How to Write Like an Academic

Aby D Blog Team

As students in high school, we learned how to write by following simple rules such as the 5 paragraph essay, basic sentences and paragraphs, and words that convey a sense of immediacy. However, there is another set of expectations for academic writing. The key here is clarity—you want your reader to understand what you are trying to say. When writing in an academic style, you need to be succinct and use only the words necessary to communicate your thoughts effectively.  

Academic writing differs from other writing by being internally and externally structured (structured to help the reader understand information) and complete, relevant, well- communicated, unbiased, economical, owned by you and fully referenced.

What is academic writing?

Academic writing doesn't mean using long words and complicated, long-running sentences. It is a means to communicate complex information in a concrete and unambiguous manner. Academic writing has credibility and authority, is supported by comprehensive research, and avoids plagiarism.

Be concrete and unambiguous

It is essential to be concise and find ways to communicate clearly without long, convoluted sentences. Avoid using unfamiliar phrases or complicated expressions that are not your own to sound 'academic'. Avoid repeating informing. For example, "Academic integrity is necessary and crucial..."  is repetitive because "necessary" and "crucial" means the same thing.

Learn about word choice/wordiness and read our Academia Word Choice Guide.

Be credible and authoritative

Academic credibility refers to supporting your arguments with evidence from unbiased sources. When gathering objective and reliable data for your academic writing, you must first avoid skewing your research to support your argument. That is, do not simply try to prove or support your opinion by referring only to data that supports your thesis and overlooking the opposing views. Finally, don't add obscure references just because they look cool or interesting, as they don't increase your credibility. Instead, cite and reference credible sources, like peer-reviewed journal articles or scholarly websites.

Avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism can be as simple as using a couple of words or lines of text without identifying the source. In more extreme cases, it can be cutting and pasting entire paragraphs or pages without citation (a short in-text note giving the authors' name and publication date) and/or references, the source's full publication to allow the reader to access the original source.

In summary...

The points covered in this blog will serve as a helpful guide for developing your academic writing style. You can learn many more valuable strategies, tips and tricks in our Academic Writing modules.

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