Advanced Academic Study and Writing

Learning Goal: I’m working on a business writing question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Please PFA

Write a problem-solution paragraph on a topic related to your field of study (this may be related to an assignment or a discussion question from a concurrent course if applicable.

Reading: Unit 3, pages 101-114

Tasks: 1(#s 2-7), 3, 4


  • Answers may vary.
  • See table below.
Sections Points being discussed

Sentences 1-3

Clear communication is important in biomedical research.

Sentences 4-10

Writing is a daunting task and many shy away from it. Novices lack experience.

Sentences 11

Writing instruction is needed and will help.

Sentences 12-13

If researchers can write, they can participate in the ongoing activity of the field.
  • The point in the opening sentence would apply to all academic fields, so the fact that it was made about Biomedicine is not that important. It is hard to imagine that anyone would disagree with the opinion that clear communication is important, so this is a good starting point.
  • Answers may vary, but Sentence 7 is something that everyone can agree on.
  • The answers are A, C, and D.
  • Authors are sure about their stance, especially the importance of writing. More space was given to the problem, but nothing concrete about the solution(s).
  • The answers and A and C.
  • Answers will vary.


  • carefully applied
  • briefly
  • usually/generally
  • greatly
  • typically
  • regularly/repeatedly
  • periodically
  • largely


Situation: Sentence 1
Problem: Sentence 3
Solution: Sentence 9
Evaluation: Sentence 10
  • Dividing at Sentence 8 (S8) or before Sentence 5 (S5).
  • Answers will vary.
  • Time expressions: early examinations (S3), as long ago as (S6), more recently (S7), new data (S8), now suggests (S8), more accurately than previously believed (S8), and further research is necessary (S11).
  • Answers will vary.
  • Answers will vary.


This is a “classic” P-S text that is technical in nature and focused on the “real-world”.

  • The situation and problem are presented in the first paragraph because the situation does not require a lot of explanation.
  • nets are erected → water droplets of the fog are collected by the nets → water flows from the nets to troughs → water flows through filters into storage tanks → water is chemically treated → water flows to households
  • Present tense is used because this is a repeatable process.
  • Passive contractions: are attached, is designed, are trapped, is then piped, is chemically treated. The use of passive voice keeps the focus on the process.
  • The adverbs approximately, then, and chemically are in mid-position; “Finally” is used in sentence-initial position. Same as “Unfortunately”.
  • Sentence 4: this lack of rainfall and Sentence 14: this collection system ((both occur near the end of their respective paragraphs)

Sentence 6: this problem (restates the water problem introduced in the previous paragraph)

Sentence 20: this viable alternative technology (a summary phrase).

  • The presentation of the solution is simply expressed.
  • This is a positive-negative approach; not the usual approach in journal articles, but it is good to be aware of such style.
  • The article could use more details. Suggested answers: a, b, h, i, j, and k.
  • A new paragraph could be added after the description of the process. Adding this paragraph would also necessitate a change in the first sentence of the final paragraph to ensure good flow.
  • The information about cost could be added between S15 and S16.
  • Answers will vary.


  • The authors assume that their readers know some knowledge or are familiar with fog.
  • Similarities: a result of the content; there has to be an overlap in terminology / Differences: the amount and kind of detail
  • Both are in the present tense; the points about the efficiency of the system are in the past tense since they are only true for the system on El Tofo mountain.
  • In everyday English, this would be non-count–no plural form; however, this text talks about different kinds of fog, so we can expect a plural form, so “fog” is countable.
  • Some examples: in the simplest terms, depends on…and nature of…, collected by a simple…process, the point of use, etc.
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