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Academic writing

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❶A very broad definition of academic writing could include any writing assignment given in an academic setting. Citing the work of other authors is central to academic writing because it shows you have read the literature, understood the ideas, and have integrated these issues and varying perspectives into the assignment task.

Characteristics of Academic Writing

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It is important to remember who you are writing for. Being conscious of academic tone suggests that you are aware of your audience and respect the formality normally associated with academic writing. You should assume that your readers will be intelligent thinking people, but they may not be specifically informed of your topic. Do not presume that your reader knows all the terms and concepts associated with your work.

In academic writing you should always follow rules of punctuation and grammar , especially as the end-user or consumer of your writing, unlike a friend, is likely to be very different from you and will not always know to what you are referring. Hence, it is vital that you are clear. Punctuation and the conventions of grammar are universally known systems within English speaking cultures that maintain clarity and avoid ambiguity in expression.

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What Kantz wants us to see is that what makes the statement a fact is not how "true" the statement is but that most people have agreed that it's true and treat it as true. Statements about which we haven't reached this consensus remain claims, statements that people argue about. Kantz's work here demonstrates why it's so important to read texts-even "factual" works like textbooks and encyclopedias-as consisting of claims, not facts.

Within discourse communities, writers build on top of the ideas established by previous writers. One of the most common misconceptions about writing is the idea of the 'lonely writer'; that great writers' papers are filled almost entirely with original ideas and messages. But this is simply not the case. Discourse communities introduce new ideas and claims, and from these, writers expand on them. James Porter, a scholar of Rhetoric at Indiana University, uses The Declaration of Independence as an example to illustrate this point.

Porter points out that Jefferson merely pulled the phrase "That all men are created equal" straight from his commonplace book he made as a boy. Porter also points out that, "'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness'" was a cliche of the times, appearing in numerous political documents. Jefferson wrote this great work by weaving together the intertext of his discourse community.

As Greene describes in his article, "Argument as Conversation", academic writing can be thought of metaphorically as a conversation between those in the discourse community. Just like in a conversation when you listen to the ideas of the others who are involved and formulate your own opinion on the topic, a writer may be reading a paper done by another writer in the discourse community and from this paper, the scholar may obtain inspiration to expand the claims expressed in the paper or address them from other angles.

Good academic writers know the importance of researching previous work from within the discourse community and using this work to build their own claims.

By taking these ideas and expanding upon them or applying them in a new way, a writer is able to make their novel argument. Intertextuality is the combining of past writings into original, new pieces of text. The term intertextuality was coined in by Julia Kristeva. All texts are necessarily related to prior texts through a network of links, writers often unwittingly make use of what has previously been written and thus some degree of borrowing is inevitable. This generally occurs within a specific discourse community.

Factoring in intertextuality, the goal of academic writing is not simply creating new ideas, but to offer a new perspective and link between already established ideas.

This is why gathering background information and having past knowledge is so important in academic writing. A common metaphor used to describe academic writing is "entering the conversation", a conversation that began long before you got there and will continue long after you leave. A quote from Kenneth Burke encapsulates this metaphor:. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about.

In fact the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before.

You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending on the quality of your ally's assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.

Intertextuality plays into this because without it there would be no conversations, just hundreds of thousands of writings not connected or able to build on each other. The listening until you can join the conversation can be seen as doing research. All of the research you read, is built on research instead of self-knowledge.

This can be connected to the part of the metaphor where no one in the parlor is qualified to bring you up to speed, just as the papers your researched were researched also.

Porter inspirationally explores the essence of intertextuality in one of his articles Intertextuality and the Discourse Community:. Intertextuality reminds us that "carrying out ritual activities" is also part of the writing process. Barthes reminds us that "the 'I' which approaches the text is already itself a plurality of other texts, of codes which are infinite". The power of this statement is the idea that one can turn intertextuality into ones own favor only once one "does not exist" when writing academic text and only once one realizes that there is no universal reader to which the text can be attributed to.

The text lives its own life with its own purpose and the author is not the actual creator of the text. The author is simply translating meaning assignment into non-existent code, forming non-existent "I" which is intended for non-existent reader it is rather series of different readers, often with various opinions on the text.

So what is academic writing about? In essence, it's about nothing. It is an imperfect conventional form of code created by few people whom we do not know and it is surrounded by non-existent concepts. It is inherited from imperfect teachers and is bound to reveal only very small portion of all the possible infinite codes.

However, this small portion can be unique. As long as it is, it provides us with new combination of codes and an opportunity to find our own existence in the nothingness which surrounds us, either through the eyes of the machine or through the eyes of our own. What is important, is our ability to recognize which former codes and which texts of the past can help us find our existence and which codes are irrelevant.

As long as we are consciously aware of what we are translating from, we are not forced to shift the meaning involuntarily. Therefore, we create an opportunity for people to base their opinion on the actual meaning of the text and enable them to continue creating the non-existent, with a sense of understanding. Iterability is the capability of a text to be reiterated and repeated in various contexts.

Iterability is explicitly seen in texts, as opposed to presupposition, which refers to assumptions a text makes. One such example of this concept from Porter is the Declaration of Independence. Many texts and ideas of different centuries were integrated into the one document. Some claimed that this was blatant plagiarism but others say it was iterability. He used the form of a list of grievances as used in the English Bill of Rights and this example proves that not only direct quotes can be reiterated but also the form of a text.

When Thomas Jefferson proposed the Declaration to congress, they made 86 changes to his actual original ideas because they were so farfetched from the current discourse community. This is an example of the constraint a discourse community can place on a text. Presupposition is the process by which implications are made without being specifically stated or explained within text. These assumptions are usually extremely basic thoughts made by a vast majority of the audience; such thoughts may be considered "common sense" or otherwise obvious to anyone who reads the text.

These are acceptable to some academic disciplines, e.

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Academic writing is formal in tone and should not include slang, idioms, or conversational language. Description without analysis. Do not simply repeat the ideas or arguments from your source materials.

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Writing can be divided into all kinds of different categories. One of the main divides is between informal and formal writing. Formal writing includes business writing, formal letters, and academic writing. Although business writing and academic writing, for instance, have some differences, all formal writing shares certain features.

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A broad definition of academic writing is any writing done to fulfill a requirement of a college or university. Academic writing is also used for publications that are read by teacher and researchers or presented at conferences. A very broad definition of academic writing could include any writing. Academic writing is the process of breaking down ideas and using deductive reasoning, formal voice and third person point-of-view. It is about what you think and what evidence has contributed to.

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Academic writing refers to a style of expression that researchers use to define the intellectual boundaries of their disciplines and their specific areas of expertise. Characteristics of academic writing include a formal tone, use of the third-person rather than first-person perspective (usually), a. Characteristics of Formal Academic Writing Use Specific Language Use of specific terms—in place of general ones—will provide more impact and information for the reader. “Book” is a general term.