What is Academic writing?
While we read a lot of catchy phrases, exclamatory sentences and weird questions in magazines and daily newspapers, we don’t find the exact style in academic publications though the later gets no less of our attention. The reason behind this difference is that academic writing is meant to be direct and scientific.
We come across different styles of writing every day whether in newspaper, T.V, manuals, or books. Did you notice any differences in those various styles of writing?
Academic Writing Theory:
Scholars have studied the styles and usages of languages regarding the purpose of the language, the speaker or the writer, and of course, the receiver. And each focal point resulted in different theories regarding language and its usage. Regarding the purpose of language, Russian American linguist, Roman Jakobson identified the six usages of language including the referential, poetic, emotive and conative function. Other scholars like I. A. Richards also developed language theory discussing the scientific and the emotive uses of language.
In academic writing scientific use of language is highlighted as it serves the many purposes of informing, solving problems, listing, proving a point of view, or discussing a controversial topic. As a result, when we write an academic essay, we are expected to have done enough research about the topic to come with the conclusions that we state in our writing, and we also expect other people to take our writing as authentic to help them write their own research. That’s the reason that academic scholars and academic writing teachers pay a great deal of attention regarding plagiarism.
To avoid plagiarism, one has to read enough about the topic before writing, and also has to use the different techniques of documentation (footnotes, list of works cited, list of resources, etc.)
Though it may seem that academic writing limits us from depending on emotions or generalizations, however it succeeds in rising interests in things we thought we would never like. It is simply because of the step-by-step style of structure, by which we take the hand of the reader into the area of our topic by using simple words and professional terms.
As I have mentioned the word “reader” in a previous sentence, it is important, first of all, to know the audience. On one hand, when the audience has enough knowledge about the topic, it becomes essential to discuss some new ideas or to cover the topic in a new or surprising perspective. On the other hand, when the audience knows little about the subject, it is better to start with an introduction and explain the basic terms before introducing new and complex ideas.
Knowing the audience helps you select the suitable level of writing ranging between simple, difficult, to more professional, of course regarding the terms, the concepts, and the complexity of sentence structure.
To sum up, academic writing is an authentic style of writing that is based on a valid research on a certain topic. It also includes the logic, direct, and scientific argument as its core. And its language is modified depending on the audience we are addressing. For more details on academic writing, stay tuned for upcoming notes on Digital Cutlet