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Academic Writing

Sep 14, 2017

What Is Academic Writing?

Academic writing is simply known as writing used for academic (educational or scholarly) purposes. This style of writing is used to inform the reader, present results of research or get the reader involved into a scholarly discussion. 

Just like other formal styles of writing, it has a set of rules and best practices that must be followed to meet academic standards of writing and to be accepted by the academic community. 

Here is what makes academic writing different from other writing genres: 

Audience

There are three main audience types that work with academic writing: students, professors (instructors, advisors etc) and professional researchers. Professors give students respective writing assignments while the latter work on them to demonstrate their knowledge and the skills acquired in the writing process. Professional researchers, in turn, generate academic content to talk to fellow scholars, present their research findings and discuss results.

Background knowledge

Academic audiences already have some background knowledge about the subject in discussion. Any other audience would have a hard time understanding academic writing that abounds in jargon, professionalisms, and terms. 

Tone

The overall writing style should be formal and impersonal. Using impersonal constructions like Passive Voice or speaking from the 3rd person is usually encouraged to ensure objective tone. Please refer to ‘phrases to use in academic writing’ section of this paper.

Use of Evidence

Reference to evidence is another tool that assists academic writers to achieve objectivity and attain. When writing academic papers, an author should refer to objective evidence (research findings, data etc) to sound impersonal and objective. 

Please refer to the table below for a brief summary of the four distinctive features:

AudienceStudents, instructors or researchers
Background knowledgeAudience has background knowledge about the subject under discussion
ToneFormal, impersonal (usually 3d person is used)
EvidenceStatements be backed up with research or evidence

Table 1. Distinctive features of the academic style of writing

Basic Academic Writing Guide from OZessay

Writing scholarly papers - both for educational and research purposes - requires solid academic writing skills. The good news is that just like muscles, these skills can be built up via exercise. Our concise guide below contains all the basic exercise required for successful academic writing. 

NOTE: 

Every university or college will most likely offer their own academic writing guide. These guides are very similar in their essence, yet they differ in the type of detail they contain. Always make sure you obtain and closely follow the writing guide of your institution.

1. Eliminate personal language. 

Use of personal pronouns, especially first person, is strongly discouraged. They can make your paper too subjective and we try to avoid that for objectivity reasons. 

Example with a personal pronoun: 

I believe that…, I found that…., we hope that…, I strongly consider… etc.

Example: In this paper, I intend to argue in support of the claim that self-paced learning shows higher efficiency and better results

Example using impersonal language:

The paper covers the problem of…, there exists a generally accepted theory that…, the project focuses on etc.

Example: The paper will argue in support of the claim that self-paced learning shows higher efficiency and better results.

2. Use passive voice to maintain objective tone. 

It is considered that…, it is thought that…, it is argued that…, the concept of …. is widespread

Example: It will be argued that self-paced learning shows high efficiency and better results.

3. Relate to your research results, not your feeling/beliefs

The article suggests…, the data shows that…, research indicates…, raw data shows…, according to… etc. 

Example: The article by Smith & Johnson (2017) suggests that self-paced learning has higher efficiency and better results compared to conventional learning.

Phrases to Use and to Avoid in Academic Writing

Phrases to avoidPhrases to use
I believeIt is considered that
I thinkThe results indicate (that)
I am sure thatConsidering the results
I am convinced thatAccording to the figures, 
It is my belief thatThe research indicates/suggests (that)

Table 1. Phrases to avoid in academic writing & phrases to use

How to Write an Academic Essay

Our website contains information about different types of essays, simple and clear. You can find it easily and use for writing a college paper. And here is a general step by step information on how to write an essay:

Step 1: Understand the question. If you stuck to the question, consult your instructor for additional explanations. 

Step 2: Research your subject. Write a basic outline: make a list of points you would like to write about in your essay. 

Step 3: Write a thesis statement. It is a sentence stating the question you would like to expand upon. 

Step 4: Write the draft of the essay. Let it be a kind of basis for the final version of your essay. 

Step 5: Divide your text into paragraphs: the introductory paragraph, several body paragraphs, and the concluding paragraph.

Step 6: Fill your essay with transitional phrases to use in academic writing.

Step 7: Proofread, edit, and write a final draft of your essay. 

The Most Common Mistakes in Academic Writing

Sooner or later, students face the problems with academic writing language. We have put together the most common mistakes in academic writing:

  • Incorrect sentences. We recommend checking if every sentence you write can stand alone and bear a single complete thought. 
  • Sprawling sentences. Make sure you do not sprawl the sentences as it is hard to read and understand them. 
  • Academic writing connecting words and modifiers. Make sure you use correct connecting words that arrange your thoughts in a logical manner. Place the modifiers near the words and phrases they modify.
  • Incorrect parallelism. To express 2 or more matching thoughts, use grammatically equal phrases. 
  • Missed commas. Put commas to express the connections between the sentence elements. 
  • Faulty apostrophes. Learn the writing rules of the possessive case of nouns and contractions such as it’s, there’s and so on.
  • Confused words. Learn the most confused word in the English language. 
  • Misspelled words. Consult a dictionary if you don’t know how to write a particular word. 

How Can You Learn Fast the Rules of Academic Writing? 

There are various ways to study academic writing structure and style. You may study thoroughly this type of writing at college or university. You can take IELTS academic writing course; or order some example of academic essay writing from a trusted company and sort every part of the essay out with a professional writer. Feel free to choose any type of studying process you prefer. 

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