Saturday, March 21, 2020

Academic Writing, Methodology and Research Project: Notes

Notes to Core Course II Semester, B A English, Kannur University.
Name of Course: Academic Writing, Methodology and Research Project
Code: 2B02 ENG
Prescribed Text: Methodology of Humanities and Academic Writing
Course Outcomes
  1. Understand and apply the nuances of academic writing
  2. Understand the various methodological as well as epistemological aspects of literary studies
  3. Familiarise with the approaches to literature
  4. Choose a tentative topic for the research project to be submitted in semester six.
Module - IV
Academic Writing
IV. What is "Academic" Writing?
  1. Introduction: The Academic Writing Task
  2. Decoding College Writing Assignments
  3. The Format Of The Academic Essay
V. Writing a Research Paper in Literary Studies
  1. First Steps
  2. Writing Your Paper
  3. Plagiarism
Where to begin? What to do?
           Hi everyone, it's been a long time since we haven't had a chance to meet and greet each other through this blog. Times have been hard. I have been very busy since the completion of the first semester and the starting of the second semester. During this period, my new book Life After the Floods was published. It was published by one of the most exciting youthful publishers in India, Kalamos Literary Services. 
           I also ventured into the art of Dubbing. One of the dubbing ventures is given in the link below for you, as an example. 


Dubbing is a whole new world for me. I am enjoying every bit of fun it's offering me. This does not mean that I no longer take pleasure in teaching. Of course, teaching is at the centre of my life. The students in my class have also requested for notes for the English Common Courses. This year, however, study materials have been made available for English Common courses such as Reading on Nature and Readings on Gender by the Calicut University Store, Kannur. You can purchase copies of the study aid from any bookstore. Due to the availability of the materials, I did not venture into making notes and publishing the notes through my blog free. However, the main paper for B A English, Academic Writing, Methodology and Research Project required materials for study. Students have asked me frequently for notes and most of the time, the prescribed text seemed to lack a coherent narrative structure. This is especially true in the case of Module IV, Academic Writing. The chapters in this module follow the first-person narrative. However, no reference could be found as to whom the first person pronoun reflects. Even though the first chapter in the module, titled "What Is "Academic" Writing?" is about the methodology and epistemological underpinnings that categorise academic writing from other branches of writing, the essay in this chapter does not reveal any information or data regarding the production or source of the material. It would be erroneous to assume that the board of editors wrote all the essays in the book because it would negate their very status as "editors" of the essays or the text itself. Even if we take for granted the erroneous notion that the board of editors are the authors of the essays in the book, sources or works mentioned here are nowhere to be seen cited in the text. This is just the contrary to what the text teaches the students to perform in academic writing. 
           This was one of the major difficulties that I faced as a teacher while teaching this module. The reason for noticing this difficulty, in particular, is the fourth-course outcome laid down by the university. Outcome D suggests the scholars/students to "Choose a tentative topic for the research project to be submitted in semester six."
           If we want the scholar/student to enter in a research project, we should give them the tools. We should make them proficient in how to use these tools. The last module in the course, Module IV is most important in this sense because it offers the tools to perform academic writing with consistency. There is one problem though. The text presents the details of academic writing and research methodology as if it's an authority in itself. Research methodology in humanities is a discipline in itself. The text does not give references as to where the data came from. Also, the references and works cited should follow the MLA Handbook, latest edition, during the time the research outcome is presented. The reference to MLA Handbook comes out casually in the book. The citations and references are explained without mentioning what source they are taken from. This is going to be a major roadblock for teachers while teaching this module. 
           My first attempt would be to give be as simple as possible in dealing with this course. Firstly, I would like to explain to the students how to get good marks for this course. 
           So what exactly is academic writing?
           Next: Comprehension Questions