English Language Center: ELCA 12 and 22: Academic Reading & Writing

This guide has been created to assist students enrolled in ELCA 12 & 22.

Tips for Academic Reading

Reading academic literature for the first time can be tricky, below are a few tips for how to go about it:

  1. What is the purpose for reading? This will help you decide if scanning the text for specific information is appropriate or if a full and deliberate read is required. 
  2. Consider the authors purpose for writing the piece. 
  3. Consider what you already know about the topic. Annotating the text will help you keep track of new and relevant information. 
  4. Reread difficult parts of the text and define your own vocabulary list if necessary. 

Writing a Research Paper

Research is like a conversation. There are many different voices and authors that contribute to the discourse, or discussion. By writing a paper, you the student, are adding your voice to the discourse. It's import to understand how ideas are presented and relate within academic writing in order to contribute to the conversation. There are certain standards and expectations in each academic field on what a paper should look like and contain. It is important to understand what these are in your chosen topic/field as you begin your writing journey. 

Steps to the typical research project: 

  1. Choose your topic
  2. Choose your search terms
  3. Identify a problem
  4. Choose your research question
  5. Refine your search terms, and create a research design and strategy


What is a source? 

A source is material that contains information for your research. This can be a first hand account (primary) or a second hand account (secondary). If you have having trouble understanding the difference, click the link below. 

Annotated Bibliographies VS Literature Reviews

An annotated bibliography is a type of evaluation of sources. It is a list of citations followed by a short description on relevancy and quality of the item. 


A literature review is a collection of important sources. It discusses major themes, voices, and arguments that focus on your research topic and research question. 

These sources can be discussed and summarized through a chronological, thematic, methodological, or theoretical layout. 


Your professors may require that you include scholarly journal articles in your research.  A scholarly article is an article that is written by a scholar, or professional. Many scholarly articles must be peer-reviewed in order to be published by a credible journal. 

When an article has been peer-reviewed, the information has been vetted and validated by the peers of the author in that area of study. This helps ensure that information is valid. 

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