What Is The Purpose Of Academic Writing?

2020-08-25

When you receive written assignments in colleges and universities, you are not to write an essay. You are to ‘produce a piece of academic writing that complies with scholarly standards of a given institution.’ Yep, the very formulation is already discouraging and confusing.

It sounds intimidating at first glance but fears not. Begin with the purpose. No matter what kind of academic paper you are required to produce, the main purpose of academic writing remains the same: to inform your reader about something.

Well, you may think, in college or university, the only reader is a professor or teaching assistant. Sometimes fellow students listen to it if you are required to present it in class. So, who cares? But no matter how many readers you have, and what they know about the topic you write on, your primary goal is to deliver information in a structured and understandable form. Keep it in mind as you write, and your path to creating a viable piece will be easier.

Academic Assignment Structure

Now that we have defined that academic writing is about delivering accurate information, let us look at how it differs from other writing styles.

Specific Features Of This Style

  • Focus and planning – you decide first what exactly you will say and leave out unnecessary or unrelated details that nevertheless may seem ‘just interesting’ to you;
  • Structure – you organize your ideas in a logical order, they continue one another and make your argument evident and clear;
  • Rich in evidence – rarely will this style of writing be based on your feelings and beliefs only, you need to provide proofs and data to support anything you say;
  • Formal and proper language – this point does not mean that you need to use very long words only; you need to use words that are formal, proper English, non-colloquial, not slang, not Instagram abbreviations, and so on. Yes, this is that boring and accurate English that you were taught in school.

Requirements To Proper Writing 

When you have chosen the topic and planned what you would include in the text, it is time to consider how to present the information in the best possible – and accurate – light. Yes, to plan and organize is the first step, but maintaining the balance and consistent scholarly approach is another key component of successful academic text. When planning and drafting your texts, always mind the following:

  • The precision of thoughts and words;
  • Accuracy of information;
  • Objectivity and balance of opinions;
  • Credits to authors whose ideas you use.

What is meant here by each reminder?

If you do want to make your writing purpose academic and formal, then for you, the precision of thought means exactly what it says: you know exact facts, numbers, dates, rates, authorship and origin of every piece of evidence and thought you include into the paper. If you think in terms ‘everyone knows/ everyone says/it is a well-known fact’ – forget it. Academic writing is a scholarly affair, not just a piece of gossiping, and it does not forgive negligence in approach to data.

‘Everyone says’ is another name for ‘fake news’ or ‘alternative facts’, so if you do not plan to become a goof of the class, never write/say it. You need to check every piece of evidence you use, and as you check its credibility, you by default find its author, a person or institution that formulated and posted it. Hence, you are bound to mention who exactly says it, and if credibility is not proven / author not found, you have no right to use it in scholarly writing. This is the requirement you will find in guidelines of practically all reputable schools, so the sooner you remember it, the better.

This is also called the accuracy of information – compliance with official statistics, news, confirmed and tested scholarly theories and data. You present information just as you have found it, and you cannot tamper with facts and numbers to fit them into your personal opinion. This is how science works – if facts oppose the initial assumption, the assumption is changed to reflect the facts, not vice versa.

Objectivity – in professional writing, you present what facts are, not what you personally think of the matter. To present the material objectively, without biases, you have to provide two (or more) differing opinions on the matter. In such a way, each party to the argument will have its say, and readers will be able to take sides independently. Of course, some sensitive or appalling issues should not be presented in ‘balanced’ manner because it means giving credibility to criminals or outward deceivers. But most topics you will write on requiring such a balanced approach, so comply with this rule.

Crediting the sources, you used to be the basis for academic integrity. Every fact and piece of data you include needs referencing both in the text and on the references page. Without it, your carefully crafted paper will be considered plagiarized stuff and given a corresponding low mark.

With this knowledge in hand, you are ready to start drafting your first academic writing task.

Structure Of Texts

The soothing thing about this genre is that structure is usual for any essay. You have an introduction, body and conclusion. And the references page, of course. How to draft them?

The introduction lays background, provide some general info about your topic and ends in a thesis. The thesis is a must, and it is the narrow and specific topic and point for discussion in your paper. Once you created a good thesis, you may consider that a third of the work has been done.

The body includes paragraphs. Usually, it will be more than 5 paragraphs you used to write in high school. 2 paragraphs are intro and conclusion, and the rest is given to ideas you want to express. Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence, then provide evidence, then explain the evidence (obligatory step), and then move to another paragraph.

Conclusion winds up everything that you have said in the whole paper, but says it very concisely, 3-5 sentences for most papers.

References provide credits to people whose works you used. So, when you scout for information note down the sources just as you found them. Otherwise, you may miss them and not give due to the authors.

Writing Tips For Academic Success

To complete everything successfully, you need materials and plan, so there are essential steps not to omit.

Research is necessary even if you believe that you know the topic from A to Z. First, you need sources to confirm your claims, and second, you need to refresh your knowledge since science does not stand still. What you knew yesterday might be disproved today. That’s the fact.

Outlining and drafting. This is important for a scholar and writer of any level of expertise, especially if you are completing your first or second task of the types of academic community recognizes as scholarly. Outlining means lining your benchmark ideas and arguments in a logical order, and matching the most impressive evidence to them. It may take a form of a bullet point list, or a scheme, or mind map, but it really helps to structure your thinking.

