Students often feel that their writing skills are not up to the mark when writing academic papers and assignments. It is true to some extent because generally, students tend to have a more informal approach of writing. However, in academic writing, you have to be formal, relevant, precise and any opinion presented must be backed by proper sources. You also have to keep in mind that every university assignment comes with its own set of instructions to be followed in terms of structure, style, tone and purpose. Let’s discuss what academic writing is and how you can get better at it over time.
It is a Gradual Process
You have to understand that writing academic paper is not complicated but would still take time to perfect. Developing your academic writing skills is a gradual process and requires sincerity and diligence. You can make use of the free university resources for guidelines and examples of an academic paper. You can start by looking at some previously written papers. You can also observe the tone and style of journals and articles you are reading in your course curriculum. Start by making notes and pointers on vocabulary use, formality, professional tone, references and citations etc.
Using Library and Free Scholar Resources
The best place to find inspiration for academic writing is your own library. You can access your university’s library online or can source academic journals on Google Scholar. Reading peer reviewed journals can help you imbibe the style of academic writing in your subconscious. These books also at times include samples of academic dissertations, essays, paragraphs, reports and sentence structure.
Enhancing your Critical Reading and Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking in critical reading means that the reader utilises models, processes, theories and questions that ensure enhanced comprehension. Critical reading means to go deep inside the text to observe tone, logical consistency and a number of other factors. Critical reading is not easy. You need a lot of patience, focus and you need to keep your mind open to critically read or review a paper. Once you develop the critical reading and critical thinking skills, understanding the approach of writing academic paper will be easy and in your subconscious.
The Holistic Approach
There are some important dimensions you need to focus on while honing your academic writing skills. If you focus on each one of them at a time, you would soon be able to imbibe all in your academic paper. These dimensions are as follows;
Purpose – Is the purpose of the assignment clear to you? Does your article reflect the purpose of the assignment precisely?
Relevance – Are the information and ideas mentioned in the article relevant to the topic? Are there any information or ideas missing from your article?
Analytical & Critical Perspective – Does your article critically analyse the topic area and is the evidence of critical analysis present in your article?
Supporting Evidence – Is the supporting evidence used in your article appropriate and relevant? Are evidences from other sources acknowledged properly?
Structure & Coherence – Have you followed logical sequencing of information and ideas in your article?
Language & Style – Have you followed the appropriate technicality, formality and objectivity for the assignment’s audience and purpose?
Language Accuracy – Is your article grammatically sound? Is the punctuation helpful in bringing out the meaning? Is there any spelling or typographical error?
Presentation – Have you formatted the assignment according to the required specifications? Have you presented the article in a precise and reader friendly manner?
If you are able to imbibe all the above in your article, congratulations, you are now an academic writer. Keep updating yourself by reading journals and books from popular and Internationally published academic writers.