Writing English language articles can be hard work and even confusing. However, if you follow the hints and tips in this article, you should gain clarity on the matter. In this article you will learn:
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If you have been commissioned to write an article for a journal, the chances are that the topic will have been chosen for you but if you haven’t, you need to choose the topic yourself. This can be problematic because you may choose a riveting topic and write it up in an exciting manner but if there has been a spate of articles written on the same topic and it is on the wane, the chances are that you won’t get it published. In other words, try to find a topic that is just gaining interest but hasn’t been done so much that there is nothing new to say about it.
Another problem with choosing a topic is that it can be tempting to choose one that doesn’t really excite us if the topic seems to be generating a bit of a buzz in linguistic circles. If the topic bores you so much that you glaze over as soon as you start reading about it, don’t attempt it if you have a choice. You really need to choose something that excites you; this way it will be illuminated in your writing.
The English language is fascinating and there are a whole range of topics to choose from. These can include:
The best way to pinpoint your topic is to choose which subject interests you the most and then spend some time exploring the topics that are related to it. A good way to do this is to scribble down anything that comes into your mind. You need to be relaxed while you are doing it and it doesn’t matter if you write down subjects that are irrelevant because sometimes our best ideas emerge when we allow our minds to truly wander.
Once you have chosen a topic for your article, you then need to find a hypothesis or argument to keep your article focussed. Let’s say that you have chosen to explore Joseph’s dialect in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. This idea in itself is large and at this point has no focus. A good starting point is to consider what you want to do with the dialect. Perhaps, you could decide to compare it with something else.
Once you have made this decision, you immediately need to make another one. What type of research will you be doing for your article? Here are some options.
Let’s suggest that you have decided that your article would have more value if you did some original research and so you have decided to record conversations between people that were born and brought up in Haworth in the 21st century. As you mull this over, you decide that, it would be pointless to record a solicitor because he would have more in common with Lockwood than with Joseph. Can you see how you are focussing in on a very particular question? This could lead you to decide that the focus of your article would be “What is the difference between the dialect of Joseph from Wuthering Heights and builders’ labourers that were born and live in Haworth in the present day.”
As you do the research for your article and develop your ideas, you will be able to tighten your hypothesis into something more meaningful. For instance, you may find that it is much easier to understand someone in similar circumstances to Joseph that it is a contemporary of Haworth because they have to communicate with a much wider audience than Joseph did.
Once you have a working argument for your article, you need to research it. can you see how getting focussed early on saves you time? The reason for this is that you will not be reading through reams of irrelevant documents or spending hours on original research that has no bearing to your article.
Let’s stay with the idea that you want to compare Joseph’s dialect with that of builders’ labourers that were born and grew up in Haworth in the present day. You need to explore your research options. These could be:
Once you have got a working question or hypothesis for your argument and collected your evidence, you need plan it. This means working to a structure that will create a strong logical argument. To do this, you need to include:
Writing and researching an article can be inspiring but it is essential that while you are researching it that you make a note of all the sources that you use whether primary or secondary. Also, make sure that if you use anyone else’s theories that you mention them by name and also the paper that you are referring to. You also need to provide a full bibliography so that your readers can follow up on any interesting journals or books that may have inspired you. This way you can avoid any accusations of plagiarism that would surely take all the pleasure out of finishing your article.
One of the main problems when writing an article is procrastination when it comes to actually writing it. If you have followed the steps in this article so far, you may not suffer from it because procrastination usually comes from not knowing what to write. In other words, writers get blocked because their ideas aren’t fully formed. However, if you have taken all the steps as advised but then you feel that you have come to a standstill, you may need to give yourself a push.
Go for a brisk walk and while you are walking along record yourself talking about your article on your ‘phone. Don’t worry about sounding silly, just do it. It will give you confidence once you realise just how much you know about your subject. Also, exercise helps us to think more clearly.
When you get back, get a notebook out or open a file and make a list of everything you want to put in your introduction. After that, make a list of everything that you want to put in your first point. Continue this pattern through each point right up to your conclusion.
Open the file that you are going to write your article in and tell yourself out loud that you only have to write the first three sentences of your introduction. Do not let yourself do anything, not even surfing or listening to music, until this is done. In essence, you have to sit there doing absolutely nothing. You will be amazed how you suddenly start writing and the chances are that you will write much more than the first three sentences once you get into full flow.
If you have run out of time and you are worried that you will suffer from procrastination again, you should stop writing mid-sentence. The reason for this is that the brain likes to finish jobs. If you don’t finish that sentence it will keep nagging at you until you start writing again. This is a tried and tested technique that many novelists use.
Writing English language articles is not easy. However, after reading this article on how to do it, you will be ready to start thinking about your topic. The problem is that sometimes we only have so much time and so much energy. If either of these are scarce, you may wish to consider getting help.
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