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Academic Writing – Skills You Must Develop

Academic writing is no longer restricted to just schools and colleges but has become a tool to impart formal instruction over the internet. There are some basic requirements required like excellent grammar, sound and logical sentence structure, and following a standard style of presenting information. You could be writing a report, an essay, a dissertation, a research paper, or lab report. As long as you follow a consistent standard approach, you would be involved in academic writing. Let us delve further into the kind of skills you would need to learn or develop to be a successful academic writer.

  • Use Correct Grammar: Go through the fundamentals of grammar and spend time practicing it. Maintain a file of exercises you have attempted over time and refer to corrections made by your teachers. As you keep on attempting fresh exercises, recurring mistakes stop occurring and application becomes easier. Good writers make sure they are sound in grammar. It takes them years to hone their skills. Starting with simple sentences, they arrive at combining complex grammar into sentences to write fluidly and without error. For example, an essay can be written within a designed structure, but the language used should be simple which readers could understand easily. The sentences should be short and concise. Investment in a good style guide like the Elements of Style would be helpful in resolving complex and difficult grammatical interpretations.
  • Develop A Unique Writing Style: Good writers spend time thinking about their project before attempting to write. Once the topic has materialized into ideas, they spend a lot of time researching and gathering information related to the topic either over the internet or in major academic libraries. The gathered information is noted down in the form of points. Depending on the length of the paper or essay, writers filter through this information to get to the core data needed for them to start essay writing. Further research is always possible once they start writing. Ideas would start evolving and taking shape.
  • Be Precise and Detail Oriented: An academic essay has to be precise, so a lot of planning and research is required. There are no shortcuts here. Depending on the length of the term paper, the direction of research or analysis would be decided. The ideal way to go about it is to ask questions. The topic would suggest if some support material is already available or if detailed research is required.
  • Learn The Different Reference Styles: There are established reference styles of writing which are used in different parts of the world. The established styles include the MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), or Chicago Manual of Style. The approach depends on the school or university. For example, an APA style essay would normally be scientific writing like term papers, research reports and case studies. Institutions usually specify the style to be employed. It would be beneficial though that you learn all the major styles, especially if you plan on joining another institution or wish to study abroad. The style guide in each case provides detailed guidance on how reference, numbers, citations, and formats have to be applied to academic writing. These style guides are easily available over the internet, a school or college library.