Professor Pedantic 教授的考究學問
The professor awaits your query on academic writing, though in all honesty, he doesn’t have a lot of time for you. He is a tenured full professor and working on yet another magnificent academic tome. Even so, he has graciously consented to entertain your question. Submit it and prepare to be edified.

QUESTION: I got a poor grade on my first academic paper because my instructor said I never was able to “make my point.” I thought I made it pretty well, but apparently not. I’m wondering how I can “make my point” more effectively. Can you tell me, or is this something I need to try to figure out myself?
我交出首次完成的學術論文,但卻得到很低的分數,我的指導教授說我總是沒能完整的"說出重點"。我覺得我有寫到重點,但顯然沒達到教授的標準。我不斷的猜想,到底我該如何更精確的講出重點呢? 請問TPS教授是否能告訴我方法,或者,有什麼是我可以自己找出解答的方向呢?

What’s your point? I’m not being entirely facetious: Your question is so broad and wandering that it almost is pointless. Without even trying, you have illustrated your instructor’s complaint. I am wondering how you made it this far in your academic life without learning how to write a meaningful declarative sentence. I am willing to help you, but I must insist that you be prepared to assert yourself intellectually. Failure to do so will almost assuredly continue to earn you poor grades.
你問的重點是什麼呢? 我不是在開玩笑挖苦你,你的問題很廣泛而且有點雜亂,我幾乎不知道問題所在。我反倒覺得你沒試著說出問題重點,而只是轉述你的指導教授的抱怨與評論。我不禁冒出一個想法,若沒有認真鑽研如何寫出有意義的句子,在漫漫的學術生涯中又怎麼挺得過種種困難? 我非常願意幫助你,但我需強烈建議你必須在知識的學習與追求上更加把勁。若不這麼做,可能未來還是只能繼續拿低分。

“Making a point” in an academic paper is like point-making in any other endeavor. How do you make a point on a pencil? Using a sharp blade or sharpener, you carve away the wood surrounding the lead and then some of the lead itself until the pencil’s functional core is laid bare. Similarly, the point of an academic paper is made by eliminating the detritus of your research until the nub of your argument remains. You then state the point, substantiate it, blunt counterpoints and restate the point in conclusion.
學術文章強調的"說出重點",就如同在其它領域努力找重點是一樣的道理。想想看,你通常怎麼做才能將鉛筆削尖一點? 你可以使用削刀或是削鉛筆機,一步步將鉛筆筆心外圍的木頭削去,讓筆尖自然成形。同樣的,學術論文的重點在於將研究過程中瑣碎的資訊捨棄,去蕪存菁直到留下唯一的重要論點。於此同時,你便能充滿自信的提出這個論點,用相關佐證來證明它,直言不諱的闡述你發現的論點,進而在結論處重申論點的重要性。

In short, the point of your paper is your central argument. It is why the paper is written. Without a clearly stated argument – that is, a point – you have no paper. Your instructor is looking for a reasoned and sustainable argument that is convincing in its presentation and supportable in its citations. Making a point is, first, an intellectual process. In scholarly writing, it combines intellectual and composition skills. If you are a scholar, think like one and your papers will reflect it.

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