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writing for godot

6 Approaches To Academic English Writing

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Written by keswood   
Sunday, 12 February 2017 21:49

Academic English is a form of writing that all formal institutions of learning implement into its curriculum.  So for any essays or reports you’re assigned while attending university, you’ll no doubt be required to write most of it in academic English.

Academic writing skill isn’t just something you’ll need for college, though.  In the post-graduate world, you’ll be expected to use academic writing for creating office reports, journal writing, and a variety of other careers where this type of writing is required.  So developing your academic writing skills early will be a big advantage over your competition as you move through your career.

So what exactly is academic English writing?

Academic English is more formal and structured than other types of writing.  It requires a strict adherence to a set of rules and guidelines that even includes set requirements for font size and type of font you use.

Some essential aspects of academic writing include:

  • A clear and distinct intro, body and conclusion.
  • A major point that readers should absorb
  • Evidence that backs up the point.
  • Impersonal writing (do not include the words “me” or “I”)
  • Time New Roman font, size 12, double-spaced

So know that we’ve got an understanding on the basics of what makes up academic English writing, let’s look at 6 steps you can follow to improve your skills.

1)  Take A Preparatory Course

While university will offer plenty of opportunities to learn academic English writing, a great way to be extra prepared for it is to sign up for a preparatory or introductory course.  Doing this will tighten up your writing skills while allowing you to have a fundamental understanding of writing academically before you even begin your first university level course.

The mostMostThe mostMostThe mostMostThe mostMost local small college offer preparatory academic English writing courses, or if you’d rather learn from home, there are a number of online classes in which you can learn on your own schedule and pace.  Here are a few:

  • Coursera
  • Future Learn
  • UCI Extension

2)  Practice Writing Formally

Academic writing comes with its own set of rules.  What sort of rules?  Well, let’s take a look at rules written by Okdissertations.com:

  • Stay away from colloquialisms or slang – Go with the words that fit the best according to their standard definitions, now how they’re thrown around in casual conversation.  For example, if referring to someone who doesn’t get rattled easily, don’t say “he has ice water in his veins”, rather use literal terms that correctly describe his ability to stay calm.
  • No contractions
  • Go with facts over feelings – You make your case in academic writing with facts.  Emotional, flowery, or intense language is typically looked down up in academic writing.  For example, if you don’t like something, don’t refer to it as “stupid”, instead say it’s insufficient or does not “perform properly”.
  • No first person – When writing an academic paper, you want to distance yourself from your words.  All this really means is that you want to stay away from words like “me” or “I”.  Simply let the fact do the talking.  So rather than say “I believe these results mean…” go with “These results demonstrate that…”

3)  Find the Correct Grammar Book

Academic writing involves its own particular set of standardized rules.  To know what they are, you need to get a hold of a grammar style manual.

These books cover everything you need to know, from comma usage to how to insert abbreviations.  They’re also a big help when it comes to citing your research.  Here’s a few of the most popular style books on grammar:

4)  Study What Others Have Done

Reading others’ work is a very effective way to learn academic writing.  Just by going over a couple of well-written academic essays, you’ll very quickly gain an understanding on the differences between academic writing and the others.

Here’s a few sites were you can find some great academic writing examples:

  • JSTOR – A massive database of academic essays that cover a wide range of themes and topics.
  • Questia – You can find a wealth of academic journals in Questia’s database.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals – Free to access, at DOAJ you can browse over a wide range of journals and articles.

One thing to remember is that many of the papers you’ll find at these sites are written at the professional level.  So while you can learn a lot by reviewing them, don’t get frustrated if you have trouble understanding them.  What matters is that you learn from them the proper style and format of academic writing.

5)  Use Outlines

With a good 50% of the work involved in writing an academic paper going into the research, you’ll make things a lot easier on yourself if you create an outline before you actually start writing.

Everything successful starts with a plan.  And putting together an outline allows you to organize and structure your information in a way that lets you know everything is where it needs to be.  Think of it like you’re designing a city.  You wouldn’t just start randomly constructing buildings and throwing down streets, you’d want to know where everything was going to go beforehand, otherwise you could put in a ton of work and time and midway through realize you’re stuck in a giant mess.

How you design your outline is your choice.  And there’s plenty of sample formats out there for you to follow.  Whatever style you choose though, all that matters is that your outline makes writing your paper easier and that it works for you.

6)  Create A Solid Thesis

The thesis is the core point of what you’re writing.  It’s a claim or statement that you propose and then use the rest of your work to support and prove.  A basic example of a thesis could be “how the forty hour work week has damaged society”.

Remember, whatever you choose as your thesis, it will need to be a concise, specific statement that drives right to the point.

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