Academic Writing Complete Guide

Purpose and Audience of this Guide
Why read academic articles?
Essay Writing
Report Writing
Oral Presentations
Finding Sources
Good Academic Scholarship
Understanding Feedback
Exam preparation and Techniques

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Good academic scholarship

6.1 Introduction

The presentation of your work, as well as information and ideas, are important skills. It is also important to learn how to adhere to the presentation guidelines, and this can sometimes seem like a daunting task. This is done every time especially by academics that are looking forward to publishing their work. When you enter the job market, similar guidelines will exist, and it is crucial that you follow them. It is essential that you make your work look professional.

To engage in good scholarship, you must ensure that your work uses other people’s work appropriately. As such, they should be duly acknowledged, and this is part of the general academic culture, and many universities have adopted these regulations. You have to refrain from plagiarism, collusion, fabrication, and embellishment of data.

6.2 Definition of Terms

It takes place when someone’s work is used as another person’s work without due acknowledgment plagiarism results from the following:

  • Verbatim copying of someone’s work without their knowledge or acknowledgment. When a student does this; he takes the work word for word.
  • Paraphrasing of another person’s work by changing a few words or altering the presentation sequence without appropriate and correct acknowledgment
  • Lack of quotations of phrases from another person’s work
  • Deliberate exhibition of another person’s idea or theory as your own

This is the conscious collaboration of two people or students to prepare and produce the work that is submitted by all of them as the results of their efforts. This occurs without the approval of the original author, and it happens especially when the student6 have a project.

This is the enhancement of a small amount of data or exaggeration to amplify data which has been obtained by legitimate means

Data fabrication is the creation and presentation of an extensive amount of data to hide scarcity of the legitimate data. This data can also be fabricated in its entirety with total disregard of the legitimate data.

It is easy to avoid collusion, fabrication, and embellishment of data as opposed to plagiarism. This is as results of inadvertent omission or disregard for referencing guidelines.

data embellishment

6.3 Style and Referencing

Every institution of higher learning has a preferred style of referencing for every academic paper done by their students. This guideline will deal with Harvard style.

General style guidelines

  • You have to use a clear Arial font size 12
  • Your lines should use double spacing
  • You should have enough margins
  • Include page numbers in your paper

Word limit
All the text in the main body of your paper must be within the confines of the word limit. This includes the quotations as well as in-text citations. However, do not include bibliographies, appendices, and essay titles in the word count. Appendices should only be included in the word count in utmost necessity.

Referencing with Harvard

Reasons for referencing

  • Referencing stamps the authority of your work strengthens your argument and shows the extent of your research.
  • The bibliography will assist the audience in finding the sources of your information as well as verifying your data.
  • If you fail to correctly cite the source of your information, you commit plagiarism. This is serious academic misconduct, and it is always prudent to avoid it by stating when you have used someone’s idea or information in your work.

The Harvard style of referencing has two important elements. They include the citations within the text of your paper and the complete bibliographic citations.

  • Citations within the text of your paper acknowledge the sources you have used
  • Complete bibliographic citations give full details concerning the sources you have used in your paper. The bibliography should be written in the alphabetic order and comes at the end of your paper.

Citations in the body of your paper
Every time you have used another person’s work within your paper, ensure that you have referenced it to show its origin. When you refer to the source, ensure that you have included the surname of the author, publication date, and the page number if you are taking information from a specific page.

When citing more than three authors, give the first author’s surname and initials followed by ‘et al.’ if you state the name of the author in your paper, you have to include the date of publication to denote the work that you are citing.

For example:

Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines to undertake errands that would require intelligence if done by human beings (Minsky, 1968). According to Striver (2001), all characteristics of rational thought ought to be considered to involve some level of experimentation.

Bibliographic citations
Every piece of information you cite in your work should appear in the bibliographic list at the end of your paper. The references should appear in the alphabetical order by the surname of the first author. Consider the following g examples:

book references 1

How to reference books

  • Name of the author, editor or institution
  • Year of publication
  • Title and subtitle (if there is a subtitle)
  • Edition
  • Publication place
  • Publisher
  • Page numbers if you are quoting from a particular chapter
  • For electronic books, indicate that t it is available online and include its location and the date of your access

Citations for one or more authors
Resnick, R., Halliday, D., & Walker, J. (2005) Fundamentals of Physics. 7th extended ed. New York: Wiley

A book by one editor
The surname of the Editor, Initials, year of publication. Book title. Place of publication: publisher

Book by more than three editors
The surname of the first editor, initials. Et al. edition. (Year of publication) Title of the book. Place of publication. Publisher

Three or more writers
Incorporate the foremost name of the author subsequently followed the et al.

Stanko J.W et al. (2004) Life is a Gold Mine. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Book by multiple editors
The surname of the first editor, initials. The surname of the second editor, initials. Edition. (Year of publication) Title of the book. Place of publication. Publisher

Citing a chapter in a book
Author’s surname, initials. (year of publication) Book title. Chapter title. Page number

Journal Articles
When referencing your journal articles, you have to include the following

  • The name of the article author
  • Year of publication
  • Title of the article
  • Journal article
  • Volume or issue numbers
  • Include the first-page number and the last page numbers of the article. For an electronic article, some other form of unique identification will suffice instead of page numbers. This should be included in your citation
  • If it is available online, include that information and show its location and your date of access.
  • If it is an e-journal, provide an online link that redirects to the main journal or the publisher’s website. It is more appropriate that a URL from a specific page or article. It will assist the reader to locate the journal in the future. If possible, provide the DOI of the article. This is a number that appears on the first page of the article. However, if you cannot identify it, it is not important.
internet references 1

Web pages and other online sources
When referencing a webpage, website, or any other online text, you must include the following information:

  • Authors, editors, or institutional author of the work if they are identifiable.
  • Year of publication
  • Document title or the first few words of the document if you are unable to identify the title
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher if identified
  • Show that the document is available online and show its location and your date of access.

Proceedings of a conference
When referencing the proceedings of a conference, include the following information

Editors, Year of publication, Conference title, date of the conference, the venue of the conference, place of publication, publisher.

For example

Gross, D., Henneaux, M. & Sevrin, A. (2007) The quantum structure of space and time: proceedings of the 23rd Solvay conference on Physics, 1-3 December 2005. Brussels, Belgium. London: World Scientific.

Other sources of information

Unpublished documents or reports

Hale, K (2002) Learning and Teaching in Laboratory. Unpublished

If you are not aware of the year in which the report was written, take a reasonable guess and include a question mark after the date. This indicates that you are not sure about the date of publication

Theses and dissertations

Include the Surname of the author, Initials. (Year of publication) Title of the thesis or dissertation. Program. Institution.

McDonald, L.R. (2005) Assessment of body composition using magnetic resonance imaging. Ph.D. thesis. University of Liverpool.

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