If you are writing an academic paper, the content is undoubtedly vital to success. Nonetheless, you also need to ensure that your writing skills meet academic standards. In other words, if you want to publish your academic work in an appropriate journal, style is as important as content. The advice about technique in this article draws upon hard-won knowledge and will help you succeed.
You may well be passionate about your research. However, when you come to write an academic paper, you need to be detached and professional. The best tone to adopt when writing is one of objective analysis Every point that you make must be clear and expressed without bias.
Formal not Casual
Your writing style in an academic paper most be formal. The casual style of writing that you may use in an email, letter, or blog is usually unsuitable. For example, do not begin a sentence with a conjunction or adverb such as “but” or “also.” You should avoid contractions as well, which means you should prefer, for example, “could not” to “couldn’t.” You should also be cautious about writing as you speak. Almost everyone’s speech is full of colloquialisms and phrases that have no place in formal writing.
Before you begin writing an academic paper, plan how you intend to express your arguments and theories. The points that you make should flow smoothly from one to the other. Similarly, your sentences and paragraphs should proceed clearly without any unexpected interruptions about other issues that will confuse the reader. An excellent working principle is to begin a paragraph with the main point that you intend to make; then, support this point with appropriate text. In this regard, a paragraph may prove to be quite long. However, this does not matter as long as the reader can follow what you are saying.
The issue of flow relates closely with coherence in an academic paper. Coherent academic text is logical and consistent. This phrase, “logical and consistent,” sums up exactly what you want your arguments and propositions to be. Another way of approaching this issue is to think in terms of clarity. Your style of academic writing must be clear to ensure that your research and findings are immediately understandable.
British and American English
Always establish whether an academic journal prefers your paper to be in British or American English. These two types of English are the predominant forms that journals use. Some journals are specific on this point; others are flexible but insist on the consistent use of either British or American English. Adopting one or the other affects your style of writing. Spellings differ, as do some phrases and terms. Decide on the type of English; and when in doubt about a word or phrase, use the Oxford English Dictionary for British English and Webster’s Dictionary for American English. Both dictionaries have online versions.
A well-written academic paper has a distinct style. Above all, it is clear and easy for people to read, no matter how complex the subject. When you write your next paper, employ the above guidance. Moreover, when you read published papers from now on, do not note the content; study the style of writing.