Where do we find opinion in academic writing?
Where opinion occurs in academic writing depends to a
large extent on the genre, or type of writing; for example, in essay and
report writing expression of opinion and attitude is more predominant
in introductions (where the essay's thesis is outlined), and conclusions
(where reflections and recommendations are sometimes made) although opinion
can also be expressed throughout the piece of writing. Look at the following
examples of writing which come from a variety of disciplines. Read each
text for more information about how opinion has been expressed in each
|Conclusion to Accounting and Finance
|Under the appropriate
social and economic conditions, Value Added Statements (VAS)
may become important in presenting
additional or recognised information about an entity to a wider
audience. They are of most use when
they can be compared with those of past years or with other companies.
However, if the publication of the VAS
is to become widespread throughout the United Kingdom and
in Australia for that matter, there is the need then for
accounting standards on their form and content. This
is due to the variety of methods that are currently employed in
||Opinion is qualified so
that it applies only to certain situations.
Adjective used to express evaluation.
Opinion is qualified so that it applies
only to certain situations.
The need = this step is necessary in my opinion. Nominalisation
makes the opinion sound objective, more moderate and less obvious
than if it had been expressed in the verb form 'I think we need
to'. More information on nominalisation.
Evidence supplied to validate opinion.
|Introduction to a biology report
|Many plant species
have structures on their seeds to enhance their dispersal. In Australia,
over 1500 plant species produce seeds that bear a fleshy appendage
called an elaiosome (Berg, 1975). Plant species that produce elaiosomes
in Australia are generally found
in dry sclerophyll vegetation (Berg,
1975). Elaiosomes are thought to
be an adaptation to attract ants, who then become agents of seed
dispersal (Beattie, 1985). This study investigates whether elaiosomes
increase the removal of seeds from Fabaceae
species plants by ants. It is hypothesised
that the removal of seeds with elaiosome by ants is greater than
that of seeds without elaiosomes.
Modality of the claim is lowered to
match the supporting evidence.
Claims are qualified to a specific situation
or object. Exact information is provided about the nature of the
situation or object.
The results of the experiment discussed
in the report will either prove or disprove this statement.
|Explanation of investigation (in Introduction)
of scientific report for nursing
|In many radiotherapy centres where planning
for external beam treatments is performed by radiation therapists,
the treatment sheet and its calculations are independently checked
by staff from a different educational background, typically a radiotherapy
physicist. The benefits of this practice
were evaluated in a radiotherapy department with two linear accelerators:
one combined superficial-orthovoltage unit and one telecaesium unit.
||By using the nominalised
form of beneficial, 'to benefit', the writing sounds more objective
and unbiased. More information on nominalisation.
|Body paragraph of a Management case
|Open lines of
communication are necessary to ensure clarity in the expectations
of both management and staff. In the case study, it seems clear
there is a disparity in the manager and the staff's perception of
their roles. It is essential
that the manager clearly set out the organisational
goals, and establishes guidelines that outline the contribution
of staff towards these goals. As
Moorehead (1992:52) suggests members of staff have their own psychological
contract with the organisation which embodies their personal expectations
about what they will contribute to an organisation, and what, in
return, the organisation will contribute to them. The
use of job descriptions can ensure that an individual's psychological
contract and the expectations of management are compatible. In this
case study, some staff obviously believe that part of their psychological
contract is not being met, resulting in their workplace dissatisfaction.
||Statement of argument (Writer's
High modality language has been used to make a recommendation.
Evidence from authoritative sources supporting
the writer's argument is integrated into the paragraph.
The evidence is reflected upon and a further
statement of the writer's opinion is made.
1 Adapted from: Woodward-Kron (1997) Writing in Commerce,
Revised edition, CALT, The University of Newcastle, p. 17.
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