Creating cohesion in your writing

In order for a reader to understand a piece of academic text it is important that the writer has made the text hold together well, in a fluid and readable way. This means using cohesive devices to make sure that the argument and the logical links between points and ideas are clear to the reader. There are various ways to achieve cohesion in your academic writing.

The words and phrases highlighted in bold in the text below have a cohesive function:

The current study examines students' use of Portable Electronic Dictionaries (PEDs) in the English Language Classroom, and EFL/ESL teachers' attitudes towards such usage. The study was inspired by the writer's perception, based on working as an English Language Teacher in a variety of contexts, that many EFL practitioners disliked or mistrusted this type of electronic aid, and felt unhappy with students using them in class. In one UK Further Education College where the writer has worked, their use is formally banned in class. At this institution the same rule bans students' use of mobile phones in class, suggesting that PEDs are seen by college staff as having the same status as phones in being distractions which offer students the opportunity to disengage from the work of the class. Similarly, in conversations with other teachers the writer felt that the predominant view of PEDs was a negative one. However, in contrast, the use of conventional paper-based dictionaries is often seen to be something to encourage. The perception seemed almost to be that a student who brought a PED to class was open to being distracted, while bringing a paper-dictionary to class was the mark of a Good Language Learner (Naiman et al., 1978).

It is important to think about the reader of your academic written work and their understanding of it. For this reason, you should actively look for ways to improve the cohesion, and therefore the clarity, of your essays while you are writing them.

SOURCE: Open University 2011

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