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AWA: Academic Writing at Auckland

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The types of papers in AWA are explained here:



Explanations describe, explain or inform us about an object, situation, event, theory, process, technique etc. You show you understand and can explain a topic clearly.

Essays develop an independent argument supported by clear, logical ideas and evidence. There are 3 sub-types:

         Analysis essays build a position and argument by critically analysing an object of study through the lens of broader concepts.

         Argument essays state a position, usually in the Introduction, and develop and support this with evidence. They often introduce and           refute counter-arguments.

         Discussion essays use a range of evidence, views, theories, findings etc. to develop a position, which is usually stated in the         conclusion.

Evaluations help us understand the value or significance of an object of study - a book, film, article, performance, theory, technique, design, business, product, material, cultural artefact etc.

Literature surveys provide an overview of the relevant research on a topic. They are often used to build towards a larger research project, such as a research report or a dissertation. There are 3 sub-types:

          Annotated bibliographies are a list of sources on a topic, usually with the reference details for each source as a heading, and with    brief comments on the methods and value of the research in each source.

          Research methods reviews review research on a topic, focusing on the methods used in the research ie. the way the research was   conducted.

          Literature reviews survey the existing research on a topic to find gaps as a way to lead into a new research project.

Research methods reports help students understand experimental techniques and the ways findings are made in the subjects. There are various types - eg. lab / experiment / field / data analysis reports.

Research Reports report research you carried out, and they show your familiarity with the way research is done in the subject.  Literature surveys and research methods reports are often used as preparation steps or as part of the research report.

Problem Questions consider a problem and focuses on the best solution by applying theory and methods from the discipline. These tasks are usually found in Law.

Case Studies often consider real-life situations, and the relevant social & economic contexts of that situation.  They often identify a problem and recommend future action.

Proposals focus on the planning stage of problem solving. They often define a problem and identify and justify a solution. They include policy reports, marketing and research proposals, which are often used in 3rd year, to simulate planning for a research project.

Designs are key tasks in technical, scientific and applied subjects, such as Engineering or Architecture. The writer creates and evaluates an original solution, often to a real-world issue requiring a practical solution. Design papers often include the purpose, the design itself (with technical data support) and the way the design meets specifications.

Public Writing helps you communicate academic knowledge to the general public – eg. letters, newspaper articles, expert advice columns, reports to policy makers. They are often found in Life Sciences, such as Population Health.

Narratives can be recounts of historical events or personal experiences. They can include ethnographies, reflections on personal experiences and progress made in a project or in skills development.

Creative Writing includes drama scripts, poetry, comics, stories and writing mimicking another writer’s style.