UNE - Academic Writing - Thesis statement
Within discourse communities, writers build on top of the ideas established by previous writers. One of the most common misconceptions about writing is the idea of the ‘lonely writer’; that great writers’ papers are filled almost entirely with original ideas and messages. But this is simply not the case. Discourse communities introduce new ideas and claims, and from these, writers expand on them. James Porter, a scholar of Rhetoric at Indiana University, uses The Declaration of Independence as an example to illustrate this point. Porter points out that Jefferson merely pulled the phrase "That all men are created equal" straight from his commonplace book he made as a boy. Porter also points out that, "‘Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness’" was a cliche of the times, appearing in numerous political documents." In fact, according to Porter, almost nothing in the Declaration of Independence was written originally by Jefferson. Jefferson wrote this great work by weaving together the intertext of his discourse community. As Greene describes in his article, "Argument as Conversation," academic writing can be thought of metaphorically as a conversation between those in the discourse community. "The metaphor of conversation emphasizes the social nature of writing" (Greene). Just like in a conversation when you listen to the ideas of the others who are involved and formulate your own opinion on the topic, a writer may be reading a paper done by another writer in the discourse community and from this paper, the scholar may obtain inspiration to expand the claims expressed in the paper or address them from other angles. "Like the verbal conversations you have with others,' effective arguments never take place in a vacuum; they take into account previous conversations that have taken place about the subject under discussion" (Greene). Good academic writers know the importance of researching previous work from within the discourse community and using this work to build their own claims. By taking these ideas and expanding upon them or applying them in a new way, a writer is able to make their novel argument.
The Purdue OWL: Academic Writing
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In short, then, good academic writing follows the rules of good writing. If you'd like to know more about how to improve your academic style, please see , elsewhere in this Web site. But before you do, consider some of the following tips, designed to make the process of writing an academic paper go more smoothly: