I Write: Therefore I Learn

I have chosen to provide my top ten tips in accordance (where possible) to one of the Journals that I reviewed for last week’s assignment. The journal is GLBT Family Studies and I found some really interesting articles surrounding various issues and studies within the LGTBQ community. The reason this journal stood out to me is not only because I have very close relationships with friends that identify as gay, but also because within my work as a Career Advisor it is important to understand the challenges and issues faced by my LGTBQ students.

The Register

The register of GLBT Family Studies is most certainly formal. This means that you are not likely to find a conversational, familiar or personal style of writing within the articles published. Because the topics within the journal are serious in nature, the authors are often sharing strong opinions. It is suggested that in order to remain objective, a formal register is applied. I am using an example from an article that I reviewed for last week’s thesis assignment to highlight the formal nature I have described. The article is: Heterosexual Attitudes toward Same-Sex Marriage: The Influence of Attitudes toward Same-Sex parenting by Stephanie Newton Webb and Jill Chonody:

“Legal recognition of same-sex marriage is a controversial social issue. Despite a positive shift in attitudes toward gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals, sexual prejudice still exists. Research suggests that religion and religiosity, contact, education, sex, gender ideologies, age, and marital and parental status contribute to biases against sexual minorities. Similar findings have been established for attitudes toward same-sex marriage; however, attitudes toward same-sex marriage have been found to be more complex and resistant to change, suggesting the influence of other factors”.(Webb & Chonody, 2013, p. 405)

10 top tips for development/evidence for articles found in GLBT Family Studies:

Note: After reading a few articles I have discovered that the majority of the papers are argumentative, with several research papers included. My tips are presented around an argumentative style of paper and overall writing for research as a general rule.

Plan Ahead:

Deciding what type of journal you wish to write for is the first step. Once this is determined (in this case GLBT Family Studies) you will want to examine the other authors that have recently published within the journal. What is their writing style and what about impact factors? Since a journal often rated by how many citations are used (impact factors) and greater citations are valued highly, this will need to be taken into account.

View Abstracts:

In order to be able to create work that may be sufficient for publication, viewing article abstracts may be helpful.  Focus on how the abstracts are structured and what the article is aiming to do. Decide how you can also give your paper a direction and how this would best be presented in an abstract. Compare various papers and select two; one that’s the type of paper you can use as a model for yours, and one that you can cite in your paper, thereby joining the research conversation that is ongoing in that journal. (Murray, 2013, para. 4)

Arguments:

The argument you have decided to focus on is your interpretation of the topic you are working with. For example, an essay discussing the impact of transgendered individuals sharing unisex washrooms in the workplace would be your assessment of what the impact is. Moving forward, a thesis statement needs to be considered and presented in the introduction paragraph of the essay/article.

Crafting a Good Paragraph:

Paragraphs are the foundation of the essay and should be longer than two or three sentences. The sentences that are included in the paragraph are related to one main point. The point is elaborated throughout the paragraph using details, citations, opposing points and examples.

Using a Topic Sentence:

Once you have decided on your topic sentence, use this as a guide. The topic sentence is used to develop and keep your argument or research in order, so that your reader (and you) may follow your thoughts easily. Structure and organization are important, so the essay focus and points are easy to follow.

Prove and Analyze:

Evidence is one of the most relevant portions of the paragraph for argumentative and research essays. For example, a supportive piece that relates to my journal could be, “Transgendered students face threats and bullying when using the unisex washrooms.” Then, it is recommended to introduce a statistic showing the rise of incidents and police reports supporting this claim. A citation will be necessary at this time, followed by an analysis explaining why this type of bullying is detrimental to our student’s graduation rates.

Stay on Track:

It may be easy to become side-tracked by facts that you consider to be important. An essay focused on research regarding children of same-sex marriage to be as well-rounded and successful as children from “traditional” marriages should not be interrupted by tangents regarding orphaned children and their lifelong success, for example. This may sway the essay away from the argument or research that is important

Language:

The type of language that you choose to use is important. The language that you use will also affect the development of the paragraph. Words such as “good,” “nice” and “bad” are extremely vague and should not be used in professional writing. Find clearer words such as “respectful,” “giving” and “selfish,” for example, with which to replace these vague words. Furthermore, do not using confusing words, or words of which you do not know the meaning, because your lack of understanding will translate to the reader. (http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-paragraph-development.html)

Transitions:

You need to be able to complete the paragraph you have been working on and move into the next. This should be accomplished by using a transition. You may want to outline that your next paragraph will be a continuation of sorts, or, that the next paragraph will contain opposing arguments to allow you to prove your argument to be valid.

Friends and Errors:

Writing with others, or certainly including others (trusted friends or fellow students)  within your writing process can help to eliminate errors and remain on track in regards to the evidence and writing style you have decided to present.

Side note:

Interesting tips that I did not include, but enjoyed:

http://conferences.sigcomm.org/co-next/2006/files/pres/10tipsforwritingapaper.pdf

 

References

Murray, R. (2013). Writing for academic journal: 10 tips. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/sep/06/academic-journal-writing-top-tips

Webb, S. N., & Chonody, J. (2013, November 21). heterosexual attitiudes toward same-sex marriage: The influence od attitudes toward same-sex parenting. GLBT Family Studies, 10(4), 404-421. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1550428X.2013.832644

http://www.trentu.ca/history/workbook/strongparagraphs.php

http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/sep/06/academic-journal-writing-top-tips

 

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