Transcription

The Academic Phrasebank is ageneral resource for academicwriters. It makes explicit the morecommon phraseological ‘nuts andbolts’ of academic writing.AcademicPhrasebankA compendium of commonlyused phrasal elements inacademic English in PDF format2015b enhanced editionPersonal CopyDr John Morley

PDF Download version 2015 The University of Manchester1 Page

PrefaceThe Academic Phrasebank is a general resource for academic writers. It aims to provide thephraseological ‘nuts and bolts’ of academic writing organised according to the main sections of aresearch paper or dissertation. Other phrases are listed under the more general communicativefunctions of academic writing.The resource was designed primarily for academic and scientific writers who are non-native speakersof English. However, native writers may still find much of the material helpful. In fact, recent datasuggests that the majority of users are native speakers of English.The phrases, and the headings under which they are listed, can be used simply to assist you inthinking about the content and organisation of your own writing, or the phrases can be incorporatedinto your writing where this is appropriate. In most cases, a certain amount of creativity andadaptation will be necessary when a phrase is used.The Academic Phrasebank is not discipline specific. Nevertheless, it should be particularly useful forwriters who need to report their empirical studies. The phrases are content neutral and generic innature; in using them, therefore, you are not stealing other people's ideas and this does notconstitute plagiarism.Most of the phrases in this compendium have been organised according to the main sections of aresearch report. However, it is an over-simplification to associate the phrases only with the section inwhich they have been placed here. In reality, for example, many of phrases used for referring toother studies may be found throughout a research report.In the current PDF version, additional material, which is not phraseological, has been incorporated.These additional sections should be helpful to you as a writer.2 Page

ContentsAbout Academic Phrasebank . . .4 . . . . . . . . . . . .72638455158 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .687882858892939599101104106 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110113115116117119121122Major SectionsIntroducing workReferring to literatureDescribing methodsReporting resultsDiscussing findingsWriting conclusionsGeneral FunctionsBeing criticalBeing cautiousClassifying and listingCompare and contrastDefining termsDescribing trendsDescribing quantitiesExplaining causalityGiving examples as supportSignalling transitionWriting about the pastWriting abstractsNotes on Academic WritingAcademic styleCommonly confused wordsBritish and US spellingPunctuationUsing articlesSentence structureParagraph structureHelpful tips for writers3 Page

About Academic PhrasebankTheoretical InfluencesThe Academic Phrasebank largely draws on an approach to analysing academic texts originallypioneered by John Swales in the 1980s. Utilising a genre analysis approach to identify rhetoricalpatterns in the introductions to research articles, Swales defined a ‘move’ as a section of text thatserves a specific communicative function (Swales, 1981,1990). This unit of rhetorical analysis is usedas one of the main organising sub-categories of the Academic Phrasebank. Swales not only identifiedcommonly-used moves in article introductions, but he was interested in showing the kind oflanguage which was used to achieve the communicative purpose of each move. Much of thislanguage was phraseological in nature.The resource also draws upon psycholinguistic insights into how language is learnt and produced. It isnow accepted that much of the language we use is phraseological; that it is acquired, stored andretrieved as pre-formulated constructions (Bolinger, 1976; Pawley and Syder, 1983). These insightsbegan to be supported empirically as computer technology permitted the identification of recurrentphraseological patterns in very large corpora of spoken and written English using specialisedsoftware (e.g. Sinclair, 1991). Phrasebank recognises that there is an important phraseologicaldimension to academic language and attempts to make examples of this explicit.Sources of the phrasesThe vast majority of phrases in this resource have been taken from authentic academic sources. Theoriginal corpus from which the phrases were ‘harvested’ consisted of 100 postgraduate dissertationscompleted at the University of Manchester. However, phrases from academic articles drawn from abroad spectrum of disciplines have also been, and continue to be, incorporated. In most cases, thephrases have been simplified and where necessary they have been ‘sifted’ from their particularisedacademic content. Where content words have been included for exemplificatory purposes, these aresubstitutions of the original words. In selecting a phrase for inclusion into the Academic Phrasebank,the following questions are asked: does it serve a useful communicative purpose in academic text?does it contain collocational and/or formulaic elements?are the content words (nouns, verbs, adjectives) generic in nature?does the combination ‘sound natural' to a native speaker or writer of English?When is it acceptable to reuse phrases in academic writing?In a recent study (Davis and Morley, 2015), 45 academics from two British universities were surveyedto determine whether reusing phrases was a legitimate activity for academic writers, and if so, whatkind of phrases could be reused. From the survey and later from in-depth interviews, the followingcharacteristics for acceptability emerged. A reused phrase: should not have a unique or original construction;should not express a clear point of view of another writer;depending on the phrase, may be up to nine words in length; beyond this 'acceptability'declines;may contain up to four generic content words (nouns, verbs or adjectives which are notbound to a specific topic).Some of the entries in the Academic Phrasebank, contain specific content words which have beenincluded for illustrative purposes. These words should be substituted when the phrases are used. Inthe phrases below, for example, the content words in bold should be substituted:4 Page

