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Academic writing is an integral part for graduate students who are aiming to graduate in most of the academic learning institutions around the world, so knowing how to write well matters. Showing the ability that a student possesses a basic level of knowledge of vocabulary requirement in obtaining your degree in any higher institution of learning around the world.
There are different forms of academic writing which graduate students are expected to be familiar with during their cause of study. They include 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, graduates. Students who are aspiring for success in universities are expected to use this style of expression in their projects and theses. It has its rules and tone.
"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 you have only a very limited view of the issue you are discussing, rather than a view of the broader picture. First and second person pronoun can also make your work sound self-righteous and can usually make your work less concise"
http://owll.massey.ac.nz/academic-writing/1st-vs3rd-person.php (online) Massey university .available from http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/home.cfm. Accessed 21 April 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 we have purpose for writing to our friends and family. "Academic writing is to search for a truth based on objective evidence".
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.
Marian Fitzmaurice and Roisin Donnelly (2009) Resource pack on academic writing &referencing (online).Dublin Institute of Technology. Available from
General guidelines of academic writing.
Don't write the way you speak
It is very easy to write as you speak, but in academic writing you do not write as if you are having a conversation because in conversation your audience can ask you to clarify any expression that they do not understand, but academic writing stands on its own, usually academic writers will not be there when their work is been used so as a result you need to write clearly and put in significant effort in putting together good sentences, paragraphs. Academic writing takes a lot of effort to write but must be easy to read.
Focus on the topic
Focus on the topic of your thesis, do not deviate from the topic, your document should clearly maintain the focus .You don't have to say everything but say relevant and important things knowing fully well that your readers are only interested in your main topic.
Write what you mean, mean what you write
Avoid 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. Avoid these phrases if it is possible; let the word you write mean exactly what you say. If there are no miles involve in your writing do not write extra.
Read over your writing whenever you have finished a sentence or paragraph and check for repetitive words, if you can convey your message with two words, do not use ten. Your strength to write concisely is much important than your strength to fill up a page with text.
Smooth transition from your preceding sentence to the next sentence is very important, structuring your paragraphs and sentences gives your reader a proper understanding, let what your readers should know first come first before the second, third and so on. Avoid idea jumbling.
Dr. James. A Bednar (2010/04/08) Tips for Formal writing (internet) university of Edinburg. Available from<http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/jbednar/writingtips.html
After understanding the skills and tasks involved in academic writing, then you need to understand how to reference the source of a piece of academic writing correctly with a distinctive and uniform referencing style is as important as the writing itself. There are different ways of referencing, for example we have 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 your 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 graduate students and anyone involved in writing because to fail 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 you given the writer the credit due to them. A graduate 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 students often commit this offence unknowingly due to lack of proper referencing andthis 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.