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Glossary of academic words used in titles.

HEAT Stage 1: Understanding the assignment and getting started.

1.2 Glossary of academic words used in titles


Account for Give reasons for: explain why something happens.
Analyse Examine something in very close detail and from a number of angles. Identify the important points and chief features, and understand their relationships.
Argue Present a case for and against a proposal or statement and present your own opinion at the end.
Compare Show how two or more things are similar.
Contrast Look at two or more things and draw out differences. State whether the differences are significant.
Critically evaluate Weigh arguments for and against something, assess the strength of evidence on both sides.
Define Give the exact meaning of.
Describe Give a detailed account of the main features or characteristics ...
Discuss Write about the most important characteristics of something. Give arguments for and against, look at it from a variety of perspectives.
Distinguish Identify the differences between two items.
Evaluate Assess the worth or usefulness of something. Use evidence to support your opinion.
Examine Look at something in detail. You may be expected to 'critically evaluate' it as well.
Explain Make it clear why something happens or why it is the way it is.
Identify Recognise name and briefly describe something.
Illustrate Use examples to further explain or justify something. Could be visual or verbal.
Interpret Explain the meaning or significance of information or data that you are presenting.
Justify Provide evidence that supports an argument or idea.
Outline Give only the main points, show only the main structure.
Prove Present evidence in a logical structure to support an argument for a point of view.
Relate (Two meanings)

1. Show how ideas / theories/ events etc are linked or connected.

2. Tell a story. Explain something in a narrative fashion.

Review Survey and comment on the key aspects of something or a range of things.
State Give the main features clearly and simply.
Summarise Draw out the main points, omitting detail and examples.
To what extent… How far is something true, or contributes to a final outcome. Also how far is it not true? In academic writing the answer is usually somewhere in the middle.
Trace Describe the development of something; follow the order of different stages in an event or process.

Adapted from Cottrell.S.(2003) The Study Skills Handbook. Basingstoke. Palgrave.



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