define academic writing
- Planned and focused: answers the question and demonstrates an understanding of the subject.
- Structured: is coherent, written in a logical order, and brings together related points and material.
- Evidenced: demonstrates knowledge of the subject area, supports opinions and arguments with evidence, and is referenced accurately.
- Formal in tone and style: uses appropriate language and tenses, and is clear, concise and balanced.
Academic writing is clear, concise, focussed, structured and backed up by evidence. Its purpose is to aid the reader’s understanding.
Academic writing refers to a particular style of expression that researchers use to define the intellectual boundaries of their disciplines and their areas of expertise. It is characterized by a formal tone, use of the third-person rather than first-person perspective (usually), a clear focus on the research problem under investigation, and precise word choice. Being a specialist language, academic writing is designed to convey agreed meaning about complex ideas or concepts for a group of scholarly experts.
Adapted from Academic Writing . Writing Center. Colorado Technical College; Hartley, James. Academic Writing and Publishing: A Practical Handbook. New York: Routledge, 2008.
An academic argument is also based in the research, what we often call “evidence-based.” This means you must support your argument with findings from sources you read.
This stance, claim, or take is your contribution to the current conversation on your topic and provides your readers with a position, perspective, and/or point of view on your topic.
The ability to write in an academic style is something you develop as part of your university study. It is difficult to give overall ‘rules’ on the way to write for a university course, as academic subjects vary in
- their vocabulary and expressions
- the types of text used (for instance essays, reports, research articles or summaries)
- how these texts are structured and organised.