What is academic writing?
Academic writing is a form of writing non fiction prose that communicates information, ideology, details, and research to a broader academic community. This form of writing, which is also often called scholarly writing, can be divided into two separate branches: the first is student scientific writing, which is used in colleges and schools in an exam or project format to prepare for university studies; and the second is Professional Scientific Writing, intended for publication in academic journals or books. Both types of academic writing (student and professional) adhere to very high standards, which helps to maintain a scholarly tone and maintain integrity.
What are the main characteristics of academic writing?
Some of the major characteristics of academic writing that you would find common among all good pieces of scholarly writing are:
Good structure: An academic paper must have a clear structure appropriate to the topic on which the piece is being written. For instance, a dissertation should have an introduction with a problem statement, detailed aims or objectives, and the method, whereas an essay would have a plain introduction, the body divided into paragraphs, each dealing with a separate point and a conclusion.
The best tip to achieve this is to carry out thorough planning and research before writing. Having all the research completed beforehand will allow you to plan the structure and write with clarity and a logical progression.
Clear format: Academic writing relies on a strong formal style of expression that demonstrates the author's subject knowledge and expertise in the field. To maintain objectivity, which is another key aspect of academic writing, writers typically use a third-person perspective. However, in isolated cases, as needed, writers may resort to expressing certain things subjectively to demonstrate a reflective treatment of the subject matter.
Maintaining a formal style of writing adds credibility to the ideas presented by the author. And the best tip to go about with this is to have a clear and precise understanding of what you are trying to express, so that you are able to convey it in a clinical manner.
Proper citation: Academic writers, to gain credibility and to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject matter, often support a major part of their write up with evidence and citation from primary and authority sources and resources. A bibliography is a key element at the end, which lists out the scholarly articles, books, or other resources that the author references throughout the text. Students should note that significant emphasis is laid by examiners to the referencing done by them. On the other hand, professional pieces of academic writing, if not references properly, will usually lose all credibility.
How can you ace citations and referencing? There are two tips here - first, take meticulous notes, even if you reference the same text multiple times, ensure you note it down each time. And tip two is to use technology to your advantage. There are a number of different software options that make bibliography writing a breeze, EndNote and Microsoft Word being two such options. These not only help you keep track, but will also format your bibliography for you.
Now that you have considered the three more important aspect of academic writing, let’s move on to academic writing as a career.
Building an Academic Writing career: types of academic writing
The 3 most common areas where you can build an academic writing career are:
-Research writing: A research paper provides an in-depth analysis of the author's independent studies. It genuinely explains the researcher's techniques and methods to expose how they arrived at a conclusion. It also mandatorily references other facts and sources to enhance the findings of the research.
Writers frequently submit these articles to academic journals or similar guides. Oftentimes, experts or experienced writers within the industry review or peer-review these articles before they are published in the final books.While this is a pursuit generally left with the researcher, there are situations where an academic writer could be hired to present a researcher’s work in the form of a research article.
-Technical Reports: These reports describe the procedure or conclusion of technical research. Researchers often prepare these reports and submit them to the sponsor or organisation funding the research project. These documents rarely go through a peer review process and it is for this reason, researchers often use these reports as initial drafts. They are later refined based on their findings from research and technology upgrades before being submitted for academic publication.
There is also a need for technical report writers who are able to take the findings of a technical research project and present them in a lucid manner that can convey the right message to the funding party.
-Annotated Bibliography: Annotated bibliographies, as the name suggests are comprehensive lists of sources that have been or can be cited on a particular subject. They also include brief descriptions or evaluation of each source. An academic writer working on an annotated bibliography summarizes these sources, usually in paragraph form, so that the reader or referencer has complete clarity when referring to it.
A general practice for academic writers here is to state their main arguments, conclusion, and in some cases opinions as well. These bibliographies are stand-alone documents that can provide readers with an overview of research and findings on specific topics. This area being a constantly developing one, there is always a need to create and update bibliographies for the benefit of the academic community.
Academic Writing Jobs
And now if you are thinking this is the career for you, here are some of the top companies and websites offering academic writing jobs in India:
- Excelsior Research
- Six Red Marbles
Academic writing has a very formal structure where special emphasis is laid on maintaining clarity and conveying pieces of evidence or fact. It uses subject-specific terminology and words as well as more complex sentences, while keeping away from contractions and informal words or expressions that are probably not unusual in spoken English. So are you ready to brush up on your vocabulary and get down to analysing complex data and making a career in academic writing?