Article Analysis on “Effective writing: Did you mean to say that?” by Bernard Beins

Article Analysis on “Effective writing: Did you mean to say that?” by Bernard Beins (2012)

Summary of the Article

The article, “Effective writing: Did you mean to say that?” by Bernard Beins (2012) presents different types of information relating to academic writing. Part 1 highlights factual information and expert opinion pertaining to the elements that form the foundation of scholarly writing. Chin (2012) defines factual information as information that is accepted as truth. The article presents the essential components that should be observed when writing as stipulated by the American Psychological Association (APA). The factual information and expert opinion are presented by outlining the ethical standards and principles that writers should follow. The article cites the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct as one of the effective guidelines that can be adopted in the quest for effective writing. The goal of the ethical standards and principles is to assist individuals to succeed in academic writing.


The article emphasizes various boundaries that should be observed when following ethical standards and principles. One of the limits proposed involves avoiding the duplication of other peoples’ work (Beins, 2012). Moreover, the article provides expert opinion on how to be an effective writer. Such efficiency requires writers to select a field in which they have developed sufficient expertise. The rationale behind this approach is to improve the writer’s capacity to present factual and reliable information on the topic presented. Identifying an area of specialization increases the likelihood of deceptive statements, therefore, improving reliability and integrity of the information presented. This finding is supported by Hyland (2016) who accentuates that deception has negative consequences on the integrity of academic writing and publishing. The article further underlines the importance of recognizing the original source of published data used as new information in a new piece of work.

In addition to these boundaries, the article stipulates that it is unethical for writers to claim co-authorship when they contribute nothing to a piece of work (Beins, 2012). To avoid the problem of co-authorship in academic writing, Hyland (2016) proposes that “individuals should publish their own contribution separately either as individual paper or as distinct parts of a single paper” (p. 56).

Beins (2012) identifies plagiarism as one of the most serious breaches in writing. Plagiarism is defined as a practice whereby a writer takes credit for the works of others. According to the author, plagiarism can amount to infringement of intellectual property laws such as copyright. To avoid plagiarism, the article recommends that writers should acknowledge the concepts derived from the work of other people by ensuring that borrowed information and ideas are effectively cited. In addition to this form of plagiarism, the author identifies self-plagiarism, which occurs when writers use their previous works in a new piece of academic writing without proper citation or acknowledgement. The article cautions against passing old ideas as new (Beins, 2012). However, this point of view is contested by some scientists who argue that passing on old ideas is not plagiarism if they are used in a new article. Nevertheless, the article clarifies that, in the event of using old ideas, it is imperative for writers to check the prevailing policy stipulations to determine whether such acts are prohibited by the target audience or institution. Therefore, the prohibition of self-plagiarism might vary.  Other than proper citation of borrowed ideas, the article further argues that plagiarism can be avoided by using quotation marks to specify the opinion of other writers (Giordano, Davis, & Licht, 2012).

Besides plagiarism, the article emphasizes the need to recognize and reference secondary materials drawn from various online sources (Beins, 2012). The logic underlying this approach is to avoid copyright infringement. However, as noted by the author, the APA has outlined exceptions regarding what amounts to copyright infringement are permissible when using its journals. For example, the organization does not require individuals to seek the authors’ permission or pay copyright fee in order to use its peer-reviewed articles. However, the exception on permission requirement is limited to a maximum of three tables or figures and extracts of less than 400 words.


A critical analysis depicts the article as a valid and reliable source of information. The validity and reliability of the information is increased by the author’s ability to refer to the expert opinion of renowned bodies in academic writing such as the APA. Moreover, the ideas and concepts drawn from the work of other individuals are cited effectively.



Beins, Bernard C. (2012). Effective writing: Did you mean to say that? In Peter J. Giordano, Stephen F. Davis, & Carolyn A. Licht (Eds.), Your graduate training in psychology: Effective strategies for success (pp. 126-) Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Chin, P. (2012). Academic writing skills: Students’ book 1. Singapore: Cambridge University Press.

Giordano, P., Davis, S., & Licht, C. (Eds.). (2011). Your graduate training in psychology: Effective strategies for success. New York: SAGE Publications.

Hyland, K. (2016). Academic publishing: Issues and challenges in the construction of knowledge. London: Oxford University Press.

Murray, R., & Moore, S. (2006). The handbook of academic writing: A fresh approach. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.