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Book: Academic Writing Step by Step

Chapter: Series Editor's Preface

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.29485


Academic Writing Step by Step offers a new methodology for teaching academic writing informed by discourse analysis and genre theory and by recent research in text analysis. It focuses on types of texts purposively written for particular contexts, where writers introduce and contextualize research findings and new knowledge while presenting their own points of view in relation to those of others. The book promotes learning by doing, engaging research writers with authentic materials as models of good practice.

The book begins by examining what academic writers do in planning their writing and how they implement these plans in their own writing practice. The book draws on accessible articles presenting popular science topics of current interest to illustrate and practice the processes involved in developing and writing an academic essay or research paper step by step. Each unit in Academic Writing Step by Step involves the user in guided “hands-on” practical analysis of an exemplar text. This analysis forms the basis for a sequence of learning activities directing students to engage with the text, moving from analysis (reading for intent) to composition (writing with intent). In this structured process, students acquire a critical understanding of the components of research and essay writing to underpin their own writing. Support for students’ analysis and writing of texts includes pre-reading, while-reading, and post-reading activities. These activities are linked to practice in the recognition and use of words in context, grammar in context, and distinctive features of text types. Each unit contains many interactive tasks and closes with a substantive writing assignment reinforcing at least one component of academic writing highlighted in the unit.

The book’s research-based, big-picture approach, backed up by textual evidence, is effective in developing students’ practical knowledge of research and essay writing. This approach is also motivational, empowering students to work in their own disciplinary environments and areas of interest as it engages them in academic reading, analysis, research, and writing. The book is designed as a textbook for academic or research writing courses, and its step-by-step approach makes it usable by university undergraduates or senior secondary students, including those for whom English is a second or foreign language. In addition, its authentic readings and focus on academic and research writing makes it also suitable for graduate level writing courses in English-speaking and English as a second or foreign language contexts.

Chapter Contributors

  • Martha Pennington ( - marthapennington) 'SOAS and Birkbeck College, University of London'