideas and details before discussing the next broad idea. The result is that you provide a full

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explanation of the broad ideas identified in step one. The organization will seem logical to the reader, which helps him or her make sense of what you are communicating.

Write and rewrite until you communicate clearly.

Use the pyramid structure to provide descriptions.

The pyramid structure is familiar to journalists. It involves starting with broad information and proceeding to specific details. Good descriptions do the same. They start by providing a broad look at the thing described and proceed to detailed information. Here’s an example.

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Writing each part of the thesis

1. Writing the introduction

An introduction is usually one paragraph with 3 main stages:

1. It begins with the most general information, like background and/or definitions.

2. The middle is the core of the introduction, where you show the overall topic, purpose, your point of view, hypotheses and/or research questions (depending on what kind of paper it is).

3. Finally, the introduction ends with the most specific information: a guide to the scope and structure of your paper.

It is sensible to write your introduction after you know both your overall point of view and the whole structure of your paper. Alternatively, you should revise the introduction when you have completed the main body.

2. Writing the conclusion

The conclusion is closely related to the introduction: it is often described as a ‘mirror- image’ of the introduction. That is, where the introduction begins with general information and ends with specific information, the conclusion moves in the opposite direction. It often begins by summarizing (briefly) the main structure or scope of the paper.

The conclusion then confirms the topic which was given in the introduction. Depending o n what type of paper you are writing, this may take the form of the aims of the paper, a thesis statement (point of view) or a research question/hypothesis and its answer/outcome.

The conclusion usually ends with a more general statement about how this topic relates to its context. This may take the form of an evaluation of the importance of the topic, implications for future research or a recommendation about theory or practice.

3. Use your reading to improve the structure of your writing

Closely studying the texts, you read can give you insight into how the experts in your field write. If you are aware of the ways authors in your discipline use language, then you will gradually be able to transfer these techniques to your own writing.

When you are writing on a specific topic, certain texts can help to provide you with a structure for your own assignment. Often there are one or two readings which provide the bulk of your information t o answer the question - other texts may provide additional material or alternative viewpoints. There is no problem with ‘borrowing’ the basic structure of a text (or combining the structures of more than one text) and dealing with the issues in the same sequence as the original author. You should of course take care to modify the structure to suit your own purpose (which is not likely to be exactly the same as the original author’s) and to avoid getting too close to the original and run the risk of plagiarizing.

4. Writing a paragraph

It may be helpful to think of each paragraph as a mini essay. Just as there are three stages in an essay, there are often three stages in a paragraph:

Topic sentence (also known as introductory sentence)

Body of the paragraph

Concluding sentence (optional only necessary for a long paragraph)

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The first sentence in the great majority of paragraphs is the topic sentence. This sentence introduces a general overview of the topic and the purpose of the paragraph. The topic sentence answers the question 'What's the paragraph about? It should be more gene rl than the body of the paragraph.

Once the topic of the paragraph has been set up in the first sentence (or sentences), the writer then develops this topic in the body of the paragraph. Some body sentences may elaborate directly on the topic sentence - for example, by giving definitions, classifications, explanations, contrasts, example s, evidence, etc. Other body sentences are linked only to previous body sentences.

The final sentence in many, but not all, paragraphs is a concluding sentence. This sentence does not present specific new information, but often either summarizes the content of the body, or comments on it. It can also link to the topic of the next paragraph, by showing how the paragraph content links to the topic sentence of the next paragraph.

You don’t have to write all your paragraphs using this structure (for example, there are paragraphs with no topic sentence, or it comes near the end of the paragraph). However, the structure above is a very common and clear structure, which makes it easy for the reader to follow, and gives the reader the feeling that your thinking is also clear.

5. Writing a critical review

A critical review is a type of essay which has the purpose of evaluating all, or part of, a

research article, an artwork or some other type of work. It requires you to:

Accurately summaries all or part of the work.

Have an opinion about it. Appropriate types of opinion could include pointing out some problems with the work, proposing an alternative approach which would be better, and/or defending the work against the critiques of others.

Provide evidence for your point of view. Depending on the specific assignment and the discipline, different types of evidence may be appropriate, such a s logical reasoning, reference to authoritative sources and/or research data.

In brief, you need to:

Identify some important choices made in the work (e.g. the main interpretations, the assumptions, the methodology).

Think of some alternatives to those choices (e.g. a different interpretation, different methodology).

Take a position on the alternatives (i.e. which is better and why), and

Provide appropriate evidence for your position.

6. Developing my own point of view or argument

This involves breaking your main point of view into parts, for example:

List the different reasons for your point of view

Think about the different types and sources of evidence which you can use to support your point of view

Consider different ways that your point of view is similar to, and different from, the points of view of other researchers

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Look for other ways to break your point of view into parts: e.g. cost effectiveness, environmental sustainability, precision of measurement, scope of real-world application, theoretical clarity, etc.

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Thesis writing tips

Spend time on your dissertation every day if that's possible for you (minimum five days a week). Even if you spend only fifteen minutes with it on some days, consistent work will help you to keep ideas and source material fresh in your mind.

Set clear, reasonable goals.

Experiment with setting goals in terms of pages and in terms of hours spent.

Break tasks into small components.

For example, your goal might be to finish a section of a chapter in a given week, not necessarily the entire chapter. Again, see what works for you.

