What is Academic Writing — Everything You Need To Know
Research Writing

What is Academic Writing — Everything You Need To Know

Kanu Priya
Kanu Priya

Table of Contents

what-is-academic-writing

Academic writing is potentially the most crucial skill in an educational environment since writing is one of the primary modus operandi of scholarly communication. Its quality strongly influences the readers’ perception of the author. It is highly valued both by academic institutions and academics who wish to acquire knowledge. The ability to write academic papers is one of the critical factors that distinguish scholars from excellent scholars.

Academic writing can be defined as the writing form that aims to transmit scientific or other knowledge through clear and concise means. The main idea behind academic writing is objective and practical in terms of presentation as it needs to be understood by thousands of readers and not just a single person. It enables you to express your ideas and develop them into a structured written format. Academic writing is not just about proving ideas but creating them. Getting an academic paper written on a high level requires experience, so let's dive into it.

Key Tenets of Academic Writing

Academic writing is a genre of writing with several tenets that make it different from other  prose or creative writing forms. Therefore, the characteristics of academic writing are imperative to understand. Five main features of academic writing are often discussed as follows:

1. Formality

Formality

Academic writing aims to convey the relevant ideas to suit the nature of the subject being discussed and support opinions with reasoned arguments. It is not about making flowery statements or indulging in superfluous language. It is about communicating your thoughts with the audience accurately and succinctly.

You need to realize that academic writing requires you to be direct, analytical, and precise. The objective is to demonstrate that you can convey your meaning accurately, in context, without uncertainty. To make your writing more formal, you can try to:

  • Avoid conversational words and expressions
  • Avoid contractions such as "don't," "can't," and "isn't. Replace them with the two-word version of the contraction
  • Avoid rhetorical statements like “What is the meaning of life?”.

2. Accuracy

Accuracy

A word's meaning is an important factor that determines whether it should be used or not in a writing piece. The more accurate the writer is while creating a paper, the better his chances are for obtaining a high-grade paper. All words should be defined clearly and concretely so that their exact meaning can be easily traced. Academic writing does not use words loosely. It must accurately distinguish between "orthocenter" and "orthocentre," etc., and use these words correctly. By using known technical terms correctly, you reflect your proficiency in a particular subject.

3. Hedging

Hedging

Hedging is an action that can be used to reduce the risk of making claims. They are used to avoid answering a question, making a clear, direct statement, or committing yourself to a particular action. Early-career academic writers or authors may find it hard to always convey themselves and their work in their papers using solid and unequivocal statements. Having said that, many academic writers feel compelled to use what is called hedging techniques when writing their academic papers.

Making decisions about the stance you take on a topic is often done by using hedging verbs. These are words that place some kind of limitation or qualifier on your claims. Such as ‘seem,’ ‘appear,’ ‘suggest,’ ‘may’ and ‘might’. For example, Extended screen time can contribute to a range of eyesight problems and may have a negative effect on mental health.

4. Objectivity

objectivity

Writing is impersonal and uses nouns more than verbs. Think about it! Fewer words that refer to us place greater emphasis on what we have to say. Phrases like “I feel” or “I believe” should be kept out of the picture especially if you are reporting any research findings. For instance “I feel there is life on Mars” should be replaced with “These findings suggest that there is life on Mars”. The reader is therefore left to concentrate on the information you provide and the arguments you make. Objectivity can be induced while writing an academic paper if you do not talk about opinions, but provide valuable information and valid arguments. Readers focus on what the writer knows rather than what they think or feel. This allows the writer to sound more objective and authoritative.

5. Responsibility

Responsibility

Academic writing is as different from every day, ‘general’ writing as a race-horse is from a donkey. Academic writing has rigorous standards and conventions that must be followed. Academic writing attempts to add new information, knowledge, or understanding to an existing body of theory. The key things to note in this criteria are the claims you make,  the evidence that needs to be provided for those claims, and citations; you must cite any sources of information you use at any cost to avoid plagiarism. You should also avoid self-plagiarism.

Types of Academic Writing

If we are talking about “What is Academic Writing”, we must not miss its types. There are four major types of academic writing that you should know about:

1. Descriptive

One of the basic types of scholarly writing is descriptive. It can be divided into several subcategories: a summary, description, narration, explanation, and so on. The goal of descriptive writing is to present facts or information. A report will tell what participants did or did not do during an experiment, how they responded to various stimuli, and what results were obtained. It supplies details such as how many people were involved in the study, when it was conducted, and where.

2. Analytical

Analytical writing is the process of re-organizing (and possibly adding to) the collection of ideas or information that you have organized into a suitable structure, such as categories, groups, parts, or relationships. Analyzing is a way of discovering whether an argument is valid, coherent, and relevant in a logical way to the topic under discussion. To polish your analytical writing, you can:

  • Give careful consideration to the subject matter. After you've summarized the facts and ideas, try different ways of grouping them in order to clarify what's important.
  • Categorize your work under different segments like advantages, disadvantages, importance, etc.
  • An introduction that gives the reader a framework for understanding your paper and a topic sentence for each paragraph will clarify the structure of your paper.

