Systematic treatment of names and titles

We are delighted to have recently published the first titles in our Critical Study Skills series. The extract below is taken from Academic Writing and Referencing for your Nursing Degree by Jane Bottomley and Steven Pryjmachuk


In nursing, you will often be required to refer to the names of medical conditions, such as ‘malaria’ or ‘Parkinson’s disease’, and to the titles of professional organisations, such as the National Health Service or the Nursing and Midwifery Council. When referring to these, it is important to establish the conventions regarding the use of capitalisation.

  • Most diseases and conditions are not capitalised, eg malaria, deep vein thrombosis, obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • Diseases and conditions named after an individual capitalise the name, eg Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • The titles of organisations are capitalised, eg the National Health Service.

Many conditions and organisations are also known by their acronyms. An acronym is the short form of a multi-word name, usually formed using the first letter of each word, eg:

  • deep vein thrombosis (DVT);
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD);
  • the National Health Service (NHS);
  • the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Often, people are more familiar with the acronym than the name, sometimes to the extent that they can be a little hazy on what it actually stands for!

In your writing, it is important to be systematic in your use of names and acronyms. The rule in academic writing is very simple: when you mention a term for the first time, you should use the full name, with the acronym following immediately in parenthesis; after this, you should always use the acronym. The following example demonstrates this clearly.

Lower extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the most frequent venous thromboembolism (VTE) observed in hospitalised patients (Nutescu, 2007). One of the important and well-known risk factors of DVT development is surgery. If there are additional risk factors in a patient undergoing a surgical operation, the risk of DVT is increased even further (Geerts et al. 2012).

(Ayhan et al, 2015: 2246)

Systematic use of names and acronyms adds to the flow and coherence of the text.

Note that acronyms are different from abbreviations, which are formed by shortening a word, eg:

  • approx (approximately);
  • etc (from the Latin ‘et cetera’, meaning ‘and so on’).

The fact that something has been abbreviated is often indicated by the full stop at the end (approx. etc.), but this is often omitted (as in this book, for example). The important thing is to be consistent.

Read more about this book and other titles in the series here.

Foundations of reading- the final extract

We’re all happy its Friday but we’re also SO GUTTED that today is the last day of extracts from Carol Hayesnew book.


We’ve saved the best for last so enjoy!


When you are reading critically it is important to distinguish whether what the writer is saying is fact or opinion. Sometimes this is hard to ascertain but consider the following and try to decide whether it is fact or opinion.

LLC 1 extract 260216

This is more difficult and could fall into both camps, as it depends upon your definition of the word ‘good’in this context. If you are saying that Letters and Sounds  receive Government support as a ‘good’ way to teach reading, this may well be fact. However if you are saying that most teachers consider it to be good for their children, this is opinion.

LLC 2 extract 260216

You can see from this that critical reading requires a different approach to that of reading a novel or a magazine. You need to actively engage with the text in a sustained manner, to learn from it rather than simply be entertained by it.

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Development of Writing- the penultimate extract from Carol Hayes’ new book.


Oh Thursday has come around so quickly and it genuinely saddens me to have to say that this is the penultimate extract from Carol Hayes’ book ‘Language, Literacy and Communication‘.

Each chapter in the book is filled with diagrams, case studies and points of reflection to encourage and promote critical thinking- this extract is a good example of this.

Critical Questions

With a colleague consider the following.

LLC extract 250216

  • Look at the picture below by Lewis, aged 3 years 5 months. What do you think you can learn about Lewis’ stage of development from studying this?
  • Can you guess what Lewis feels is the value of having recorded this?
  • What kind of setting/environment do you think would encourage this type of communication?
  • What do you think this child understands about writing at this stage?


Lewis is at a pre-schematic stage, when there are connections between the circles and lines that make up the drawing. There is a clear attempt to communicate an idea. In this case he has gone beyond the basic ‘tadpole’ shape or ‘head-feet’ symbol. Interestingly in this case he has omitted the arms and this is common at this stage (Jolley, 2006). It could be that his preoccupation is still with the face, which is quite detailed, including ears.

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Learning difficulties- free extract number 2

Enjoy the second extract from Carol Hayes’ book ‘Language, Literacy & Communication‘.


Case Study


Lewis was six years of age and the youngest of three boys. Two of them learned to read quickly and apparently effortlessly, but Lewis could not understand what all these shapes on the page really meant. In school the teacher was found him ‘hard work’ as he had become the class ‘clown’, distracting other children, noisy and inattentive. Lewis spent most of the day on his own with a craft or drawing activity (which was the only thing that he appeared to be good at). The other children were surged ahead, but as he found reading so difficult most of the traditional school subjects began to leave him behind. Colouring and craft kept him occupied, but really what Lewis wanted was to be able to read.

At night Lewis sneaked a torch into his bedroom and when his mother put out the light he would get out a book, and under the covers would surreptitiously try to make sense of the words in front of him. Often he ended up crying himself to sleep, having found the task just too difficult.

