KUHandbook2e--Chapter1 - 4369_02_ch1_p003-011 3/1/04 4:56...

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CHAPTER 1 Becoming an Academic Writer Once you enroll in a college or university, you become a member of a community. Although you are a student of Kaplan University, your experience is not limited to a particular geographical location or campus. You are a member of a much more expansive group of stu- dents, professors, and scholars commonly referred to as academia. Academia is a broad term that applies to those engaged in the process of learning, researching, and exchanging ideas with fellow acade- mics. Taking your place in this vast network requires a particular set of skills. The most obvious indicator of being a legitimate member of academia is the ability to communicate in a way that adheres to the conventions of so-called “academic” writing. Effective academic writing is not necessarily the ability to “sound smart” or the ability to use many big words. It takes practice, and it evolves as you progress through the writing process (see Section 2: The Writing Process ). As you prepare to write, it is important to think about your audience, purpose, word use, and sources. Awareness of these factors will prepare you to meet the expectations of others in the academic community. Considering Your Audience (1) Defining Your Audience Writing in an “academic” setting is different from other writing you may have done in the past. Unlike everyday communication, academic writing requires you to consider specific factors. One of the most im- portant of these is the audience. When composing an email for a friend, you know the recipient well. For example, you may have been pro- moted to a management position, and you want to tell your best friend about your good fortune. Your goal is to inform him or her that you have moved forward in your career. In a college setting, the audience is equally important. The main question is “Who is this audience?” Unlike a personal exchange of ideas, academic writing is much more public. The words that you write may be intended for one group, but it is likely that another may read it. For instance, many students believe their work is between themselves and their instruc- tor. This is only partially true. 1a 3 See 4a–6c 4369_02_ch1_p003-011 3/1/04 4:56 AM Page 3
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Becoming an Academic Writer 1a 4 (2) Joining the Conversation Consider the following: Professor A develops a theory regarding the possibility that there are more than nine planets in our solar system. She has conducted research that proves ten planets actually revolve around the Sun, and she publishes this idea in a scientific journal for all to read and consider. In response, three other theorists publish work based on Professor A’s theory. Dr. B finds the idea preposterous; Dr. C agrees with Professor A, to a degree; and Dr. D finds the theory to be entirely convincing. Those interested in this topic would likely read the work of Professor A, Dr. B, Dr. C, and Dr. D. Even if these profes- sionals have never spoken in person or read each other’s work, they
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KUHandbook2e--Chapter1 - 4369_02_ch1_p003-011 3/1/04 4:56...

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