Writing Tips: On Academic Writing I Oxford Open Learning

    Writing Tips: On Academic Writing

    Well, let’s face it: you can’t avoid academic writing if you’re planning to attend university studies. Some of you may even move on to make it a career one way or another. However, before that, you need to have some basic understanding of how to write in an academic manner. At university, you will need academic writing in your essays to persuade others of the seriousness, validity and credibility of your subject. To help, then, here are a few tips to bear in mind.

     Know your audience: At university, your audience will be your professors. You are writing for their feedback. This is why you do not have to be overly detailed about your topic, as they already have the background knowledge needed to understand and evaluate your essay. However, always remember that this mostly applies to university assignments. You may find yourself in a situation where you have to analyse a concept for a different audience, in which case you will need to be more meticulous in your writing. Nevertheless, that depends on several diverse reasons.

     Do your research: This one is rather self-explanatory as you must be informed and ready to defend your claims through proper research. You should be able to not only find credible sources online, but also to know how to cross-reference these sources and evaluate their validity. Which leads to the next tip…

     Support your claims with evidence: Always properly cite your sources. Depending on the guidelines you are given in regards to the style (MLA, Chicago, Harvard, etc) you should always use references accurately. You must avoid plagiarism at all costs, because if you are guilty of it you will lose all credibility in the eyes of your audience, but because this could lead to dire consequences, such as expulsion.

     Get to the point and have a clear thesis: It is of key importance that you never stray from the topic at hand. In order to best do that, you should provide your audience with a clear thesis statement and get to the point of your topic right away, from the first paragraph. This will not only allow you to keep track of your writing, but also help your audience understand the relevance of your essay to themselves.

     Refrain from being absolute: Remember that you are presenting the results of a research so you should never be absolute. Similarly, you should also avoid taking sides and being biased. In academic writing, your work should be presented through diplomacy and objectivity. Try to use the passive voice and lay out your facts in a firm but diplomatic way.

     Edit and proofread: These are clearly the most important steps before submitting your paper. You need to edit your writing for inaccuracies in regards to the content, but also in regards to grammar and vocabulary usage.

    Happy writing!

    See more by

    Pola is an avid reader and passionate about anything education related. She is an English teacher and has taught students from diverse backgrounds, both privately and in the classroom. Her studies in English Language and Literature and International and Comparative Education have provided her with the necessary skills and knowledge to further pursue matters related to education - and to write for OOL.