Hey, Sandra! How did your submissions go?
Hi, Adam! Well, the examiner rejected my paper.
Why so? Adam questioned, rather surprised.
No kidding, and I quote, “It isn’t academic enough!” What does that even mean? Sandra expressed her oblivion.
Adam takes Sandra’s assignment and reads on. He looks at Sandra with a slight disappointment and a dash of pity.
Adam figured out what went wrong with the paper, and now by the looks of it seems like it is now his onus to make it right.
(With the sparkly eyes of a passionate preacher, Adam begins!)
“It’s more than just putting pen to paper!”
Often subjected to assessment for the eloquence an academician holds, years have shown a drastic impact of writing as an essential skill for all, whether you’re a student or professional. Yet, while the struggle to achieve the level of finesse is more real than it is portrayed, academic writing requires more than just putting words together.
Unfortunately, like you, many of us struggle with academic writing because we don’t know what makes good academic writing and how to achieve it.
From understanding the purpose of your paper to creating compelling arguments and using appropriate language, let’s cover it all and head on to your next paper like a pro!
Speaking of the most common mistakes we make in academic writing, not being clear and concise enough is the major one. When writing academically, it is important to be clear and relevant. This means using language that is easy to understand and avoiding jargon.
Another mistake is not being well-organized. Academic writing demands a clear structure and flows in order to be effective.
Finally and most importantly, not proofreading and editing your work carefully is a mistake that has not spared the best of us. However, submitting error-free academic writing is not as daunting as we make it seem.
(Sandra can now find the fallacies of her academic writing. As she is processing the information overflow by Adam, he’s engrossed in spilling some more as he continues…)
Remember, it isn’t academic if it is general!
First, cut the slang! Your contractions and references should be held at bay.
And why are you even placing those rhetorical questions there?
About sarcasm? Maybe a section with none of that would be marvelous!
What will really get you closer to not flunking would be a formal way of writing, well-cited and -referenced sources. Avoid the digress and make sense concisely. Stick to simpler words; don’t pour out your vocabulary as a thesaurus would.
Let me break it down for you, the 6 distinct stages that you must never (not even in your dreams) forget while academic writing: planning, drafting, sharing, evaluating, revising, and editing. Each stage serves a specific purpose and can help to make the writing process smoother and more efficient.
- Planning: No plan made is no action delivered! This is the stage where you decide what you want to say and how you want to say it. This can be done by brainstorming ideas, researching, or outlining your academic content. Grab that sheet to plan, which will make the writing process much smoother.
- Drafting: Remember, a draft is not the final copy! Start putting your thoughts into words (of course, formally and just not as you think). You may not get everything perfect at this stage, but that’s okay — you can revise and edit your work later. Just focus on getting your ideas down on paper or screen.
- Sharing: A third-eye perspective will find mistakes that you missed. So, for feedback, you share your work with others (preferably the ones who know the subject and the language, too). This will be helpful in shaping and improving your work. Your friends, family, colleagues, mentors, etc., can be the right people for this.
- Evaluating: Be ruthless as you may. Put on the critic’s glasses and assess your work objectively. What are its strengths and weaknesses? How could it be improved? This evaluation can help guide your revisions in the next stage of the process.
- Revising: Revisions are only making things better! Analyze all the comments and suggestions given by all your critics and revamp your work logically without shifting from the central idea of your paper. Bring in more factual data to support your inferences and rationale.
- Editing: To err is to be human. But who keeps you from submitting an erroneous paper for assessment or publication is an extremely efficient academic editor. Thus, seeking the help of a professional academic proofreader and editor will be beneficial as they would only focus on improving the quality of your work and not being biased toward it. Once an error-free submission-ready document is delivered to you, you are just a step away from leaving your examiners stunned with the work you wrote (well, the help of professionals made it even easier and a lot better).
Now, with the due following of every step, you can ace your next writing assignment like a pro. Although, remember these nifty too:
A. Always convey the primary information in a clear and objective manner. Because beating around the bush is an old man’s hobby.
- Present evidence and arguments to support a thesis or claim. Bluffing won’t turn your jacks to aces here!
- Your tone must be formal. Imagining dragons can be kept for songwriting lessons.
- Follow a specific structure and style, such as an introduction, body (methods, results, discussions), and conclusion. Remember, it is not a fairy tale to start with the tail on the top.
- Mind your language. Be precise and technical. Colloquialism is not for scholars, they say (we can be prerogative at times).
- Remember that your target audience is typically experts in the field or individuals with specialized knowledge. You are not writing for the kid that just learned the word “banana.”
Phew! This is how you can set your academic writing apart from the rest, Sandra!” Adam exclaimed.
Sandra now knows where it all went wrong in her academic paper.
“You mean, I just need to keep it simple, relevant, and real!” said Sandra.
Flabbergasted, Adam said, “Oh yes! Exactly that… to put it concisely!”