Effective Academic Writing
In order to master effective academic writing, you should follow a list of simple rules. They will help you improve your writing skills and develop stylish academic writing skills.
Useful Tips for Writing in an Academic Style
Confidence and objectiveness are two academic writing features, which will help you improve your academic writing.
Please note that academic writing is usually done using the third person. It means that personal thoughts and suggestions represented by “I” pronoun are nor welcomed. It is explained by a simple fact that while writing academic English you should be objective and not subjective.
Instead of using 1st person, you can write such phrases as:
- This research outlines…
- It should be stressed that…
- The important of the study is…
Pay attention to tense forms and sequence of tense rules. It is necessary to be clear about what you are going to discuss and most important when it happened. Is the information outdated or is it actual now?
For example, you can state that some authors illustrate the importance of some events (Present tense).
The research was conducted using questionnaire and showed the following results… (Past tense).
#2 Proper Language
Regardless of types of academic writing styles, you should remember that complexity (which is considered a basis of academic writing) does not always make you sound academic. On the contrary, the language used for this type of writing should be simple, but deprived of formality.
Do not use contractions, as they are not considered to be academic in a sentence. Try to use “do not” instead of “don’t” in each academic paragraph.
The other tip regarding language deals with usage of shortened names of things, objects or phenomenon. For instance, it will be much better to use word “advertisement” instead of its shortened form “ad”.
Moreover, try to avoid informal words in your writing.
For instance, it is better to write “Maslow was a prominent scholar who created the Pyramid of human needs” instead of “Maslow was a dude who created…”
The same thing can be said about words “get”, “a bit”, “a lot”, etc. Use their equivalents according to the context.
Clarity is a serious problem among many writers who try to use as many difficult words as possible to make their writing look more academic. However, it is not always an option. Different academic writing style exercises can help make your writing simpler.
On the other hand, we recommend the following tips:
Use simple words.
Choose proper words for a specific situation. For example, use “fight against drugs” instead of “crusade against drugs” because word “crusade” is more radical and aggressive in its nature and presupposes real fighting.
Pay attention to each word you use. Do not skip information, which can be important. For example, if you write about some scholar and about his findings, you should add citations. It will add value to your writing. Moreover, do not simply add words to meet the word count, as it may negatively influence the quality of your work.
Be careful with using vague words and phrases.
- If you use pronouns all the time, make sure it is clear whom they refer to. Writing something like, “They said that they were not precise in their sayings about that” is not a good start.
- Do not refer to people in general. Be specific in regard to whom you are referring to. “According to many people/scholars…” Such information will be considered not reliable.
- If you speak about something that has happened in the past, do not forget to mention about it to avoid confusion. Say “no” to phrasal verbs, sayings and proverbs. “It is clear as mud”, “the two scholars were thick as thieves”, etc. should be avoided.
#4 Use “Sensitive” Language
Considering academic writing format, it should be stated that strong opinions and thoughts should not be presented too directly.
Instead of saying: Johnson is extremely right saying that…
Try the following version: Johnson’s view on this question is significant considering that…
Moreover, try not to overuse such words as “extremely”, “really”, “very”, etc.
Remember, the researches you make (unless they are unique in their nature) do not represent your own opinion but contribute to a much wider debate in regard to the issue under discussion. For this reason avoid stating directly that someone is wrong and someone is right, especially when the issue is still being studied. Use the phrases “It seems to be…” “It could be stated that…” and support each of them by facts.
No “taboo” language.
One of the features of academic writing is that it has to deal with both opinions on one question. Remember, you are not in a fight club and you do not have to prove your point by your fists or by insulting your opponents. Science understands the only language: language of facts.
Do not make assumptions.
Academic writing is neutral, especially in such issues as gender, religion, mental capacity of an individual, age, etc.
For this reason, we in your writing style guide recommend keeping the neutrality in these issues as well.
For example, it is better to say “fire fighter” instead of “fireman”, while the fire fighter can turn out to be a woman.