Answered By: Hayley Hughes
Last Updated: Sep 17, 2015     Views: 412

Academic writing requires a different set of standards than when you speak. It requires concise, precise, and clear language, and may be a bit more formal than how you’re used to writing. You will sometimes need to define key ideas or theories for your readers if they are not familiar with them. If you are writing an assignment, it will need to be structured in a way that makes sense to your reader, and each section should build on the previous one. You will want to avoid bias, generalisations, and writing solely from your own opinion. 

Academic writing also requires that you are well read in the topic you’re writing about, which means you will often need to incorporate evidence from credible outside sources like books and articles from peer-reviewed journals. When you refer to outside sources, you must cite and reference them correctly so your reader knows where you got your information and so they can tell what ideas are yours and what ideas, theories, or data come from another author. You will often be asked to critically analyse these sources, and to ask questions of them--don't be afraid to disagree with something you've read as long as you have evidence to support your claims.

For a brief explanation of some academic writing basics, see this short video.



For help with Academic Writing, consider taking one of our Skill Units or submitting your work to receive personalised feedback from one of our expert Writing Tutors in the Writing Centre. For information about how to use the Writing Centre, click here.

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