By definition, academic writing consists of all the documents and writing pieces concerned with academia. The writing pieces coming under the realm of academic writing include dissertations, reports, research papers, academic essays and so on.
Formal and Complex
Academic writing is a form of writing which is much more complex than other writing types. It is formal in approach and use extensive vocabulary. The mode of writing is objective rather than subjective and biased.
Authenticity and Provision of Information
The basic purpose of academic writing is to provide information about a single aspect. The topic of an academic assignment can be given depending upon the field of a student. The main part of academic writing is use of citations which authenticate the writing piece. For this purpose, various citation styles are used preferably APA, Harvard and MLA.
Academic writing can fall into many sub-categories. It can range from papers written by a student for a grade, to papers written by a teacher to test a student’s knowledge. Since the category is so broad, we will focus on the typical usage of the term, papers written by an academic (student). Anyone who has taken the equivalent of a High School English test has written an academic paper.
Academic writing entails proper academic research on topics with the aim of adding factual substance to the body of knowledge. The writing should have an academically accepted structure that comprises of an introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction gives a glimpse of what is to be discussed in the topic while the body elaborates the topic under discussion with factual information, personal perceptions and the general views of others about the same. Conclusion refers to a summary of the preceding ideas coupled with relevant recommendations on the best way forward.
The writing has to be argumentative, that is it should view all sides of the coin. For example, discussion of pros and cons together with a possible critique. A good chronological flow of ideas is core in achieving a good paper status. Proper spelling, grammar, tense, formatting and editing are also mandatory requirements that the writing must exhibit. Finally, it should be void of plagiarism which is a vice and a criminal offense and proper referencing.
To some extent, even the simplest essay can be termed as such. But, the truest application of the term is found in the thesis, or “term paper”. The formula for this type of academic work consists of three to four major parts. First, the writer chooses a thesis (an idea about something). Secondly, they will research various reliable sources for data that will either support their thesis or refute it. If the assigned paper is argumentative, they will try to debunk any antagonistic data. If the paper is a simple research exercise, they will draw conclusions from the accumulated data and then state whether or not their thesis is proven true or false.
Since many thesis papers are written as argumentative papers, using verifiable sources and furnishing those sources with the use of footnoting and bibliographies is essential. Academic writing doesn’t end in High School or even college. Many doctorate thesis are written later in a writer’s career, making this sort of writing an essential in all author’s repertoires.