PS_BB038 Writing of readable scientific texts

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2017
Extent and Intensity
0/2/0. 3 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
Teacher(s)
Mgr. Tatiana Malatincová, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
PhDr. Zdenka Stránská, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: PhDr. Irena Komendová, Ph.D.
Supplier department: Department of Psychology - Faculty of Arts
Timetable
Thu 14:10–15:45 U23
Prerequisites
Successful completion of PS_BA016 Methodology II. Recommended PS_BB001 Analysing psychological monographs.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 5 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/5, only registered: 0/5
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
The course is designed to develop students’ skills of writing highly informative, evidence-based texts that are – in the manner of scientific literature published in English – highly accessible to the general public in terms of comprehensibility. Hence, emphasis is placed on the reader as the main “purpose” of the text (rather than the author completing a writing assignment) and on the communication function served by the text. Writing skills taught in the course include adhering to a clear and coherent structure, thoroughly specifying the main idea or argument, identifying relevant arguments, and formulating clear and concise arguments supported by relevant literary sources. The students should learn to distinguish between subjective and objective, justified and unfounded statements, assumptions, hypotheses, facts and interpretations, and to respond quickly to these differences when selecting and using information in their own writing. Stylistically, the course teaches how to cut down on the use of vague expressions for better comprehensibility, move the “weight” from “filling” expressions to words that carry key information, cut down on generalizing, abstract and informationally undeveloped passages, achieve balance between content, readability and conciseness, and stick to a single main line of argumentation with minimum digressions. The course also promotes useful academic skills and habits regarding study of sources, such as finding primary information, distinguishing assumptions or interpretations from facts, or appropriate citing of sources. All of these skills can be applied in any type of academic writing (term papers, theses and other scientific as well as popularizing texts).
Syllabus
  • Types of academic and scientific texts. Types of information in academic and scientific texts. Composition of theoretical texts and individual chapters of empirical articles: logical arguments; empirical support; citations; opinions; assumptions; hypotheses; interpretations; facts. Principles of scientific argumentation. Writing skills as a competence. General and specific information; relevant and irrelevant information; theme and rheme. Functions of different information in the text. Proof and evidence; emphasizing relevant information. Usage and overuse of specific elements and aspects of Czech and Slovak academic writing style (genitive, redundancy, abstraction, long compound and complex sentences, etc.). Typical vague and ambiguous expressions in Czech and Slovak academic texts – comparison with English texts. Limiting pragmatic features of Czech and Slovak academic texts. Condensation. Concretization. Means of increasing comprehensibility and readability (linking and logical coherence; emphasizing new information; de-emphasizing contextual information; examples, etc.). Writing an introduction – stating an argument. Writing without “clutter”. Sticking to a well-defined line of argumentation. Meeting a word limit. Reader as the main criterion for choosing content and style.
Literature
  • ZINSSER, William. On writing well : the classic guide to writing nonfiction. 30th anniversary ed., 7th ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2006. xiii, 321. ISBN 0060891548. info
  • ČMEJRKOVÁ, Světla, František DANEŠ and Jindra SVĚTLÁ. Jak napsat odborný text. Vydání první. Praha: Leda, 1999. 255 stran. ISBN 8085927691. info
Teaching methods
Classroom discussions & tutoring. Homework assignments involving stylistic analysis of sample texts in an e-learning environment, writing of short compositions, and providing peer-feedback.
Assessment methods
Because the course is primarily aimed at developing skills, students will be required to complete assignments throughout the semester, which will involve analyses of texts, writing of short passages and providing peer feedback for other sutdents. The final assignment involves writing a concise, informative and highly readable ("reader-friendly") academic text (essay/article) with well-defined arguments supported by relevant information.
Language of instruction
Czech
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught annually.

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