Academic discourse b. Mitsikopoulou



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ACADEMIC DISCOURSE B. Mitsikopoulou

  • INTERPRETATION OF DATA: Analysing different types of graphs:
  • Bar Graphs and Histograms
  • Line Graphs
  • Pie Charts
  • Tables

About the task

  • In this task you will be given research findings in some kind of visual representation and you will be asked to describe the findings using words instead of numbers.
  • BAR GRAPHS

Bar Graph

  • A bar graph uses vertical or horizontal bars to show comparisons.

Vertical Bar Graph

Horizontal Bar Graph

Horizontal Bar Graph

Task 5

  • The graph below contains some information on the types of errors students make in their class and home compositions. Study the graph and write a text of approximately 250 words describing the findings presented in the graph and explaining them by taking into account the possible explanations offered below.
  • Source:
  • Kroll, Barbara. 1990. What does time buy? ESL student performance on home versus class compositions. In Barbara Kroll (ed) Second Language Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 140-154.

A Video on Bar Graphs

  • https://www.khanacademy.org/math/cc-sixth-grade-math/cc-6th-data-statistics/cc-6th-bar-charts/e/reading_bar_charts_3
  • In your text, you may consider the following questions:
  • What generalizations and conclusions can we draw from the following table?
  • Which are the most frequently occurring errors?
  • Overall, do students produce better essays when they write at home?
  • Which language areas do they mostly have problems with?

Task 5

Q1: What generalizations and conclusions can we draw from the following table?

Possible explanations

Q2: Which are the most frequently occurring errors?

Possible explanations

  • mistakes are often the result of consistent misinterpretations of language on the part of the student
  • some language areas present more problems for language learners than others
  • different types of lessons are required for students who exhibit different types of problems in writing
  • writing a text requires the application of different skills students should be trained at
  • conditions under which a text is produced may affect text production
  • teachers need to train students in a repertoire of writing strategies and in recognizing the elements of good writing
  • no special instruction was offered to students as to how to prepare their home compositions.

Q3: Overall, do students produce better essays when they write at home?

Possible explanations

  • mistakes are often the result of consistent misinterpretations of language on the part of the student
  • some language areas present more problems for language learners than others
  • different types of lessons are required for students who exhibit different types of problems in writing
  • writing a text requires the application of different skills students should be trained at
  • conditions under which a text is produced may affect text production
  • teachers need to train students in a repertoire of writing strategies and in recognizing the elements of good writing
  • no special instruction was offered to students as to how to prepare their home compositions.

Q4: Which language areas do they mostly have problems with?

Possible explanations

  • mistakes are often the result of consistent misinterpretations of language on the part of the student
  • some language areas present more problems for language learners than others
  • different types of lessons are required for students who exhibit different types of problems in writing
  • writing a text requires the application of different skills students should be trained at
  • conditions under which a text is produced may affect text production
  • teachers need to train students in a repertoire of writing strategies and in recognizing the elements of good writing
  • no special instruction was offered to students as to how to prepare their home compositions.
  • HISTOGRAMS

Histogram

  • A histogram is a type of bar graph that shows the frequency of data within given intervals.
  • There are no spaces between the bars of a histogram.

Histogram

Bar Graphs vs Histograms Video

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3QoquxnfZk
  • LINE GRAPHS

Line Graph (used when something changes over time)

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36v2EXZRzUE

Reader, p. 124-125 Sample Task l Line Graph 1: Fluctuations of grammatical complexity

Reader, p. 124-125 Sample Task l Line Graph 2: Fluctuations of lexical complexity

  • PIE CHARTS

Pie Chart

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JqH55rLGKY&list=PLgwLZ71lqZkzT16ZHkmtoaPlCnEj58BZu
  • TABLES

Table

videos

  • Difference between bar graph and histogram
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3QoquxnfZk
  • Reading bar graphs
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiQ6MUQZHSs
  • Reading line graphs
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36v2EXZRzUE
  • Reading pie chart
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JqH55rLGKY&list=PLgwLZ71lqZkzT16ZHkmtoaPlCnEj58BZu

Prepare a well structured essay

  • Your response to the task on interpretation of data should be in the form of a well-structured essay which consists of an introduction, main body paragraphs and a conclusion.

Introductory paragraph

  • Introduce the general topic of the study and refer to the kind of information reported in the graph/table; refer to the source (in-text documentation) appropriately, e.g. In a study conducted by Hall (1998)…
  • Describe the graph/table, e.g. the horizontal axis presents…, the vertical axis….(Jordan, unit 11)

Main body paragraphs

  • Plan carefully the information you will put in each main body paragraph
  • Present the main significant findings of the graph/table. Do not attempt a linear presentation of the graph/table. Remember that you do not need to describe all information on the graph/table.

Decide what you will present and how (Jordan 1999, p. 67)

  • English language problems of overseas students in BritainDe
  • Language problems
  • On arrival
  • Understanding spoken English
  • 66%
  • 28%
  • Speaking
  • 52%
  • 42%
  • Writing
  • 15%
  • 32%
  • Reading
  • 3%
  • 2%

Planning your essay

  • Here are 4 possible different plans you may follow (all of which acceptable) in terms of different classification criteria you may use.
  • Of course, other plans are also possible.
  • Information from the table may be classified according to:

Use generalations + factual language

  • 3. Change numbers and percentages to generalizations and qualification. However, do not use cautious language when you report research findings since they present factual information.

Use possible explanations + cautious language

  • 4. Explain the findings presented in the graph/table using some of the possible explanations given to you (do not add your own explanations). Link the following explanations to the findings by using cautious language

Use transitions

  • 5. Throughout your main body paragraphs use linking words to indicate the sequence of significant findings (e.g .first, second, moreover, furthermore, on the contrary) and their findings (e.g. interestingly, surprisingly, as expected, it is worth mentioning)

Use the language of comparisons

  • 6. Use comparative forms in order to compare (present similarities) and contrast (present differences) information from the graph/table.
  • 7. Use exemplification expressions when you refer to specific examples.
  • e.g. illustration, for example, for instance, a case in point, such as, etc

Expressions for graph description

  • 8. Use vocabulary which refers to the table/graph, describes change/trend and the information in the table/graph, e.g.
  • upward/downward trend/fluctuations
  • to level off, to reach a peak, to reach a plateau, to remain constant
  • rapid/dramatic/sharp increase/rise/grow
  • steady/moderate/small/slight/ gradual rise
  • sudden/abrupt decrease/fall/drop/decline
  • 9. Link facts observed in the table/graph/pie/chart with possible explanations. Interpretation of data is describing + explaining the findings.

Conclusion

  • In this paragraph briefly refer to the main findings that may be drawn form the table/graph and sum up discussion. Use appropriate vocabulary
  • e.g. In short, in a word, in brief, to summarize, in conclusion, on the whole, In all

Table

  • English language problems of overseas students in BritainDe
  • Language problems
  • Students: Percentages
  • On arrival
  • 6 months later
  • Understanding spoken English
  • 66%
  • 28%
  • Speaking
  • 52%
  • 42%
  • Writing
  • 15%
  • 32%
  • Reading
  • 3%
  • 2%


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