List specifically when you want to have each section completed, when you want to have your first and second drafts completed, and when you want to defend. Keep in mind the time needed for professors to review your work.

Give yourself time to think; you often will need more time to think than you do to write.

Focus on your research questions. Do not waste time on points or questions outside the scope of your research.

Write the introduction last. Writing the introduction and conclusion together will help to tie up the thesis together, so save it for the end.

Address the unanswered questions. “There will always be unanswered questions - don’t try to ignore or, even worse, obfuscate them. On the contrary, actively draw attention to them; identify them in your conclusion as areas for further investigation. Your PhD viva will go badly if you’ve attempted to disregard or evade the unresolved issues that your thesis has inevitably opened up.

Checking is important. On days when your brain is too tired to write, check quotations, bibliography etc so you’re still making progress.

Don’t pursue perfectionism. Remember that a PhD doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Nothing more self-crippling than perfectionism.

Date drafts to remember the order in which you worked on chapters.

Establish a calendar for completing your work. Set deadlines for submitting drafts of each chapter. Meet your deadlines even if you cannot deliver everything you promised.

List what each chapter or section should cover, including both general ideas and specific examples.

If you need an outline for each section, be sure to make one. If you work best with an informal structure in mind, embrace it.

Try to write every day, or at minimum five days a week. The type of writing may vary depending on what stage of the dissertation phase you find yourself, but it is very important to do some work on your project every day, even if some days it's only fifteen minutes.

Finding model theses or dissertations can help you gauge how much (or how little) you have to do. A good model can also serve as an inspiration for your project. Look at theses or dissertations that your department has accepted.

Keep a researcher's notebook in addition to taking notes on specific sources. The notebook can keep you in continual dialogue with your sources and your topic; it also provides you with a place to write down questions that arise during your research that you want to pursue at a later

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date, as well as reminders about other sources you may want to consult. See our page on using a researcher's notebook.

Take summary notes as well as specific information notes. Summary notes should explain the main ideas of texts you read, how they fit into the larger body of scholarship on your topic, and how they shed light on your project. Include your critique so that your voice is the prominent one. Specific information notes consist of factual content that you may want to include.

Think about how each source specifically applies to your topic. The authors of your sources are advancing their own arguments, not yours. Therefore, you need to carefully consider which source material you will use. In the interest of efficiency, try to limit your research to that which is relevant to questions you are trying to answer.

By making direct reference to a thorough literature review, you must demonstrate that your question (a) has not been previously answered, and (b) is worth answering.

Use verb tense consistently. In the first chapter and in the paragraphs at the beginning of the chapters you will probably use the present tense to inform the reader of the upcoming event. The rest of the thesis should be in the past tense, except for the suggestions for future research in the last chapter.

Break everything down to small manageable parts.

Keep a journal of daily developments, ideas, references.

Plagiarism is copying somebody else’s words (even if it is common knowledge) or somebody else’s ideas (even if you have paraphrased them) and presenting them as your own. You can avoid plagiarism by giving credit to other work by means of citing it using a suitable documentation style and by properly referencing in one of these ways: Quoting, Paraphrasing, Summarizing.

Edit and edit until it read well throughout and ensure that the reader can read the language you are using.

Time spent thinking about and planning how you will structure your thesis is time well spent.

Analysing existing theses is a good starting point to get an idea of typical structures in your field.

Planning writers tend to have a highly structured approach to writing and if this is your approach you may find the following tips helpful.

Under each chapter heading define a series of sections

Break these into sub-sections and keep breaking these down until you are almost at the paragraph level

You can now work methodically through this set of short sections

Check completed sections or chapters agree with your plan.

Think, read or write more analytically

To make your writing more analytical, here are some tips:

Spend plenty of time planning. Brainstorm the facts and ideas, and try different w ays of grouping them, according to patterns, parts, similarities and differences.

Create a name for the relationships and categories you find: e.g. advantages, disad vantages. Build each paragraph around one of the analytical categories.

Make the paragraph structure of your paper clear to your reader, by using topic se ntences and a clear introduction.

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Think, read or write more critically?

A simple definition of critical thinking, reading and writing is that it considers more than one

point of view or interpretation.

Here is one step-by-step process you can follow for critical thinking or reading (e.g. of a theory, research article or recommendation):

1. Identify the important choices which have been made. (For example, what is the author’s point of view? What methodology did the researcher choose? What type of action has been recommended? What evidence do they offer?)

2. Think of some alternatives to those choices. (For example, what other points of view are possible? What other methodologies, actions or evidence could have been used?)

3. Reach your own position on the alternatives. (For example, which point of view do you agree with? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the different methodologies or recommended actions?)

4. Find some convincing evidence for your point of view. (For example, to what books or articles could you refer, to support your view? What examples or data can you draw on, to show that your view is convincing?)

Critical writing requires strong writing skills. This is because you not only need to thoroughly understand the topic and the issues, but also to develop an essay structure and paragraph structure which will clearly analyze the different interpretations, develop an argument which considers more than one viewpoint, and provide convincing evidence for your view.

How should I cite a reference that I found in a paper?

If you have come across a reference from one paper (A) that has been cited in another paper

(B), then A is the primary source while B is the secondary source. In such cases, you must first

read the original paper or primary source (A) and ensure that the context of the citation has been correctly presented in B. You should always read the original article before you reference any fact from it in your study.

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