The present manual offers a selected number of issues that students need to deal with when working with articles and other scientific literature on professionally related topics. Students of the Information Technologies department are required to read a specific amount of scientific texts each semester depending on students English language proficiency and the number of the academic semester. When presenting such tasks to the teacher students are to demonstrate the following: first of all, the teachers need to familiarise themselves with the original texts where the preference is given to the native speakers of the English language as the authors, leaving the possibility for the collective works with the participation of native speakers. Secondly, the student chooses an extract usually making up to one third of the original text size for translation from English into Russian. Finally, the student prepares a summary restating the main points of the whole source text. When working on such assignments students often are faced with the problem of formulating their ideas in the appropriate form reflecting the presupposed parts of the summary, and showing the command of tools necessary for clear grammar, structure and other aspects of written language. Moreover, the structure of the summary itself is rather strict and students should master this format. It is worth noting that English and Russian are completely different in the way information is organised into paragraphs and phrased in sentences. Students who tend to copy the text from the original also do not show the improvement in their academic writing skills, and as a rule such works are returned for revision.
A few words about the structure and the content of the manual. In each part students will get introduced to some difficulties when dealing with various aspects of writing in general and academic writing in particular. The author did not set the main goal as to deal with all the difficulties and problems when writing. The author wanted to focus on some issues from various areas in order to show the problems students are facing when writing and most importantly when preparing summaries as the part of their obligatory tasks dealing with reading and translating scientific articles. The manual consists of several parts, here you can find the short description of each of them with the enumeration of issues under consideration. The author tried to focus on the issues that cause most difficulties when students are asked to work with scientific articles for the first time during their initial years at university. In addition several tests were added to pin point the issues that cause most problems among students to diagnose them beforehand and add or exclude specific exercises within the section.
- the Grammar section deals with aspects that make understanding difficult, it is assumed that at the stage when students are offered to choose scientific articles for reading and translation they already have no basic grammar problems, such as subject and verb agreement, tenses confusion, not telling the difference between parts of speech, general rules for articles usage, etc. Here are the main aspects under consideration in the grammar section: adjectives and adverbs confusion; nouns that can be both plural and singular; complete and incomplete sentences;
- the Punctuation section is aimed at some most common issues of using punctuation marks, because these types of rules tend to be avoided in general consideration of writing as a whole. Here the aim is not to consider all the punctuation issues, but just to show that this area is worth clarifying. The questions discussed are the following: full stops; commas; colons;
- the Vocabulary section mostly serves the purpose of words differentiation when dealing with confusing words. It is worth mentioning again that the author did not set as the goal for this chapter to show all the problematic words only the ones often used in various types of writing be it general or academic. In this part you can find the following: accept/except/expect; affect/effect; it's/its; quite/quiet; there/their/they're;
- the Structure section includes the aspects connected with helping to organise ones ideas in such way that the message of the whole text is clear and the main points are set apart. The important aspects focusing on the summary structure are also included into this section helping to write well-developed thesis and topic sentences. Here are the main ideas dealt with in this part: ProCeSs (process, content, structure) - in general; keep your sentences short; use one idea per sentence;
- the Quotation section helps to include indirect speech into the writing.
- the Summary section tells about the specific type of academic writhing of which bases one needs to apply all the information presented in the previous sections.
- the Abstract section introduces one more type of academic writing, which can come in handy for students at the time working with this manual or on later stages.