Academic writing requires students to have cute information on the various styles of writing based on the systems of writing advocated for by institutions of higher education. They need to follow and adhere to certain rules. Some of these procedures include, but not limited to, referencing or rather citation rules and the avoidance of committing academic crimes such as plagiarism.
In fact, many of the literatures that describe the procedures of writing in whatsoever style do not fail to mention these two requirements of any academic essay. Kate Turabian’s Student’s Guide to Writing College Papers is perhaps one of the scholarly works entirely done with the intention of describing the writing procedures of academic works.
Though I agree with what Turabian claims, Farber and Tucker point out how crucial it is, to incorporate the period within which her claims hold based on the evident changes that have taken place since the publishing of the fourth edition of Student’s Guide to Writing College Papers.
This evident based on the various developments in writing contributed largely by the emergence of new technologies prompting new considerations in the writing styles.
Introspection of Kate’s claims
Any form of academic writing has some preset purpose. Consequently, in the evaluation process of the academic writings such as essays, one has to look at some preset rules to know whether the writers have followed them.
With this in mind, Turabian’s suggestion that “Few students learn to write by memorizing formal rules before and after the writing-to talk hence need to learn about the written forms you expect them to produce, not as your personal quirky preference” (Turabian 5). Building on this line of view, the research process emerges as an experience dominated by loneliness.
Many of the people who deploy their better time to research find themselves only having the various detractions of their computers or books as the only source of company. Turabian reckons, “everything we know about writing and thinking suggests that most of us work more slowly and less well when we work alone” (19). However, this claim is challengeable.
In fact, various researchers especially the ones who often use the norms of the research process have the capacity of performing exemplarily when they accomplish their tasks alone. The word loneliness means the state of lack of company during the research time since in actual sense one cannot regard experienced researchers as lonely since, while writing, they engage with their targeted audience.
Experienced writers can evaluate what their target audience may understand, as well as what they cannot understand. According to Turabian, “…There is nothing easy for new students” (20). In support of this claim, it sounds somewhat significant for teachers to guide students in the research process by ensuring that they can follow some preset rules and regulations in writing their academic essays.
This way, they can encourage them to develop skills in rehearsing their works to suit certain audience tantamount to the expertise writers who the students seek to emulate. In this end, Turabian posits that “Most researchers rehearse their work all the time—for colleagues, friends, students, in seminars, at conferences, on e-mail lists, in grant proposals, and on and on” (20).
Arguably, as a requirement, inexperienced students deserve to build a similar interaction. However, to achieve this, students should not make decisions alone on what suits a certain audience. Talk-talk attitude about what they are investigating in their research deserves to be inculcated in them.
I immensely concur with Turabian on the significance of the talk-talk culture in helping students develop eloquent writing skills. “Orchestrate occasions and obligations for students to talk about what they are investigating, why it matters, what they are finding, what they still want to know, what parts are weak and need bolstering, and so on” (Turabian 21).
Such an occasion is significant since, more often than not, academic writing demands the rising of subtle claims coupled with supporting them profoundly.
Additionally, the value of the arguments depends on the capacity of the writer to consider the various alternative perspectives of view about the same argument and where necessary give sufficient information that confronts the various likely counter arguments if at all the argument needs remain relevant. Turabian also argues that many inexperienced writers also deploy their writing as an ample tool for thinking.
It is perhaps after writing that one peruses through his or her work to establish the weaknesses of logic. Consistent with Turabian’s claims that “students tend to see writing and speaking as merely packaging of ideas, not as a way to discover and improve them” (21). This claim is, in fact, significant especially bearing in mind the necessity for ideas regeneration and re-evaluation during the writing process.
What this means is that words need to follow ideas. However, upon accomplishing this, words need be re-evaluated to identify the likely eminent weakness in terms of delivering the intended meaning.
What has changed since the Source was Published
Even though Turabian’s ideas about academic writing are essential for persuasive writing, some criticisms about the same are still significant. Turabian posits that “When assigning a paper, one should not just set a deadline but instead, create a series of due dates that stage students’ research and writing” (21). Considering the writing of the twentieth century, the issue of not fixing deadlines is somehow out of date.
Twenty first century is characterized by times in which people must perform various tasks within fixed routines coupled to accomplishing the demands of these tasks within some fixed periods. Bearing in mind that students are trained for the purposes of later introducing them to the job market requiring compliance with demands of deadlines to execute various tasks, they need to have practiced this culture long time enough.
