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Definitions and examples of common instruction words used in academic English

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Transcript

COMMONinstruction words

ANALYSE

argue

compare

CONTRAST

describe

discuss

evaluate

Explain

CRITIQUE

DEFINE

ANALYSE

Illustrate

interpret

investigate

Justify

outline

summarise

synthesise

Analyse

To examine (something) methodically and in detail, in order to explain and interpret it. Analysis helps solve problems and show trends.ExamplesHaving analysed the data, it was possible to determine the average rainfall of London.The catering manager analysed the sales of chocolate bars at each food outlet in the university and concluded that more sales are made in the library.

Argue

To give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, with the aim of persuading others to share one's viewExamplesParacha (2023) argues that more chocolate bars are sold in the library because students want quick, cheap, energy-boosting food whilst studying.Domki (2024) argues that a special offer on Mars Bars accounts for increase sales in chocolate at some food outlets.

Compare

To estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity betweenExamplesThe number of Mars Bars sold in the library compared to the number sold in the Touchdown cafe suggests that students are more likely to snack when concentrating on their studies.When comparing the sales figures for chocolate across all food outlets, the catering manager decided to increase the number of products at the library.

Contrast

To highlight the differences between two things:ExamplesGabol (2022) contrasts the behaviour of bears in their natural habitat with that of bears in zoos and concludes that bears are more content when they have large areas to roam.Mirwani (2020) contrasts salt intake between men and women in the UK and concludes that there is no significant difference.

Critique

To undertake a detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theoryExamplesIn a critique of Shakespeare's history plays, Banerjee (2024) concludes that Shakespeare's historical sources were inaccurate.This chapter will critique Pierre Bourdieu's theory of social capital in relation to working-class leisure.

Define

what is meant by a word, text, concept, or actionExamplesJoshi (2024) defines health inequalities as the structural, social, cultural and economic barriers to achieving good health outcomes.The first quarter of the twenty-first century has been defined by climate change, economic instability and war.

Describe

To give a detailed account in words of:ExamplesAkinyemi (2024) describes the biodiversity of Nigeria, focussing on the rich ecosystems of the mango swamps of the Niger Delta. Patient X described an intense feeling of nausea after taking antibiotics.

Discuss

To write about (a topic) in detail, taking into account different issues or ideas.ExamplesIn this essay, the use of language in business communications will be discussed looking at both verbal and written communication.A broader discussion about the use of microplastics and their impact on the environment is needed within the manufacturing industry considering both the needs but also the anxieties of consumers.

Evaluate

To form an idea of the amount, number, or value of; to assess.ExamplesIn order to evaluate the research undertaken by Chen (2020) on the impact of microplastics on marine wildlife, it is important to consider the environment in which this research was conducted and the relatively small sample size.Any evaluation of student engagement with library resources across subjects should consider the mode of delivery of the module. For courses delivered remotely, engagement with print resources will be less.

Examine

To consider an idea thoroughly in order to determine its relevance or importance.ExamplesThis essay will examine the importance of routines when studying looking at the role that sleep, exercise, and physical environment play on student attainment.Mansouri (2021) examines the impact of daylight on mood arguing that light boxes can be effective during the winter.

Explain

To make (an idea or situation) clear to someone by describing it in more detail or revealing relevant factsExamplesThe late night opening hours of the library may explain why more chocolate bars are sold in these vending machines than other places on campus.In this chapter, the reasons for adopting this methodological approach will be explained in more detail.

Illustrate

To explain or make something clear by using examples, charts, pictures, pr additional context.ExamplesThe number of patients over the age of 50 taking blood pressure tablets is illustrated in Graph 1.The bar chart below illustrates how the time of the day can impact on student attendance at lectures.

Interpret

To explain the meaning of (information or actions); to perform (a dramatic role or piece of music) in a way that conveys one's understanding of the creator's ideasExamplesHaddad (2024) argues that water companies should establish customer focus groups to enable them to interpret water usage patterns more effectively.The drama society's interpretation of Hamlet focussed strongly on religious tensions in the early modern period.

Investigate

To carry out research or study into (a subject or problem, typically one in a scientific or academic field).ExamplesThe relationship between early years education and secondary school attainment was investigated by a team of researchers at the University of Elysium.In this chapter, the correlation between poor diet and bad cholesterol will be investigated looking at research undertaken in urban areas.

Justify

To show or prove to be right or reasonable.ExamplesSaretzki (2021) justifies her position on global warming by arguing that the weight of evidence that has been gathered in the last ten years strongly indicates that we are in a state of climate emergency.Nkosi (2020) has tried to justify the use of plastic packaging in manufacturing by focussing on its role in reducing contamination and food waste, but there is little evidence to support his position.

Outline

To provide a general description or plan showing the essential features of something but not the detail.ExamplesThis chapter outlines the major factors impacting the global banking industry and these will be considered in more detail in subsequent chapters.The discussion section will provide indepth analysis of the main points outlined in the introduction.

Summarise

To give a brief statement of the main points of (something) usually after the points have been argued.ExamplesTo summarise, afer weighing up the evidence, the scheduling of lectures in the morning or afternoon had little impact on student attainment.To summarise, meteorologists have concluded that hurricanes hardly happen in Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, but this does not mean they never happen.

Synthesise

To combine components or elements to form a connected whole. They bring arguments together to bring a new unified idea.ExamplesThe synthesis of diverse customer feedback led to an innovative solution for the company.Having synthesized the research findings of ten studies, the author concludes that more research is needed into unexplained second trimester miscarriages to better support healthcare professionals.

COMMONMISTAKES

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  • Generate experiences with your content.
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  • Generate experiences with your content.
  • It’s got the Wow effect. Very Wow.
  • Make sure your audience remembers the message.
  • Activate and surprise your audience.

Create a new layer with all the Genially features.

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  • Generate experiences with your content.
  • It’s got the Wow effect. Very Wow.
  • Make sure your audience remembers the message.
  • Activate and surprise your audience.

Create a new layer with all the Genially features.

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  • Generate experiences with your content.
  • It’s got the Wow effect. Very Wow.
  • Make sure your audience remembers the message.
  • Activate and surprise your audience.

Create a new layer with all the Genially features.

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  • Generate experiences with your content.
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  • Make sure your audience remembers the message.
  • Activate and surprise your audience.

Create a new layer with all the Genially features.

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  • Generate experiences with your content.
  • It’s got the Wow effect. Very Wow.
  • Make sure your audience remembers the message.
  • Activate and surprise your audience.

Create a new layer with all the Genially features.

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  • Generate experiences with your content.
  • It’s got the Wow effect. Very Wow.
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  • Activate and surprise your audience.

Create a new layer with all the Genially features.

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Got an idea?