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Theme: Nuts and Bolts Session

First Year Academic Writing: Moving Towards Analysis

Paul Coleman
University of Canterbury


The oft heard complaint that there are many students starting university without the writing skills needed to ensure success in their chosen degree programme has suddenly become a high-pitched cry for help. Somehow students are supposed to be able to write at a fairly high level when they begin their first year; they are often told they cannot because their writing is purely descriptive. A major criticism of studentsí writing is that it needs to be analytical and because of this the student fails to get the grade that they had hoped for. In fact, all academic study demands an analytical approach. It is analysis that makes a piece of writing the studentís own work. This session will look at how to guide studentís to an understanding of analysis and how to move from mere description of information and ideas to its analysis. This session will be of particular interest to teachers or lecturers who have students who are speakersí of other languages.

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