Academic Writing Survival Guide

by Chris Devers

Academic Writing Survival Guide for ESL Students

academic writing survival guide
Practical Academic Essay Writing Skills

Intimidated by academic essay writing? If you happen to be new at this (and even if you happen to be not, fairly possibly), intimidation is to be anticipated. There’s nothing effortless or easy about the demands of writing a journal write-up, conference paper, dissertation, or a graduate class paper. Finding out how to combine complicated theory, insightful evaluation, and relevant literature into a coherent package is an art kind that takes years to master.

And since there is often every thing at stake, a grade in a graduate course, a graduate degree, rejection, tenure, or what have you, this tough type of writing comes with some seriously stressful baggage.

So where do you start?

Here  are some academic writing survival guide tips to support you getting started.

1) Create Coherence

Due to the fact the norms of academic writing are so theoretical and challenging, writers sometimes neglect the basics. Your essay has to make sense! Stop trying to sound academic, and concentrate on writing something that’s readable. Yes, this can be a chore when you’re writing about a  complicated topic, but it’s so essential. Clarify terms that could be unfamiliar to the reader and assume that the reader is a novice at these ideas. You can not keep away from jargon when you write about an academic topic, but you can explain jargon. Create a fairly detailed outline consisting of a thesis statement that previews your essay. Err on the side of straightforward sentence structure and language. If you can say the same point in fewer words, do it.

2) Use Your Personal Voice

Academic writing includes lots of quotes, and it’s easy to overdo your use of quotes in a way that obscures your own voice. Frequently define concepts in your own words, and if possible, use original examples to explain these concepts. It really is so tempting just to throw in a quote from somebody well-known to clarify an idea, but do not unless you happen to be employing this to back up an explanation you have already made. Don’t be afraid to write the way you speak.

3) Use Examples

A single mistake novice academic writers make is to make claims about a text (a literary piece, a television show, or whatever it is they’re analyzing) or situation without having backed up their claim with evidence. If you happen to be creating an argument about a text, you need textual evidence. For example, if you make a claim that a novel represents girls in a particular way, you need to have to go over a number of scenes in the novel that illustrate that claim. If you make a claim that “research show that violent video games aren’t as damaging to kids as folks consider,” then you want to go over a handful of the research examples. Even if your paper is mainly about theory, it is essential to back up claims you make about theory with distinct theoretical passages.

4) Cite Sensibly

Discover a balance with citations. Your bibliography and in-text citations do need to have to be extensive. You have to do your homework so that you don’t leave out any crucial writings in the field. It is also essential to check recent books and journal articles to make sure you’re not missing something important that just came out. On the other hand, you can overdo your citations. Don’t cite references that are only connected tangibly to your study. One thing to avoid is the bottomless references.

For example, Investigation shows that violent video games are not as dangerous as men and women feel (Ackerman, 2000, 2001, 2002 Brown, 2007 Cohen, 2004, 2005, 2008 Donohue, 2003 Fohery, 2007, 2008 Garcia, 2003, 2005 Hill, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 Jackson, 2001, 2003…)

You get the idea. It really is better to just contain a few important references and then to spend some time explaining relevant ideas.

5) Know Your Style Guides

There’s no way around this tedious task. You need to know APA, MLA, Chicago, or whatever it is your field uses. Get a book and know your stuff. Unfortunately, undergraduate classes typically don’t prepare students well enough for the style guide information they’ll want as a graduate student, so it might be up to you to pick up that book and figure it out for yourself.

6) Keep Practicing

Academic writing does get less difficult. Like every thing else, you need to practice your writing and discover as you go. There is a logic behind academic writing that does start to make much more sense after a while, so do not give up.

Write your way to a BA