X is a major public health problem, and the cause of .X is the leading cause of death in western-industrialised countries.The many thousands of disciplinary-specific phrases which can be found in academic communicationcomprise a separate category of phrases. These tend to be shorter than the generic phrases listed inAcademic Phrasebank, and typically consist of noun phrases or combinations of these. Acceptabilityfor reusing these is determined by the extent to which they are used and understood by members ofa particular academic community.Further workDevelopment of the website content is ongoing. In addition, research is currently being carried outon the ways in which experienced and less-experienced writers make use of the AcademicPhrasebank. Another project is seeking to find out more about ways in which teachers of English foracademic purposes make use of this resource.References Bolinger, D. (1976) ‘Meaning and memory’. Forum Linguisticum, 1, pp. 1–14.Davis, M., and Morley, J. (2015) ‘Phrasal intertextuality: The responses of academics fromdifferent disciplines to students’ re-use of phrases’. Journal Second Language Writing 28 (2)pp. 20-35.Hopkins, A. and Dudley-Evans, A. (1988). ‘A genre-based investigations of the discussionssections in articles and dissertation’. English for Specific Purposes, 7(2), 113-122.Pawley, A. and Syder, F.H. (1983). ‘Two puzzles for linguistic theory: nativelike selection andnativelike fluency’. In: Richards, J.C. and Schmidt, R.W. (Eds.), Language and Communication,pp. 191-226. Longman: New York.Sinclair, J. (1991) Corpus, concordance, collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Swales, J. (1981). Aspects of article introductions (Aston ESP Research Report No. 1).Birmingham: Language Studies Unit: University of Aston.Swales, J. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.5 Page

Major sections6 Page

Writing IntroductionsThere are many ways to introduce an academic essay or short paper. Most academic writers,however, appear to do one or more of the following in their introductions: establish the context, background and/or importance of the topicindicate an issue, problem, or controversy in the field of studydefine the topic or key termsstate the purpose of the essay or piece of writingprovide an overview of the coverage and/or structure of the writingIn very short assignments, it is not uncommon for a writer to commence simply by stating thepurpose of their writing.Introductions to research dissertations tend to be relatively short but quite complex in terms oftheir functional elements. Some of the more common elements or include: establishing the context, background and/or importance of the topicgiving a brief synopsis of the relevant literaturehighlighting the inadequacy of previous researchindicating a problem, controversy or a knowledge gap in the field of studyestablishing the desirability of the researchlisting the research questions or hypothesesproviding a synopsis of the research method(s)explaining the significance or value of the studydefining certain key termsproviding an overview of the dissertation or report structureexplaining reasons for the writer's personal interest in the topicExamples of phrases which are commonly employed to realise these functions are listed on thefollowing pages. Note that there may be a certain amount of overlap between some of thecategories under which the phrases are listed. Also, the order in which the different categories ofphrases are shown reflects a typical order but this is far from fixed or rigid, and not all the elementsare present in all introductions.A number of analysts have identified common patterns in the introductions of research articles.One of the best known is the CARS model (create a research space) first described by John Swales(1990)1. This model, which utilises an ecological metaphor, has, in its simplest form, three elementsor moves: 1Establishing the territory (establishing importance of the topic, reviewing previous work)Identifying a niche (indicating a gap in knowledge)Occupying the niche (listing purpose of new research, listing questions, stating value,indicating structure of writing)Swales, J. (1990) Genre Analysis, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.7 Page

Establishing the importance of the topic for the disciplineA key aspect of X is X is of interest because X is a classic problem in A primary concern of X is X is a dominant feature of X is a fundamental property of The concepts of X and Y are central to X is at the heart of our understanding of Investigating X is a continuing concern within X is a major area of interest within the field of X has been studied by many researchers using X has been an object of research since the 1960s.X has been the subject of many classic studies in X has been instrumental in our understanding of The theory of X provides a useful account of how X has been an important concept in the study of the Central to the entire discipline of X is the concept of X is an increasingly important area in applied linguistics.X has been the subject of much systematic investigation.The issue of X has received considerable critical attention.Understanding the complexity of an X is vitally important if X has long been a question of great interest in a wide range of fields.One of the most significant current discussions in legal and moral philosophy is The discovery of X in 1986 triggered a huge amount of innovative scientific inquiry.The role of X in Y has received increased attention across a number of disciplines in recent years.Establishing the importance of the topic for the world or societyX is fundamental to X has a pivotal role in X is an important aspect of X is frequently prescribed for X is fast becoming a key instrument in .X plays a vital role in the metabolism of X is the most widely distributed species of X plays a critical role in the maintenance of Xs have emerged as powerful platforms for X is essential for a wide range of technologies.X can play an important role in addressing the issue of Xs are the most potent anti-inflammatory agents known.There is evidence that X plays a crucial role in regulating X is a common condition which has considerable impact on In the new global economy, X has become a central issue for .Determining the impacts of X on Y is important for the future of Evidence suggests that X is among the most important factors for X is important for a wide range of scientific and industrial processes.Xs are one of the most widely used g