The Science Of Scientific Writing    Set 2     Set 2 - Indicator words : 3 types of Indicators : Example : Exercise 1 : Exercise 2 : Exercise 3 : Exercise 4 : Exercise 5 : Exercise 6 : Final page Set 2.

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OVERVIEW: The way to well-written science

How to do the Course


PART I: Paragraphs and Sentences...

SET 1: The Parts of Arguments

SET 2: Indicator Words

SET 3: Refining Claims

SET 4: Locating Arguments in Prose

SET 5: Rationale's Essay Planner

SET 6: Assessing

SET 7 : More on Assessing

Set 2- Indicator words

Suppose you're driving your car in an unfamiliar city.  Isn't it helpful when there are large, clear signs to help you find your way about? Even if you've never been in that city before, those signs let you know where you are, and what lane you need to be in to get where you're going.Well expressed arguments have helpful 'signposts' too.  These are a special kind of words called 'indicators'.  Indicator words are clues that help us to identify the various parts of arguments: the position, reasons, and objections.

They fit within a larger category of "navigational" words and text used in all types of writing, called metadiscourse, that is writing that discusses itself. Simple words and phrases like first, next, in regard to, and in conclusion are all non-argumentative metadiscourse. But in long, complicated texts, metadiscourse may involve entire sentences, paragraphs or even a whole chapter! For example, consider a review article that begins like this:

"This review will cover three broad areas of current research. First, we will focus on....

In the text above there is no content that directly relates to "three broad areas", whatever they are. The writer is just kindly providing a map of what is to follow, so the reader does not get lost. Good writers are always conscious of the navigational difficulties a reader might face and they will often go to great lengths to reduce them.

Simple linear text is actually naturally difficult to navigate, and various other ways of overcoming its limitations have also evolved, such as the use of diagrams and hyperlinking in HTML documents.

Set 2 will show you how to identify the indicator words used in a written argument, and how to use these 'signposts' when you convert the text to an argument map. For the reverse process, converting a map to text, Set 2 will demonstrate how important it is to add in indicator words if we want our text to be as easily grasped as a map.

Skills and key concepts




Content of this page drawn in whole or part from the Austhink Rationale Exercises with permission from Austhink .