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Definition and Basic Rules of Academic Writing

04 Apr 2018

It is quite difficult to come up with a strict definition for academic writing term, since this particular type of writing is used in many different forms. The common things for all these forms are the style, language, structure (rather a strict one), accurate formatting, and the purpose. Academic writing style is aimed at demonstrating the evidence of learning. This term is very diverse. That is why there are few aspects you have to find out prior to start completing another coursework or research paper.

Study Well Means Write Well

Do you know what an academic paper writing is? Any piece of writing (research paper writing, essay writing, lab reports, assignments, and dissertations) done to fulfill a requirement of a college or university can be called academic. Therefore, a broad academic writing definition could include any assignment given in an academic setting.

academic writing


The addressee of the academic text is the narrowest and most specific: it is a professional community of scholars. To answer what is academic writing, define it as a kind of publication with a rigid system of conventions. These include the use of a conceptual language and terminology, a maximum elimination of discrepancies, a reduction of the evidence of each statement. This is a fundamental difference between scientific and literary texts, where imagery and polysemy is a norm.

Traditionally, this style is divided into primary and secondary genres. Scholarly article, review, monograph, thesis statement writing, nothing day essay, abstract, specialized encyclopedic article, presentation, description of a scientific project belong to the primary genres. Any member who is a part of the academic community has to be competent enough to create each of them. In addition, there are genres that are at the intersection of scientific and journalistic styles, for example, popular science articles. Academic business plan writer should also master them, to be capable of entering the broad public field as experts.

Skill or Just a Logical Algorithm?

Many students learn to overcome the "fear of a blank page" and force themselves to come up with a sentence by sentence. Or they start collecting pieces of other people's texts on the Internet linking them together. Both ways has nothing to do with inspiration, which is another point of them being completely wrong. You do not need any peculiar academic writing skills, just follow the algorithm and everything would be done perfectly. Start with determining an object and a problem of research. In the humanities, the overriding objective of the research is to "see the invisible". For example, to discover a tendency, a social construct, a cultural conflict behind a given phenomenon or an artifact. Research questions’ method will help you gather different "why?" and "for what?" addressed to the object. One of the answers may become a subject of your scientific work.

The next important stage is a selection of sources, reading and literature summary connected to your topic and, in parallel, gathering of information about the object of research. The third step is a creation of a working structure; these can be abstracts, a cognitive map, a system of logical connections. The main points that should be reflected in it and there are several of them:

  • Who, from what angle, within what disciplinary field is described, what approach is closer to you, what idea you would like to develop.
  • General description of the mentioned object and ways of its classification according to the certain parameters.
  • The wording of his subject, indicating the methodology and key terms you will work with.
  • Your author's analysis, his ideas, and methods of interpretation together with possible conclusions he may have.
  • Then you can make a detailed plan and create a text based on it.

Peculiarities of Academic Writing

There are no any special academic writing rules, but to make your piece of writing look as scientific as it’s possible, do not forget about these characteristics:

  • Outline

Take your time planning before you start crafting as your sacrifice will make an analytical paper. A right outline is mandatory. There are several reasons, in one hand outline will help you formulate your thoughts, in the other, it will give an overview of relationships between topics.

  • Language

Your language needs to be clear and full of terminology. A thesaurus is a convenient tool that helps you choose right words to explain and draw people’ attention to issues.

  • Tone

A formal tone is a necessity. Never use slang, jargon, abbreviations (excepting the names of organizations or scholarly approved terms, although you have to define them for a reader as well), and clichés in your assignment.

  • Deductive reasoning and an analytical approach

They are a tremendous part of an academic style because your readers should understand somehow what led you to your conclusion.

  • Point of view

The point of view in the third person is to enlighten facts without supporting an opinion.

In fact, both academic and creative writing has a lot in common as there is also a place for intuition and imagination in the research. "Sociological imagination” is a very popular term. It The author can feel an excitement in the process of research, euphoria and "catharsis" in the finale.

Core Question Is “How to Begin?”

When you know what you will write about (at least approximately), you can start.

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First, you need to collect the material; next - look for other articles on your topic. Search engines (like Google or Bing) can help you. Be careful with Wikipedia: you can read it to sort things out quickly, but it's not worth quoting. By the way, you can also go to the library, even in the XXI century and look through a catalog or ask a librarian to help. Then, when the material is more or less selected, make up a structure of the article. For example, as follows:

  • Title
  • Abstract (optional)
  • Keywords (optional)
  • Introduction
  • Main part
  • Conclusions
  • Literature

Define the problem of research - what will your article be about. Analyze how your problem was studied by other scientists. Then clearly understand the difference between quoting and copying as the meaning of your results should be clear. As you write the text, create a list of references as each source (article, book, Internet resource, etc.) that you use should be specified. Do not forget to draw conclusions that are brief and consist of one or two paragraphs. When the text is ready, come up with a suitable title.

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