Academic writing is not just for college graduates who love to write. Anyone can venture into the industry, you just need to be good at research and willing to put in the time.
But that’s not all there is to it.
There are a lot of controversies around academic essay writing. College students hire writers to craft papers and assignments for them at a fee. This is considered unethical (because you are basically helping a student cheat.)
But if academic writing is so ethically wrong, why does it exist in the first place? And is it any different than hiring a ghostwriter for an article or a paper?
You don’t need to do a deep dive to find the multiple academic essay writing companies out there. But most people forget that academic writing is a service available to more than students.
But if you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:
Who is an Academic Writer?
Academic writing is a style of writing used to communicate ideas among scholarly experts. This includes university reports and articles produced by university students.
Here are four the four different types of academic essays:
A critical academic assignment will ask you to find gaps in existing research. This often means considering at least two different points of view in your research, including your own.
As an academic writer, it’s important to know how to sell your argument. Based on researched facts, you will need to interpret the data you find and then use it to support your argument.
Analytical academic essays categorize, compare, group, or organize information. For instance, you may be asked to compare how two theories on a particular subject deal with social context.
With analytical writing, you need to plan your thoughts, possibly even outline them. Try grouping information into different patterns and relationships. Find similarities and differences, advantages and disadvantages, and ensure you communicate your thoughts clearly to the reader.
This involves writing a summary of specified academic findings. Descriptive essays simply convey facts as they are, no personal opinion.
You should, however, know that it’s very rare for an academic essay to be based in just one of the four styles. You will have to combine critical, persuasive, analytical, and descriptive writing skills in most, if not all of the academic essays you write.
Academic writing is also evidence-backed.
The sources you use not only need to be updated, but they also need to be credible. The quality of your sources will either make or break your argument. Use scholarly articles when doing your research.
A scholarly article conveys discoveries to the academic or scientific community. They are also called original articles
Let’s dive into the finer details of becoming an academic writer.
How to Become a Good Academic Writer
No two academic writing jobs are the same. Each one comes with different instructions, and it’s your job to stick to those rules.
It takes more than writing a few essays in school to be considered an academic writer. To put it simply, there are three essential elements of academic writing:
Quality Writing Skills
This involves understanding the basics of grammar and crafting good content. Most papers also demand that you write in an active voice (as opposed to passive.)
This is what constitutes quality academic writing:
- It informs the readers with accurate evidence-backed facts.
- It’s centered around one main research problem (usually called a thesis.)
- It considers counter-arguments to the thesis where necessary.
- It’s formated into neat paragraphs that each present a comprehensive (and independent) portion of the main idea.
An Understanding of Referencing Styles
It’s important to cite your sources correctly in an academic essay.
Depending on the academic discipline in questions, here are the different situation styles you need to master as an academic writer:
1. APA (American Psychological Association)
This citation style is mostly used in Education, Psychology, and Science papers.
2. MLA (Modern Language Association)
Used to cite sources in Humanities papers.
This style is used in Business, History, and papers involving the Fine Arts
Academic essay assignments have a set of instructions, including the desired citation style for the paper.
Understand Format and Structure in Academic Articles
Academic writing comes with a set of rules that you have to adhere to. It’s not as ‘casual’ as blog post writing.
The standard format most academic essays follow starts with the introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, references.
This format does not apply to all academic articles. Make sure to read through the instructions (or consult a style guide) before crafting your article.
Great Academic Writers Avoid Plagiarism
Cheating is a huge problem in the academic writing industry.
Plagiarism is when you directly use someone else’s research without giving them credit. You should always acknowledge your sources when you use another person’s idea, opinion, drawings/ graphs, and even paraphrased text.
You can use tools like Grammarly (premium version) to check your work for plagiarism.
How to Write Professional Academic Essays
The academic tone is serious and professional sounding. You will feel it as you write. However, don’t be too professional that your readers don’t understand.
