Academic writing is a formal writing style used for scholarly purposes. It is clear, precise, and aimed at making the reader understand a concept. Every academic paper must adhere to specific writing rules. The tone, vocabulary, and sentence structure must meet general standards to be accepted.
Academic writing should not be emotional, wordy, or biased — your paper should be grounded on verifiable research, regardless of your opinion. Argumentative and narrative essays are rare exceptions to this rule.
You also need to follow a coherent structure in your writing. So, let’s discuss the four building blocks of that structure in detail.
Prewriting is an aspect of academic writing that refers to the work done before the actual writing begins. Prewriting covers research, content outline, and other elements that give the writer a purpose and makes their job less tasking. Without this building block, the article will have no direction.
Here are the un-skippable steps in prewriting:
1. Information Gathering
Information gathering, or research, involves collecting factual information from reliable sources. The information gathered helps the writer understand the writing scope. It also gives them in-depth knowledge of the subject topic to bolster their viewpoint.
2. Literature Review
A literature review is a study of sources related to the topic. Several academic resources are available for every subject topic, but you can use only reliable, peer-reviewed ones. Preferably, limit your research to materials from college professors, government-funded studies, and trustworthy experts. Wikipedia, online dictionaries, and other open-source platforms are not reliable sources because the editors often lack proper credentials.
An essay outline helps in logically classifying written ideas for a thesis or article. This is a draft of what a piece covers. As a writer, outlining adds structure to your ideas and gives your essay a smooth, coherent flow.
4. Formatting Style
Formatting style refers to an acceptable way of presenting a written academic piece. The three commonly used formatting styles are APA (the American Psychological Association style), MLA (the Modern Language Association style), and CMS (the Chicago Manual of Style). These writing manuals guide the writer on citation format, line spacing, lettering, and font sizes, etc.
Scholars must be careful to stick to accepted standards when writing. When writing a cause and effect essay or an expository paper, you should never stray from the conventions.
Let’s check out the essential parts of writing:
A written piece must have a consistent structure and flow to make sense to the reader. Choose a plan that makes your writing impactful. Don’t be afraid to adjust the structure even after writing the paper. And if you want to play it safe, stick to the ‘hamburger’ essay framework.
Besides, you should also include an abstract if your essay’s formatting is APA.
The introduction is the first part of the article, where you state the paper’s central focus.
In the introductory paragraph, you can also ask the important questions that will drive the rest of the paper.
If you want to describe an exposition, your introduction is an excellent stage to ask the question, what is an expository essay? With the precedent set, the audience can know what to expect from the paper.
3. Thesis Statement
A thesis statement typically appears at the end of the introductory paragraph. It concisely summarises the essay’s main points. Thesis statements are also strategically used to guide the readers’ understanding of the article’s purpose. Therefore, they must be straightforward.
4. Body Paragraphs
For an academic writing piece to be coherent, a writer should split it into paragraphs. The article’s body carries all the necessary information supported by verifiable evidence. Therefore, you should address specific points in separate sections according to importance.
Writing a maximum of five sentences per paragraph is the standard for academic articles. But it is not all about the word count; each sentence must stay relevant to the paragraph’s idea.
When writing a research paper, balance the qualitative vs quantitative aspects of the study in your body paragraphs.
5. Linking Words (Transitions)
Linking words are expressions that show the relationship between independent paragraphs. Using transitions ensures that your readers don’t lose sight of your line of thought.
Here are some examples of linking words used in academic writing: however, in line with, ultimately, besides.
Conclusion & Summary
An essay without a conclusion is incomplete. Conclusions are the final paragraphs of every article. They contain a summary of the entire piece to rehash the paper’s vital points.
Here are the key considerations when writing a conclusion:
1. Highlighting Main Ideas
The conclusion should highlight the main points of the essay. This recap of the essay’s ideas will help readers reevaluate their stance on what they just read. In argumentative essays, you can use this section to reaffirm your stance. Your conclusion should also include opposing views mentioned in the paper.
2. Call to Action / Food for Thought
A call to action (CTA) or food for thought should steer the reader in a specific direction, preferably towards your viewpoint. If you decide to end an essay this way, ensure it remains relevant to the central idea.
After writing a paper, ensure that you cross-check it. Reviewing your piece will save you from letting embarrassing mistakes in your article slip through the cracks.
Let’s check out the steps needed when reviewing your paper:
Errors are inevitable when writing. While trying to pass your ideas across, you may misrepresent or punctuate them wrongly. To ensure that the essay is consistent and logical, you must proofread it after writing.
Editing helps you catch errors you missed when writing. It will also help you shorten sentences and choose better words for your paper. You can use tools like Grammarly or The Hemingway App to hasten the editing process.
Academic Writing Conclusion
Writing an academic paper can be tasking, but you will learn to do it appropriately if you follow the guidelines stated above.
There are four building blocks to writing an excellent academic essay:
- Conclusion and summary
- Review and editing
Follow these building blocks to make your paper more coherent and simplify the writing process.