So one more tip is: when you look for information, copy and paste to a blank text processor sheet the important data that you have found. It will save your time significantly and will help to see the line of argumentation even if you yourself have not started formulating it.

Drafting is writing the first version of your document. Yes, you will have to revise the text and edit it till it sounds really smooth, clear and persuasive. Half-baked paper is not an option in this case.

Main Types Of Assignment’s topics

With the main purpose of being informing readers, more specific different purposes of writing relate to what kind of information you plan to deliver. You may want to describe something, criticize, analyze or persuade readers. Each smaller purpose will require the right selection of topics so that your work was easier and more efficient.

For example, you cannot persuade people in something that is not debatable (like the fact that chicken reproduces by laying eggs). Or else, you cannot criticize something that is taken as an epitome of excellence in some domain (like Mona Lisa by Da Vinci). Well, technically you can, of course, but it will cost you lots of efforts and will have no desired effect on your readers. So to make your life a bit easier, we have selected some interesting topics that match different text types of academic writing comprises.

Description Topics

  1. Presidential election process in the USA.
  2. Different theories of motivation.
  3. Styles of leadership.
  4. Evolution of jobs market in the USA.
  5. History of globalization.
  6. Lean production: what it is.
  7. Select a theory of social work and describe it.
  8. The timeline of the Standing Rock protests.
  9. Large epidemics and human reaction to them.
  10. Neoliberalism and its premises.
  11. What is populism and what its strong and weak sides are?

Persuasion

  1. College costs should be lowered.
  2. Renewable energy sources can only partially replace traditional fossil fuels.
  3. What is more important in launching a business – starting capital or connections?
  4. Are startups viable enterprises or money-laundering con art?
  5. Is it normal to market non-medical stuff to consumers as medical or ‘treatment’?
  6. Gun control: what actions are required?
  7. Is there a universal understanding of beauty?
  8. Should media develop a new set of moral standards?
  9. Too much stress is detrimental to human health.
  10. Racial discrimination is still rampant in the USA.

Criticism

  1. The American foreign policy and its negative impact on domestic and international affairs.
  2. Veganism – is it really healthy for the child’s organism?
  3. Animal farms malpractices and ways to fix them.
  4. Pick an article on the topic you know well and criticize it objectively.
  5. Criticize a movie you do not like, provide arguments and support with outside evidence.
  6. Pick a popular and a scholarly article on the same topic, compare them and criticize a popular one (if you see any drawbacks in the presentation).
  7. Pick an example of contemporary art and try to criticize it.
  8. Agricultural practices as harmful to wild flora and fauna.
  9. Pick a recent piece of legislation and criticize it.
  10. Pick some highly popular modern book and criticize it.

Analysis

  1. How to make a small business flourish and develop.
  2. Role of globalization in climate change.
  3. Is it possible to create a truly inclusive working environment?
  4.  American Dream – its origin and plausibility.
  5. Physical vs spiritual in the Renaissance epoch.
  6. Religion and its role in shaping attitudes towards women.
  7. Competition between churches – how is it possible? (look up ‘Who stole my church?’ as an example).
  8. What is the future of the European Union?
  9. Expressionism: why it is considered a valid style of painting?
  10. Why are monopolies bad for the economy?

Example

Let’s try and create an introduction to some piece of academic writing, with thesis and background to interest the readers.

The suggested topic is ‘How to Counter Deforestation’.

Deforestation is one of the biggest problems plaguing the planet since a decrease in a number of trees leads to an increase in temperatures on the soil surface and to frequent sand storms. Deforestation is also one of the main causes of prolonged drafts, which in turn leads to a decrease in supplies of fresh water. Thus, trees are essential in maintaining the ecological balance and in ensuring that the planet is suitable for the life of many species that inhabit it. Lack of trees automatically renders the Earth unfavorable for life, and so people seriously risk losing the common home dues to uncontrolled tree cutting. Measures to counter this problem included planting new forests, repopulating existing ones with almost extinct species and attempts to introduce new plants that are more resilient to drafts. Yet amidst urgent steps taken to prevent the ecological disaster, the voices of scholars should be heard on the matter of what and where to plant – and what not to plant. Uncontrolled and unplanned panting of first best trees available may lead to a further decrease invaluable trees species and lead to the spread of pest plants that only aggravate the situation. Thus, deforestation should be countered and slowed down, yet scholarly approach and careful review of all conditions should be exercised before another million trees are planted to the flashlight of cameras.

Conclusion

Indeed, creating a really proper and polished piece of professional writing is a cumbersome task, but with practice and a bit of attention, you will master it. However, it may happen so that you just cannot do it right here right now. There are some moments when things are just beyond our capacity. We know it well; this is why we are offering you a helping hand at least in the complex matter of writing. You tell us details, and we create a perfect sample of scholarly writing. We can write on the given topic or pick a topic for you, write on a provided outline or create everything from scratch. Our writers are passionate and professional in their approach to texts and academic standard, and by trusting your task to us, you ensure yourself a great result and a bit of security in these uneasy times.