Academic Writing


Introduction

Academic or scholarly writing is a serious form of writing intended for an informed and critical audience. The investigative nature of academic writing is based on it purpose; which is to inform, analyze as well as document new ideas and arguments on various academic issues. Academic writing occurs more often than not in academic circles as one of the requirements of academic accomplishments. However, at times academic writing may find its way out of academic circles. An academic writer could find an audience out of the academic circles through written speeches, journalism, research reports or pamphlets meant for the public -just to mention but a few.


Unlike other forms of writing academic writing is objective based and specific to the topics it intends to cover. The ideas in an academic paper are organized adequately with enough details, which can allow, other scholars to reproduce its results and quote from the academic writing. Academic writing produces papers that use formal academic rhetoric and are specific to an issue.


Academic writing is done in a wide spectrum of various forms and categories of genre. All the categories differ in the critical approach that may be used in writing a specific academic paper. Academic papers fall in to various categories including standard forms, summaries of knowledge, research and planning, technical or administrative forms, personal forms, collations of other people’s works as well as those disseminating knowledge out of the academic circles. Therefore, the purpose of writing is often used in the classification of academic papers. Standard form examples of academic writing are essays, research papers and dissertation/discussions. The summaries of knowledge category of academic papers may include annotated bibliographies and literature reviews. Proposals, peer reviews and brief summaries fall under the technical or administrative forms of academic writing. Whereas, expert written opinions used in decision making, and reviews of books and motion pictures fall under the category of academic papers used in disseminating knowledge out of the academic realms.


Writers doing non-academic writing (creative writers), for example, novelists have a specific, personal style of writing that is distinctive to their personality. Unlike these writers, academic writers do their writing in a formal style that is supposed to be averagely similar except for slight variations based on the subject matter, field of study and genre of academic paper. Therefore, the academic style used in writing an agricultural scientific research paper may not be similar to the style used in writing an academic, business paper.


However, there are general specifications for all genres of academic papers. The language used in writing an academic paper should be official/formal. Anything stated in an academic paper should not be obscure but rather specific, exact and on point. In cases where an academic writer needs to express probability the use of tentative language is allowed but, it should be able to give some degree of measure. Descriptions of any process in academic papers always use the passive voice and third person. The language should be impersonal and therefore; it should distance the writer from the work. The writer should also use powerful words when reporting any content of the work. Academic writing should avoid redundancies, clichés and colloquialism. Academic writers should also avoid the use of short forms of words and lessen the use of direct questions. Finally, academic writing needs to have sources of referred material to substantiate its work. The writing should also follow the laid out formats that the tutors or lecturers may prescribe for use.

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