Arguably, one of the ways of enhancing this is by ensuring and examining student’s performance based on his/her ability to present quality work within fixed periods. Turabian also claims that teachers also deserve to “Map out milestones that will force students 21 to practice the kind of processes outlined in “Writing Your Paper,” including those requiring them to share, talk about, or reflect on their written work as they go” (22).
Unfortunately, this stages that Turabian talks of may by far end up impeding the thinking process of student while writing.
On a different line of view, perhaps the modern technologies also call for a different consideration of writing techniques. The modern technologies pose a formidable threat to value and originality in writing.
In this context, Farber argues that “The new technologies lack a convenient way of writing-while-reading, enhance plagiarism, eliminate traditional archiving methods without offering a satisfactory new substitute (presently) and give rise to a call for a revised way of citation, together with new ways of archiving and storing” (226).
Unfortunately, students have to deploy these techniques while writing. Computers, for instance, have come to enhance the writing in terms of the capacity to process word text for punctuations, spellings and correct usage of words. Modern technology, as opposed to Farber’s argument, helps to eliminate the challenges of plagiarism especially where various works that students use as reference material are available on the World Wide Web.
Consequently, perhaps congruent with Henneberg argument “For people who make their living selling words to readers—and indeed for readers themselves—these are times of upheaval” (116). With the development of the word processors, compliance with certain writing rules becomes much easier to achieve.
As a way example, referencing styles can be accustomed so that whenever an error occurs whether in the punctuation or format the writer can easily identify these errors. The twenty first century is a century of simplification of almost every task performed by humankind!
Arguably, the advent of the information technology has the capacity to render textual contents explosion. The advantage of information technology in influencing the manner in which writing in the 21st century is accomplished is that “More people are engaging in more conversations, sharing more opinions, learning more, and learning faster than anyone could have imagined just a few decades ago” (Tucker 17).
As a result, people are able to access scholarly works much faster and hence building on the ideas that one’s intends to incorporate in his or her written work becomes also easier. Any academic writing is driven by academic curiosity. The information revolution consequently serves to enhance ease of information access available to the immense number of sources while incurring minimal costs.
As Tucker Reckons, incorporation of new technologies in the research process infers “opportunity to become a source, trustworthy or otherwise, and to share an opinion with the world the second the whim strikes to do so” (17). In this line of view, Farber’s accusation of the new technologies to influence writing negatively in the twenty first century as priory stipulated perhaps lacks substance.
An essential guide that Turabian raises is perhaps the manner in which teachers should mark the papers of the students. Turabian advices, “The most efficient way to mark a paper is to analyze it before you read closely enough to mark it up” (22).
This proposition is incredible especially by noting that more often than not, the ideas that are presented in the academic essay by students depends more on the validity of claims and the magnitude of support offered to the claims. As consequence, paying ample attention to the information contained in the introduction, conclusion and sections of paragraphs introducing topic sentences is essential.
In this end, in case the ideas development in the essay follows the top-down approach, the very first sentences of every paragraph are essential and require thorough scrutiny.
It is also essential to consider critically the last sentences of every paragraph in case one uses the down-top approach in the paragraph development. Fortunately, no matter the technology in use in writing, whether considering writing approaches in the twenty first century or at the time Turabian was writing Student’s Guide to Writing College, the concepts of the manner of developing the paragraphs still holds.
Teachers need to compel inexperienced writers to write according to some certain prescribed rules to promote compliance to standardized writing practices including punctuation, citation, both in the texts and in references.
Even though changes have emerged in relation to the manner in which information is availed to writers, with the twenty first century giving writers an ease of information access in terms of saving time and cost, the paper recognizes the relevance of the Turabian’s writing guides even in the modern writing world.
Farber, Miriam. How shall we write and read in twenty-first century academy? Notes on the margin of electronic publishing. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 5.2(2007): 226 – 234.
Henneberg, Sylvia. Developing Age Studies through Literature. NWSA Journal 18.1 (2006): 106-126.
Tucker, Patrick. The 21st writer. A Magazine of Forecasts, Trends and Ideas about Future 42.4(2008): 16-17.
Turabian, Kate. Instructors Guide to Students Guide to Writing College Papers, 2011. Web.