3. Persuasive

Persuasive writing is just analytical writing plus your own point of view. You may be required to analyze an argument, evaluate the credibility of a claim, or explain why a position is correct. Most essays, including research articles, are written to convince the reader of some viewpoint. Following are the keystones to remember about persuasive writing:

  • To understand your own take on a topic, a wise thing to do would be to examine all the major viewpoints on a given topic and see what you find the most convincing!
  • As you think about what arguments to make, it is important to cite evidence to support your point of view. Break down your ideas. For example when writing about a concept car, ask yourself: How cost-effective is it? How environmentally friendly is it? What are the real-world applications?
  • Your argument should only be presented after you are clear about your assumptions, claims, and evidence.

4. Critical

Critical writing involves your own point of view, but also that of at least one other person. You may explain a researcher's argument and then show how it is flawed, or offer an alternative explanation. To enhance your critical writing you must:

  • Paraphrase research data, logical reasoning, and other scholarly sources to support your arguments. Different disciplines and different assignments require different types of evidence.
  • Explain how you feel about the work, and why.

Benefits Of Academic Writing

Academic writing can help the writer gain some unique characteristics and qualities.

It is ultimately up to you whether these advantages are good enough to spend your time polishing this craft.

1. Increased Focus

Focus has become a very important trait, especially in today's generation as distractions are literally everywhere you look. It is not something everyone is born with but it is something that can certainly be inculcated over time. Academic Writing is one of the finest ways to help you do that. It takes a good amount of focus to turn a blank piece of paper into something knowledgeable. If you like the topic you are working on, you will be surprised to see how easy it can get to focus and get it done.

2. Better Logical Thinking and Improved Knowledge

It takes a serious amount of time, focus, and thinking to write a worth-reading academic paper. You cannot just know everything about the topic you’re working on, therefore, a lot of research and analysis is required to come up with an informative piece of paper that is valuable. Writing a lot of papers can not just increase your knowledge in the fields you’re writing on but can also improve your logical thinking skills.

3. Discovering The Delight Of Writing

Avid academic writers have experienced a change in how they felt about writing in general. Although sometimes for a lot of writers, academic writing becomes anxiety-inducing. But for most, writing becomes joyful and gives an amazing sense of accomplishment.

Studies have shown that attending and participating in retreats have made academics more motivated and less fearful of writing. The key reasons behind it are mainly the peer support that they manage to get and their writing capabilities going over the roof.

4. Boost In Creativity

Academic writing is not just about blatantly stating stuff about your chosen topic, but it is also about creatively analyzing and conveying ideas concisely. This definitely requires creative thinking. Writing on a regular basis can prove to increase your creativity not just in writing but also in real life. It gives the writer a chance to develop out-of-the-box ideas.

The Significance of Clarity in Academic Writing

Clarity is essential in writing. It is a guiding principle that helps writers decide what to say and how to say it. If people don’t understand what you’re trying to say, how much value can you actually add? Below are the five principles for creating a lucid copy:

Principles Pro Tips
Know Your Audience "What could I say that will help the reader
understand this better?"
should be your
question, Always.
Be Concise Try creating one-liners.
Dense and dull writing obscures your message.
Arrange Your Content Map and structure your work.
Switch from A to B and B to C smoothly.
Avoid Using Confusing Words Writing acronyms is debatable, it is possible
that your audience may not be familiar with them.
The same goes for writing lengthy words.
It impacts clarity.
Be Predictable Consistency is the key to a long-lasting
audience base. People will come back
because they know what to expect from you.

A Research Writing Platform

If you're doing research, you might be juggling between multiple writing and task management tools. Before you start using them, think about how you want to organize your research and how you'll be using the information you collect. A platform especially designed to meet the basic as well as advanced requirements of academic writers, Typeset intends to be the perfect bridge between academic writing and academic publishing, providing the ease of intuitive research writing and collaboration with the combined power of LaTeX and MS Word. A comprehensive, automated research writing and journal production platform like Typeset that has integrated plagiarism checkers is what you need to kickstart your academic writing!

Conclusion

Whether you are writing a report, a thesis or a research paper, the points covered in this article can help you furnish your project in a formal and structured format. Remember that you need to write your research paper in a professional manner. Avoid conversational language and slang. Now that you have a profound understanding of academic writing, try to apply the best practices practically and take your academic writing skills to greater heights.

But before you go,

Appendix:

If you found the above article insightful, the following article pieces might interest you:

  1. The 4-Step Guide That Will Get Your Research Published
  2. How to write a research paper abstract?
  3. How to become good at academic research writing?
  4. Top reasons for research paper rejection
  5. How to increase citation count of your research paper?