What Is Academic Writing? | Dos and Don’ts for Students

Academic writing is a formal style that is used in universities and scholarly journals. You'll find it in academic publications and journal articles. Academic writing is a formal style of writing that is used in universities and scholarly publications.

Types of academic writing

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Type of academic text Definition
Essay A fairly short, self-contained argument, often using sources from a class in response to a question provided by an instructor.
Research paper A more in-depth investigation is based on independent research, often in response to a question chosen by the student.
Thesis/dissertation The large final research project was undertaken at the end of a degree, usually on a topic of the student’s choice.
Research proposal An outline of a potential topic and plan for a future dissertation or research project.
Literature review A critical synthesis of existing research on a topic, usually written in order to inform the approach of a new piece of research.

A write-up of the aims, methods, results, and conclusions of a lab experiment.

Different fields of study place different emphases on the writing they produce. In scientific writing, for example, it is important to accurately and clearly describe methods and results in humanities.

The emphasis is on building convincing arguments through the use of textual evidence. But academic writing shares some key principles to help communicate information effectively.


Academic writing is…

Formal and unbiased

Academic writing is about communicating information in an objective way. The objective is to support arguments with the evidence presented and not on preconceptions. All claims should be supported by relevant evidence.

This will avoid bias. This means being clear about your methodology and being honest about your limitations. Avoid informal language such as cliches, slang contractions, and conversational terms.




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