Academic writing has a different tone and style than everyday writing. Here are some of the main characteristics of writing academically.
Unless you are an expert on the topic, it is best to avoid using the first person when writing academically. When you have strong evidence to support your argument, you can successfully use the more confident tone of the third person. The exception to this is reflective writing, which is always written in the first person.
Read assignment instructions carefully to determine the type of academic writing that is expected, as well as directions for layout, word count and structure. Here are some overviews of the main academic writing types you may encounter.
Before you start writing make sure that you have:
See the Before You Start Writing page to learn more about these steps.
Academic writing structures may vary, but the main sections are the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Here is an overview of what these sections contain:
You are required to produce an argument in almost every form of assessment at university.
There are two main types of arguments in academic essays:
For example: “The Lord of the Rings is a great film because the story is riveting, the characters are brilliant and the settings spectacular” (Turner et al., 2008, p. 90).
“Some people do not like The Lord of the Rings (opposing point of view), as it is very long (supporting point for the opposing point of view). However, despite its length, it is a great film (author's position) because the story is riveting, the characters are brilliant and the settings spectacular (supporting points for author's position)" (Turner et al., 2008, p. 90).
Your writing should contain references either in the text or as footnotes depending on the referencing style used. There should also be a more detailed reference list or bibliography at the end of the document.
Never hand in work that you have not read and edited (several times). This step is crucial to the success of your writing. Here are some helpful hints:
Before submitting your work, ask yourself the following questions:
Brink-Budgen, R. (2000). Critical thinking for students. (3rd ed.). Oxford, UK: How To Books.
Monash University. (2019). Introduction to literature reviews. Retrieved from https://www.monash.edu/rlo/graduate-research-writing/write-the-thesis/introduction-literature-reviews
Turner, K. (2008). Essential academic skills. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.