Critical questions

Lewis’ experiences are in line with many children that have dyslexia, now consider the following questions:

  • How do you think this made Lewis feel?
  • What effect do you think this had on his social / emotional development?
  • How could this have influenced his life choices and experiences?
  • What do you think would have helped Lewis and his family at the time?
  • How could the teacher have made Lewis’ experience in the classroom more stimulating and challenging?

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A Free Extract of our New Book!


Usually Mondays aren’t something to be celebrated.

BUT today is.

It’s a brand new year and to commemorate this wonderful milestone we have a week of extracts from Gill Butler’s ‘Observing Children and Families’.

We have received nothing but positive and inspiring feedback so stay tuned this week! We’ll be sure to keep you intrigued by picking some exciting, but not too exciting (you’ll have to buy the book for the really good stuff) snippets from this awfully good text.

In this first extract, Gill explains the importance of understanding how we see others.

In order to be fully attuned, we also need to have some understanding of ourselves and, most importantly, the ‘lens’ through which we see others. This ‘lens’ describes the way we each see and understand the world; it is made up from our conscious and unconscious experiences; our values, beliefs, memories and expectations. The ‘lens’ is the filter of our assumptions about others and how we think they should behave based on our own experience and individual view. When we observe others we expect to see them behave in certain ways and we measure their experience by our own. For example, observing a young baby crying may be experienced by the observer as a reaction to their presence in the room; the assumption being that the baby’s behaviour may be linked to them. There could be all sorts of other reasons for the baby to cry and careful reflection and analysis may help the observer to understand this behaviour; just like understanding why the birds are singing. It is important to note that sometimes this ‘understanding’ of others can be elusive and we are left not knowing (Bion 1962) why a certain behaviour or feeling has been experienced. As we saw in the previous chapter, this state of not knowing and uncertainty is an important part of the process of understanding children’s experience.

Her approachable and accessible tone is only one of the few reasons this text is so worthwhile.

See our website for details and we’ll be posting tomorrow with another extract for you.

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Developing vocabulary through active engagement

Here is the first of three extracts from our primary title Beyond Early Reading by David Waugh and Sally Neaum to give you a taste of the content and the approach. Let us know what you think.

International perspective

The activities described above involve developing vocabulary through active engagement and through incidental learning. They offer a range of different ways to draw children’s attention to vocabulary, just as those described later in the chapter do. Consider the findings of the National Reading Panel in the USA as you reflect on them and read about further classroom activities. The Panel summed up research on vocabulary development by citing nine implications for reading instruction.

  1. Vocabulary should be taught both directly and indirectly.
  2. Repetition and multiple exposures to vocabulary items are important.
  3. Learning in rich contexts is valuable for vocabulary learning.
  4. Vocabulary tasks should be restructured when necessary.
  5. Vocabulary learning should entail active engagement in learning tasks.
  6. Computer technology can be used to help teach vocabulary.
  7. Vocabulary can be acquired through incidental learning.
  8. How vocabulary is assessed and evaluated can have differential effects on instruction.
  9. Dependence on a single vocabulary instruction method will not result in optimal learning.

(National Reading Panel, 2000 , 4–27)

Activity 2

Focus, in particular, on the fifth point in the panel’s findings above. What kind of activities might engage children’s interest? How might some of the other points be drawn upon to enable this to happen; for example through use of computer technology?

Bunting ( 2000 ) makes numerous suggestions for activities and word games that have the potential to engage children’s Interest and develop their vocabularies. These include exploring words from other languages that have become part of the English lexicon such as yoghurt , tobacco , menu , bungalow , anorak and mosquito . To these we might add a number of words that are so commonly used now that many won’t be aware that they were unheard of by some of our grandparents. Names of foods from other countries, in particular, become common parlance and include pizza , pasta , spaghetti , masala , paella , tacos , fajitas , kebab and sushi . By exploring such words, children can begin to understand that grapheme–phoneme correspondences vary around the world and that when learning another language they need to be aware of this.

Bunting also suggests word games such as inventing onomatopoeic words for everyday sounds, giving the example of the noise a shower makes as it starts. We might add our own ideas such as creating words for the sounds of the following:

  • windscreen wipers going back and forth;
  • a mobile phone ringing;
  • a glass breaking;
  • an aircraft flying overhead;
  • children on the playground.

Another of Bunting’s ideas that may appeal to children who have watched programmes like Eastenders, The Only Way is Essex and Only Fools and Horses , is the creation of new rhyming slang. Cockney rhyming slang, which was originally used so that locals could disguise their (sometimes dishonest) activities from outsiders, has spread as people outside London have watched films and television. Phrases include:

  •  read for money (bread and honey – money);
  • donkey’s for years (donkey’s ears – years);
  • loaf for head (loaf of bread – head);
  • rabbit for talk (rabbit and pork – talk).

Rhyming slang is not restricted to east London: it can be found around the world. Children could create their own rhyming slang and in doing so explore rhyme and vocabulary.

Click here for details of  Beyond Early Reading by David Waugh and Sally Neaum