Academic Writing Resources – Academic PhraseBank | Academic Vocabulary & Word Lists
1. REF-N-WRITE PhraseBank for Writing Research Papers
REF-N-WRITE phrase bank contains a comprehensive collection of the phrases that you can readily use to write your research paper. The site contains plenty of academic phrases, sentence stubs and academic vocabulary that covers various sections of the paper – abstract, introduction, materials & methods, results, discussion, conclusion, acknowledgments, and appendix. The academic phrases and vocabulary were extracted from a wide collection of scientific research papers. The phrases and sentence stubs provided on the site are very generic, so there will not be any copyright or plagiarism implications if you use them directly in your papers. This is a perfect place to start if you are writing your first research paper or if you are a non-native English speaker. There is also a nice tutorial explaining how to write a research paper with a brief description of various sections that constitute a research paper.
2. Manchester PhraseBank for General Academic Writing
This Academic phrase bank is the most popular general resource for academic writers created by Dr. John Morley at the University of Manchester. It provides phraseological ideas for the main sections of a research paper or dissertation. The phrases cover various aspects of academic writing and are categorised under following sections: (1) Being critical, (2) Being cautious, (3) Classifying and listing, (4) Compare and contrast, (5) Defining terms, (6) Describing trends, (7) Describing quantities, (8) Explaining causality, (9) Giving examples as support, (10) Signalling transition, and (11) Writing about the past. Even though, the resource was designed primarily for academic and scientific writers who are non-native speakers of English, however native speaker writers may still find much of the material helpful. There is a general section covering topics such as (1) Academic style, (2) Commonly confused words, (3) British and US spelling, Punctuation, (3) Using articles, (4) Sentence structure, (5) Paragraph structure and (6) Helpful tips for writers. The Academic Phrasebank is not discipline specific. The phrases provided in the site are content neutral and generic in nature and hence using them, will not constitute plagiarism or stealing others ideas.
3. UEFAP (Using English for Academic Purposes For Students in Higher Education)
The UEFAP site has plenty of resources in academic writing. The site is maintained by Andy Gillett – the author the book “Successful Academic Writing.” This site touches upon various elements of academic writing and is organised under following sections: (1) Functions; (2) Paragraphs; (3) Plagiarism; (4) reporting; (5) Genres; (6) References; (7) Citation; (8) Punctuation; and (9) Spelling. There are plenty of fill-in-the-blanks type exercises to practice your academic writing skills.
4. Academic Word List – Dr. Averil Coxhead (Victoria University of Wellington)
Dr. Averil Coxhead, Senior Lecturer School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies developed and evaluated The Academic Word List (AWL) for her MA thesis. This list is a very useful resource for improving academic writing skills for learners and a good teaching resource for tutors. The list contains 570 word families which were selected according to principles. The list does not include words that are in the most frequent 2000 words of English since they are likely to be mostly articles, prepositions and very basic vocabulary. The academic word list was extracted from the Academic Corpus containing approximately 3,500,000 running words. The materials for the corpus came from four broad fields of study: Arts, Commerce, Law, and Science. Each of these contained approximately 875,000 running words. Words from each field were further divided into seven subject areas of approximately 125,000 running words.
5. Academic Vocabulary – Sandra Haywood, University of Nottingham, UK
This site is maintained by Sandra Haywood of Nottingham and has plenty of resources to expand your academic vocabulary using the Academic Word List (the AWL). The ‘AWL Highlighter’ tool available in this site highlights AWL words in texts you cut and paste into the site. The ‘AWL Gapmaker’ creates gaps in place of AWL words in texts you cut and paste into the site. There are plenty of exercises for beginners in academic writing and teaching resources for academic writing tutors. This resource is handy for home students and overseas students, who need to learn the technical vocabulary of their field. This will help them improve their comprehension of academic texts and also help them write assignments in an academic writing style.
6. Word and Phrase Info – Mark Davis, Brigham Young University
This is a very useful site that allows you to analyze your writing by comparing your text with data from a Corpus. After inputting the text, the site processes your text and displays useful information about words and phrases in the text, based on data from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). It will highlight all of the medium and lower-frequency words in your text and create lists of these words that you can use offline. You can also have it show you the “academic” words in your text. You can click on the words in the text to see a detailed information such as word sketch, definition, collocates, and the frequency of the word (overall, and by genre). You can search for related phrases on selected phrases in your text, to show related phrases in COCA. In this way, this resource is like a “collocational thesaurus” to see what related phrases are most likely in different styles of English. This will help you use just the right phrase based on a huge collection of native English texts.
7. Exam English
This site contains plenty of free practice tests for the learners of English. They have converted academic word list produced by Dr. Averil Coxhead into a series of practice tests. The 570 words are divided into 10 Groups. The groups are ordered such that the words in the first Group are the most frequent words and those in the last Group are the least frequent. This site is excellent if you would like to improve your academic writing skills through practice.
8. Academic Vocabulary Exercises – Gerry Luton, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
This site is maintained by Gerry Luton, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. There are plenty of academic vocabulary exercises to improve your academic writing skills. The Academic Word List (AWL) is divided into 10 sublists of word families, and there are exercises for each sublist. The exercises include different derivations for the words given. This website features over 750 gap-fill exercises to learn and review over 2000 items of General vocabulary and Academic vocabulary in English. Gap-fill exercises are an excellent way to practice vocabulary in different contexts and can be used to broaden the student’s understanding of the range of meaning of vocabulary. The online format of the exercises allows students to get immediate feedback on their answers.
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