One main question students often ask is: why is academic writing important? Academic writing is part and parcel of every academic learning. Regardless of your field of study, you’ll write a research paper; it’s a prerequisite for completing any course. Most students find it frustrating because of the rigorous processes, but it helps to build practical research and writing skills. Here we explore research writing and its importance to students.
Research writing definition
Research writing is a form of academic writing that follows a methodological approach to support, argue, or inform an audience on a particular topic/issue of interest. Research writing deals not with fiction but facts; the research writer must provide solid points supporting their research perspective. For this to be possible, you must conduct meticulous research using different methods.
There are several methods of conducting research for academic writing; some of them include:
- Reading journals, magazines, and books
- Conducting direct interviews with a set of people that inform your research
- Surveying statistics related to your chosen topic
- Creating questionnaires
What is an academic paper?
Academic papers are a particular writing form that mainly exists within academia. It’s mostly a written piece that introduces a new area of knowledge supported by scholarly evidence. Academic papers are also referred to as “scholarly papers” because they are academic scholars’ products for teaching and learning.
Scholarly writing examples include a dissertation, graduating essay, term paper, research paper, or academic journal reviews. Before a piece of academic writing becomes acceptable as an authority, others must vet it. For students, it’s done by their professors, while a select peer review committee vets academic journal papers.
Various types of academic writing
There are mainly four types of academic writing. Regardless of the form your academic writing takes, it must follow one of these writing patterns. They include:
- Descriptive writing
Descriptive writings are straightforward compared to others. It focuses only on providing factual information. Descriptive writings in academia are either article summaries or academic reports.
- Analytical writing
The majority of academic works are analytical. They are primarily descriptive writing that requires you to describe the information in-depth.
- Persuasive writing
Persuasive writings are analytical writings that require your own opinion and view on a given topic. In persuasive writing, the work doesn’t end by providing your views; you must also convince the reader.
- Critical writing
Critical writings are more complex compared to others. They focus mainly on critiquing a piece of academic writing.
Forms of academic writing to know
No two academic writings are the same. They might respond to a particular issue/topic; their form differentiates them. Given that, you’ll encounter various forms of academic writing in school. Some of them include:
- Essay Writing: academic essay is a type of academic writing that persuades readers of a particular idea using solid evidence.
- Research writing: academic research is more in-depth compared to essay writing. It’s mostly a study into a new area of learning.
- Summary/Reactionary writing: as the name implies, reactionary writings are usually academic writing that focuses on countering an ideology using points and facts.
- Journal writing: compilations of academic research and essays vetted by peer reviewers.
- Book reviews: a form of academic writing as well. Book reviews focus on drawing out context-based analysis using excerpts from books.
- Literature review: another type of academic writing that focuses on comparing scholarly works while stating your opinions.
- Case study: it’s used primarily in the medical field; it’s usually focused on making others within the field aware of the possibility of a particular phenomenon occurring.
How to improve academic writing: 6 helpful tips
While many students find academic writing daunting, there are many ways to stay on top of it. Below are effective ways to help you improve your academic writing:
- Properly research your topic area
- Equip yourself with scholarly material and quote scholars
- Use recommended academic writing format
- Avoid plagiarism
- Use active voices and state your ideas clearly
- Avoid repetition, be concise, and use good grammar for sentence construction
Purposes of academic writing: what you should know
There are several purposes for academic writing. The major ones are:
- To improve students’ research and writing skills
- Enables critical thinking
- Improves students’ knowledge in a given area
- Teach students how to persuade, analyze, and inform through writing
Academic writing can be tedious, but time spent on them helps to improve knowledge in each area. If you’re finding it hard to write your academic paper, always seek help and guidance.