Top Tips for Academic Writing
Academic writing refers to writing that is aimed at aiding the readers’ understanding of a particular topic. Academic writing provides evidence for any claims that are made in the content. It is also a very formal and structured style of writing.
Students have to write various essays and papers in their school and college lives. These papers and essays are usually written in the academic writing style. Since students are young, they may find it boring and difficult to write papers and essays in such a formal style.
There are plenty of reasons why a student would not be very good at academic writing, but that does not mean that nothing can be done about it. This article aims to provide some tips for students to improve their academic writing skills.
5 Tips to Improve Academic Writing Skills
1. Practice Writing in Formal Tones
In academic writing, you have to write in a formal and objective tone. It is wrong to write in an emotional or biased tone. Academic writing demands that all the points and arguments made in the work should be backed by evidence and not personal opinions. Of course, if your opinions are based on empirical data then it is fine to include them.
Writing formally is somewhat difficult at first, and that can make students hesitant to write. To deal with this you can simply forget about writing formally from the start and instead focus on free writing. The tone can be changed later on during the editing phase.
Just getting your thoughts and ideas in written form is much better than worrying about articulating them in formal styles. This will also serve as good writing practice.
The hesitation and reluctance can only be removed by practicing writing. Students can practice academic writing by using their hobbies. They should write about their hobbies and interests and then convert those pieces into formal writing.
2. Keep Your Research Notes Handy
Academic writing entails that any claims presented in the paper or essay need to be proven using data. So, you can’t just say something and move on, you have to provide evidence that what you have said (written) is true.
Naturally, you cannot just prove anything on your own. You will need to read lots of research papers related to your topic and use their findings to support your own.
The problem with academic writing is that it is quite easy to lose track of your sources and forget which paper supports or contradicts your points.
Obviously, this is a very big hurdle to actually writing your paper. You would waste a lot of time going through your research backlog again and again.
The easiest method to counter this problem is to keep notes of all your research. Write down the main points of each paper in a notebook and record any page numbers that have data you may need to refer to.
Keep these notes with you when you are writing, so that you don’t have to search the actual papers again.
3. Check Your Work for Plagiarism
Students are one of the foremost abusers of plagiarism. This is mainly due to the fact that they either don’t know or understand why plagiarism is bad. However, colleges and universities in particular are very strict about plagiarism.
Hence students need to be aware that committing plagiarism to lower the burden on themselves is akin to shooting themselves in the foot. Institutes can actually expel students for indulging in such an unethical act, while the smallest punishment is a failing grade.
Even accidental plagiarism is not forgiven; thus, students should make it a habit to proofread their work and check it for any duplication.
A great way to do this is to utilize a plagiarism checker. These are tools that can automatically detect all counts of duplication in the provided text.
Getting assistance from plagiarism checking tools is good because they are usually free and save the students a lot of time and effort that they would need in proofreading.
In academic writing committing plagiarism is particularly bad as it can get you blacklisted from any scientific journal. Hence destroying a great career path.
4. Follow a Proper Format
Since academic writing is a very formal affair, it makes sense that it would also have rigid formatting requirements.
Normally students are provided a format by their teachers or their institute. They simply have to abide by that format and structure their content accordingly.
However, sometimes a student may be doing independent research and, in this case, they have to follow the format of whichever journal they are going to send their paper to.
The formats required by most journals are available online. Students should practice writing their content in different formats and become comfortable with them. That way in the future if they ever have to convert their paper from one format to another, they won’t have any trouble.
5. Grammar Check
Academic writing is very rigid when it comes to grammar. There is very little room for tolerating grammatical mistakes. Since academic writing is supposed to be read by other people, it should have good readability.
However, bad grammar directly affects readability. Mistakes in punctuation and spelling make the text very confusing. If there are even tense discrepancies on, then the text becomes a really big mess.
Grammatical mistakes are very easy to make. Even the best writers make such mistakes from time to time. That’s why at the end of writing, students should always proofread their work and root out any mistakes.
This way they can ensure that their writing is good and the reading difficulty is also moderately low.
Academic writing is an important field. Students have to use academic writing throughout their school and college lives. It is important for them to improve their writing skills so that they get good grades and get their works published.
To improve their writing skills, they can follow the tips provided in this article. Obviously, the results would depend on how much they practice these tips.
Out of all the tips discussed in this article, checking for plagiarism is one of the most important ones, as failing to do so can single handedly destroy the academic career of a student.