This is how you sound professional in your writing:
Nothing kills the enthusiasm of the reader more than wordiness. Get straight to the point. Besides, conciseness helps eliminate the chance of reader misunderstanding your text.
Make sure to stick to industry jargon and avoid slang.
This goes without saying, but academic essays are formal. When writing for a specific industry, use terminology specific and relevant to the field.
But then again, it depends on your audience.
Academic essays are sometimes meant for non-academic audiences. If this is the case, avoid using complex phrases and terminology as it will only confuse the readers. When writing for academic audiences, feel free to be technical, but always use specialized terminology appropriately.
Avoid personal pronouns
Academic writing is supposed to be objective, at least in most cases it is. So unless the instructions ask you to write an opinion piece, avoid personal pronouns.
As you are trying to convince the reader, it’s easy to cross the line between ‘persuade’ and ‘demand.’ When you find yourself asking readers to do this and that in your academic essay, take a step back. Remember, its about providing the audience with evidence-based recommendations and the possible outcomes, but it’s their choice to act.
The professional tone is detached, yet convincing.
This is one of the main reasons why academic essays don’t use personal pronouns. Writing in the first-person perspective can narrow a person’s view of the research problem. Third-person, however, allows for a broader examination of the subject at hand.
And as you write academic essays, always think of the readers.
You are, after all, writing for your audience. Present your facts in a neutral tone. When disagreeing with something, try not to sound confrontational. When countering another’s point of view, don’t sound dismissive.
It seems like a lot of rules, but just like with other styles of writing, you’ll learn as you go along. Expect to make a few mistakes along the way, and maybe even get revision after revision on your first few assignments.
Editing your Academic Essays
After you write your paper, don’t just skim through it for surface mistakes. And neither is it enough to run it through Grammarly and submit it. Writing is an art; editing is a science.
You need to read and re-read through your academic essay, finding ways to strengthen your argument.
As an academic writer, your job is to construct a working thesis, analyze the available evidence, and finally organize your ideas while considering counter-arguments.,
When editing your essay, the job description completely changes.
It becomes to anticipate the reaction of the readers. Will they get distracted by that long sentence? Do you think that repetitive paragraph will bore them? Is the introduction comprehensive enough or should you add a few more sentences?
Such is the thought process of an editor; anticipating the reaction of the reader and then enforcing or changing it.
Beware of ‘small mistakes’
Sometimes, a poorly worded phrase could be a symptom of a bigger problem in your academic essay. It could mean that your thoughts are not fully developed yet. Editing is not just about correcting small and apparent mistakes; it’s about going deeper into the subject, clarifying and offering the readers more insight.
Some might even argue that the editing process is the most important part of writing an academic essay.
When editing, make your work more concise. Every word and phrase should serve a purpose in your essay. If you can say it in one sentence, do so. A lot of academic writers get lazy and add fluff to their content just to meet the desired word count.
Use hard-hitting words.
For instance, use ‘argues’ instead of ‘says’. You might find that there are a lot of words that don’t belong in your essay (even though they seemed perfect when you were writing.)
To be a great academic writer, be ruthless with your work. Even if you love a certain phrase, allow yourself to let it go so you can better express your ideas and arguments.
Academic writers should write hot, and edit cold.
This means as you write, don’t stop to correct anything. Write a rough first draft, and then take some time away from your paper. Come back with a fresh mind and while editing it, imagine its someone else’s paper. Edit it with a cold and calculating eye, and don’t be afraid to get rid of anything that doesn’t add value to the essay.
Academic writing is a broad industry. Fitting into it means understanding that it takes practice to be a good writer. However, you should also learn how to follow instructions. Academic essays are very specific, and your arguments should be as well.
There are indeed a lot of rules in academic writing, but they are only there to make sure you craft superior content.
Once you fully understand the technicalities of becoming an academic writer, you can start to work on your writing speed and get more clients.
All the best.