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A Guide To Academic Writing English Language Essay

Academic writing is an integral part of my studies as postgraduate student, as I aim to graduate in this college with very good grade, so therefore knowing how to write well matters to me and my ability as postgraduate student to possess a basic level of knowledge of vocabulary requirement in obtaining my degree in this higher institution of learning and others around the world.

There are different forms of academic writing that i as post graduate student is expected to be familiar with during my cause of study. I will mention these few types such as essay, academic proposal, and abstract, executive summary, dissertation or thesis, lab reports and business report.

Academic writing indicates a particular style of expression or analysis of knowledge. A style of writing common in academic environment. It is a style of writing used by undergraduates, lecturers, postgraduates. As I am aspiring for success in this university, I am expected to use this style of expression in my projects and theses and adhere to its rules and tone.

Massey University argues that traditional academic writing discourages the use of first or second person (“I”, “we”, “you”, etc). This is because it does not sound objective. Instead, it sound as though i have only a very limited view of the issue I am discussing, rather than a view of the broader picture. First and second person pronoun can also make my work sound self-righteous and can usually make my work less concise.

(Massey University, 2010)

Academic writing is not limited to students alone those in business also need a good writing skills that is needed in today’s business world. There is a purpose for academic writing just as i have purpose for writing to my friends and family. “Academic writing is to search for a truth based on objective evidence”.

Fitzmaurice and Donnelly, 2009, discuss that a familiar hindrance in academic writing is how to come up with a regular tone which is accurate for an academic audience. When writing for an academic audience there is certain rules of conduct that must be followed these consist of sourcing of the research-base, critiquing the discussion in the jurisdiction, and making connection between the discussion and your own experience and referencing.

(Fitzmaurice. M and Donnelly R, 2009)

General guidelines of academic writing.

Bednar. A provides some general guidelines that in my own opinion has helped me in following the rules of academic writing, the tone and speech involved. Some of these guidelines that I have used in completing my project are discussed below.

Don’t write the way you speak

It is very easy to write the way i speak, but in academic writing you do not write as if you are having a conversation because in conversation my audience can ask me to clarify any expression that they do not understand, but academic writing stands on its own, usually I will not be there when my work is been used so as a result i need to write clearly and put in significant effort in putting together good sentences and paragraphs. Academic writing takes a lot of effort to write but in my understanding I believe it can be easy to write and easy to read if a lot of effort put in.

Focus on the topic

I focussed on the topic of my thesis, I tried not deviate from the topic, my document should clearly maintain the focus .I don’t have to say everything but say relevant and important things knowing fully well that my readers are only interested in your main topic.

Write what you mean, mean what you write.

I avoided the use of colloquial phrases that are generally used in informal conversations to express meanings other than what the words literally indicate. Examples of such phrases could be “going extra mile”, “at the end of the day”, etc. I avoided these phrases as possible as I could; I let the word i write mean exactly what i say. If there are no miles involve in my writing, i do not write extra.

Avoid redundancy

I made sure i read over my writing whenever i have finished a sentence or paragraph and check for repetitive words, if i can convey my message with two words, i do not use ten. My strength to write concisely is much important than my strength to fill up pages with text.


Smooth transition from my preceding sentence to the next sentence is very important, structuring my paragraphs and sentences gives my readers a proper understanding, I let what my readers should know first come first before the second, third and so on. I avoided idea jumbling.

( Bednar A. 2009,)

After understanding the skills and tasks involved in academic writing, then i needed to understand how to reference the source of a piece of academic writing correctly with a distinctive and uniform referencing style which is important as the writing itself. There are different ways of referencing, for example there is the Harvard style, the APA, the parenthetic and so on. For the purpose of this essay the Harvard style is used to reference the source. Referencing distinguishes my ideas from the ideas of other people and giving them the credit necessary.

Understanding how to reference a piece of academic writing properly is very important for postgraduate students and anyone involved in writing because failing to reference a work can lead to the writer been charged with an offence called plagiarism, which is referred to as academic theft. Plagiarism could be coping from your fellow classmates, published articles, websites, cd’s, and so on without me given the writer the credit due to them. A postgraduate student caught with this act could face severe penalties like been scored zero mark, deduction of marks, be asked to repeat the writing and so on depending on the outcome of the disciplinary committee who will consider the extent of the writing that were deemed plagiarized. Sometimes postgraduate students often commit this offence unknowingly due to lack of proper referencing and this cost them dearly.

Paraphrasing is a good skill in academic writing and students should be aware of the danger because it is trying to modify or changing a few words from another person’s work to form part of your writing. Even though the skill is considered very well by the academic institutions, the paraphrased works still need to be referenced in other to avoid plagiarism.


Academic writing is not just about filling up the pages of the essay, dissertation, project and so on. It requires some understanding and skills necessary in writing. postgraduate students around the world must be able to not just write but write properly, using the appropriate tone, understanding the audience, carrying the audience along by the flow of their writing. A good academic writing will have a purpose and it must be strictly followed, it is not leaping in and out of the topic area, which is the reason why a detail investigation about the topic is very essential before I start writing.

Also, referencing my sources of information is very crucial in academic writing, the referencing style i choose must be uniform, that is i don’t mix Harvard style of referencing with APA style. This is not an acceptable practice in academic writing .I gave the credit necessary to the owner of any idea i have used in my academic writing because if i do not reference or reference correctly I would be committing a literary theft which is no longer acceptable practise in academic field and because of this, there has been strong emphasis to fight this practise in the academic word.

All postgraduate students must have the basic understanding of how to write well and their grammatical construction up to the task before they graduate from universities.

Academic writing is a difficult task but it can be made easy if i understand the principles of writing and i can also make a good living out of writing if i know how to write well.


Bednar, A. 2010, ‘Tips for Formal Writing’ (internet) General guidelines, accessed 21st April 2010, from http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/jbednar/writingtips.html.

Fitzmaurice, M & Donnelly R. 2009, ‘Resource pack on academic writing and referencing’, (internet) section 1: writing assignment, accessed on 21st April 2010, from http://www.dit.ie/.../LastRevisedAcademicReferencingResourcePack

Massey university, 2009, ‘Academic writing’ (internet) Introduction to academic writing 1st vs. 3rd person, accessed 15th April 2010, from http://owll.massey.ac.nz/academic-writing.php

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