What is Academic Writing? Characteristics & Types Of Academic Writing

What Is Academic Writing?

What is academic writing

Academic writing is straightforward, concise, concentrated, organized, and evidence-based. Its aim is to help the reader understand this.

It has a structured style and tone, however, it is not complex but does not need long sentences and complicated vocabulary.

Each specific area will have certain writing conventions, terminology, and forms of discourse that you’ll be familiar with within the course of your degree. There are, nevertheless, some general features of academic writing that are important to all disciplines.

Academic writing is a formal writing style used in universities and academic journals. You’ll find it in scholarly journal articles and books, and you’ll be required to write your essays, thesis papers, and scholarly dissertations.

Academic writing follows the same writing method as other forms of texts but has unique conventions in terms of content, structure, and style.

As a student or researcher working on an academic paper, you must have realized that there are various types of academic papers ranging from short essays to more comprehensive and elaborate academic pieces such as dissertations and thesis.

Characteristics Of Academic Writing


Each one of these academic papers has its own particular attributes and characteristics that must be considered when creating content to ensure conspicuousness.

In English writing, academic work has certain features and must comply with a specific set of criteria. It provides accurate information about a given subject and does not intend to entertain, but, for the most part, to educate.

The main aim of academic writing in English is to educate the reader. It provides factual information about a given subject and does not intend to impress it. That’s why there’s no room for repetition or digression when it comes to academic writing. This ought to be linear, with the key concept or theme continuously followed. Writing should be organized around this key concept, and each part of it should only include facts or facts that endorse the central theme. Details on the subject should not be found at all. Only the standard written form of the English language can be used in academic literature. The text should be reliable and correct, and the words should be used in a precise manner.

Academic writing has eight characteristics: ambiguity, formality, accuracy, objectivity, clarity, consistency, hedging, and transparency. They all should be taken into account when writing the academic text, but the predominant one often determines the style of the writing. No compromise should be made on the basis of these eight characteristics, and anyone attempting to be an academic writer should be kept in mind all the time.


Academic Writing Is Complex

Complexity in academic writing is based on the fact that the traditional written form of the English language, which must be used, is different from the way we talk on a daily basis. The language used in the common language is more diverse than that used in communications. It often uses more complex terminology that is not widely used when talking to others face to face. The grammatical nature of the writing system is also distinctive since we do not usually use too many subordinate clauses and passives to talk. The sentences in the writing system are adjective-based and the sentences in the spoken language are verb-based. This also makes academic work distinct from face-to-face communication or other forms of writing.

Academic Writing Is Formal

Formality is in close relation to complexity. Under no circumstance can scholarly writing use the colloquial term that we consider normal in our everyday dialogues with friends or colleagues. Thus, the degree of formality should be very high.

Precision or Words in Academic Writing

Academic writing should be quite reliable. Actual facts, statistics, or charts should all be given, but nothing mentioned there should leave space for misunderstanding.

Objectivity In Academic Writing

Objectivity is yet another significant function. Academic writing is not about the reader or the writer and does not include any of these references. This should concentrate on the main theme and include details about it, without involving the writer at a personalized level. That’s why nouns are used rather than verbs or adverbs.

Explicitly In Academic Writing

The writer of the scholarly writing is responsible to make it clear and clarifying how the various sections of the text are interlinked and why they would be related to the central theme. There are some terms that can be used to reinforce this relation, and they are called signaling terms.

Accuracy Of Academic Writing

Precise use of vocabulary is a must in a text that wants to be academic. Special attention should be paid to the use of words with a particular meaning, and the author should understand that there is a strong difference between phonetics and phonetics. This differentiation is not so significant when it comes to the general use of English.


Some scholarly writers have opted to use a strategy called a hedge. This has to do with the manner in which the writer chooses to address a specific topic and with the strength of the statements he makes.

Responsibility in Academic Writing

Last but not least, scholarly writing should be handled responsibly. Anything mentioned should be supported by facts and proof, and no assumptions are permitted. Sources should be listed, too.

Types Of Academic Writing

Although the kinds of academic papers depend on​ various educational institutions, however, there are certain typical paper types that include dissertations, thesis, research paper, case study based papers, and essays.

These are the most common type of academic papers that are significant as they cater to almost all levels of academia especially high school and undergraduate levels.

This type of paper provides an illustration of a certain topic through the amalgamation of key facts and opinions organized to create a coherent structure that provides a logical explanation of the topic.

Most high school students often have to write essays on topics ranging from marketing and economics to business management, biological sciences, and technology. Such essays might be argumentative, descriptive, or expository depending on the topic and paper requirements.


Research Paper
A research paper is an academic paper that is longer than a typical essay and usually entails more detailed research relative to the topic or subject matter that the paper encompasses.

To highlight aspects regarding a specific issue, the research paper usually includes a literature review section that provides details of the researched facts to support the topic. Often, the paper may include a critical review of the researched material to provide a lucid understanding of the topic and research paper content.

A thesis is a more comprehensive academic paper that provides more details with regards to a particular topic contrary to the dissertation.

Such an academic paper usually​ has a higher word count and includes sections such as literature review, methodology, findings, and analysis among others. Such a paper may include both primary and secondary research methods to provide arguments to support the topic with an intent to define a solid conclusion.

The thesis is usually applicable at the Masters and Doctoral levels as these illustrate the highest standards of academia.

A dissertation is an academic paper ranging from 7000 to 16000 words that include sections such as literature review, research methodology, analytical findings, and conclusions. Such a paper is used to provide a detailed analysis of the topic through the use of different forms of research techniques to provide qualitative and quantitative data to arrive at a conclusion.

The paper may include a theoretical approach to justify the topic or hypothesis or an empirical approach to provide statistical analysis to derive critical inferences relevant to the topic. Dissertation writing is usually applicable at the undergraduate and doctoral levels.

Case study
A case study is based on the aspects regarding a certain entity such as an organization and its working. Case study writing involves the research related to a case study that describes a particular aspect of the entity relevant to the paper.

The paper includes sections such as case study analysis, description, and conclusion including recommendation.

For example, a case study regarding the marketing procedures of an organization may be analyzed in the paper and recommendations suggested based on the analysis.

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