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Correct Language for Assignment in Social Work

(12 Posts)
suchafuss Tue 17-Nov-15 21:19:06

Just got my fist assignment back and have been pulled up on four terms that I have used and cannot for the life of me understand why. They are all used in context but include 'afresh' 'chiming' 'loath' and 'in situ'.

Afresh as in a new or different way
Chiming as in 'Chiming with previous studies....'
Loath 'making children loath to disclose abuse where their abuser is still in situ.'

I am really surprised but know that the lecturer is new to the University and I suspect to degree level work. Am I right in thinking the language was appropriate and does anyone have any suggestions?

cashewnutty Tue 17-Nov-15 21:29:10

I am a social worker and have never used those terms in either academic work or in work reports. They are not terribly academic words. Children tend to be reluctant or unable to disclose rather than loathe. The abuser is not in situ but still residing in the home or part of the family. Chiming doesn't seem right. Maybe in line with previous studies or reflecting previous studies. you have already come up with another way of saying afresh. Instead of thinking of fancy ways to say things you need to keep your terms simple and easy to understand. This will serve you well in using plain English when writing reports.

suchafuss Tue 17-Nov-15 21:42:07

Totally take on board what you are saying and agree. However the exercise was to summarise an article and so needed different words/ways of saying things. The words may not be in common use but when trying to get word count down and avoid plagerism i felt they were ok.

MultishirkingAgain Tue 17-Nov-15 22:01:33

Well, your grammar and usage are incorrect and/or clumsy.

Chiming as in 'Chiming with previous studies' is a clumsy expression: I'd put a pen through it if I read it in one of my student's essays. "Chiming in" is moving towards the colloquial, and lacks precision in a scholarly context.

"In situ" is a very odd usage to apply to a person.

"loath" might better be "reluctant."

From the examples you give, you're using rather colloquial language overall - it reads more like reported speech or conversation, rather than formal analytical prose.

And so on. I think you need to learn from your lecturer's comments on your written work, rather than imply they don't know what they're doing.

And good writing is good writing, whatever the discipline.

Stillunexpected Tue 17-Nov-15 22:37:36

If this is your first assignment, then surely it is not only the lecturer who is new to the university but also you who are new to this university/course? I am surprised that your first thought seems to be that the lecturer got it wrong, rather than thinking that perhaps he/she is correct.

For what it's worth, I know nothing about social work, my degree - a million years ago - was in Journalism, and the phrases you have used, if you continued the assignment in that vein, come across as flowery and like someone who is trying too hard to make their assignment something "special" to read, rather than just concentrating on a concise summary of events in simple English.

suchafuss Tue 17-Nov-15 22:52:29

No not new to uni, swopped after first year sociology/psych and was averaging high 70's and one was a 90.

cashewnutty Wed 18-Nov-15 06:33:50

I think the change of subject might be an issue here. I did a psychology degree before I did my social work qualification and found I had to adjust my writing style.

I learned quickly to work out what each individual lecturer liked and what their writing style was, then tried to ensure I wrote in a way that gathered maximum marks from them.

suchafuss Wed 18-Nov-15 07:39:47

Cashew thank you that does make more sense to me.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Wed 18-Nov-15 07:44:39

There's absolutely nothing wrong with your grammar or use of English, so I'd agree with Cashew, that unfortunately, language can be a very subjective thing and you'll quickly work out what each lecturer wants in the assignments!

Good luck!

MultishirkingAgain Wed 18-Nov-15 07:50:55

It's a matter of finding the appropriate register and tone. It's not all "subjective" or about what each lecturer wants. This makes it sound as though there's no material content there for you to learn about professional; and scholarly writing. Which is not true.

I always advise students to observe how those they are reading express themselves, as well as the content/data of what they're saying. So as you do your research for each essay, try to note how the experts you're reading express themselves, as well as taking notes on the content.

JeanneDeMontbaston Wed 18-Nov-15 09:54:15

I'd be 'chiming in' rather than 'chiming', I think, and I agree it's too colloquial. But I think multi is right - it's a matter of learning what the appropriate register and tone for this subject is, and that'll be different from other subjects you've studied previously. On this board, I've noticed before that different academics will give very different advice depending on what they teach (always use "I" for personal opinions/never use "I" in an academic essay; always write in the passive/never write in the passive). It's just to do with knowing the subject and what's required.

suchafuss Mon 21-Dec-15 22:28:38

Just to update the university are looking the issue of marking/feedback from this assignment due to a number of issues raised re quality so perhaps my concerns re the lecturer were justified.

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