Academic writing is generally characterized by a formal, impersonal, and technical style of writing. It does not indulge in casual language or the use of informal words. It refrains from the direct reference to people or feelings and instead focuses on objects, ideas, and facts. Academic writing typically uses technical and scientific jargon specific to the research.
However, there is more to academic writing than what people think. It is slightly more nuanced depending upon what it is trying to convey. There are four types or styles of academic writing, descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical.
It is the most straightforward style of academic writing. The purpose of using this style is to describe an experiment, provide a summary, or write down a summary.
The analytical writing style subdivides your research topic or a part of your research topic into categories, parts, or groups to analyze and elaborate different facets of the topic under scrutiny. Either these categories are already a part of your subject, or you make them specifically to elucidate your topic further.
For instance, if you are investigating hyperinflation, you may create subtopics such as fiscal policies that have typically encouraged inflation, monetary policies conducive to inflation, and global market conditions for the export commodities of those economies.
As the name suggests, persuasive writing requires you to ‘persuade’ your reader of your claims using analysis of facts and information. In this writing style, you need to substantiate your claims with proper evidence, such as findings of your research or reference to a published source.
Critical writing differs from persuasive writing such that in addition to your argument, you also provide the opposing argument. Not just that, in critical writing, you can have more than two points of view as well.
For example, you can state a researcher’s perspective on a topic, then debunk that argument using your judgment or argument from other sources.
Now that we have mentioned four different academic writing styles let’s get right into why you shouldn’t underestimate any one of them and why it would serve you well if you have mastery over all of them.
1. Academic papers contain more than one style.
No academic paper is written in one single style. Instead, many techniques are used throughout academic writing.
When writing an academic paper, you will use a descriptive style to write an abstract, summarize your experimental techniques, and provide a detailed account of your methodology in collecting and analyzing information.
Similarly, an analytical writing style is employed while writing the results and the discussion section of your research paper. This would require you to re-organize all the facts and information you have gathered into groups or parts that would make the subject of your study more transparent and more understandable—for instance, the advantages and disadvantagesof each marketing strategy.
You will need to adopt a persuasive writing style for your research proposal, interpretation, and conclusion of your academic paper. Both qualitative and quantitative information will serve as the evidence to consolidate any of your claims or research’s hypothesis. Usually, a paragraph or two describing importance of the research and its subsequent contributions are written as an argument for the need for that research.
For sections where you mention the limitations of your research study or existing literature, you will use a critical writing style. Examples of this writing style include the critique of journal articles or the literature review section in the research paper.Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of existing research and your own helps future researchers make further improvements.
2. Helps you become a better writer
Your writing style is how readers perceive its tone or mood, depending upon sentence structures, syntax, and vocabulary. Each writer has their own writing style. They adopt a specific way of writing based on their interests, knowledge of the language, and the kinds of material they read.
To become a multi-faceted writer, you need to read a lot. Read from various genres and topics and read from different writing styles so that you can inundate yourself with a broader knowledge of writing. Your natural writing style is aregurgitation of what you read, so you need to read more to become a proficient writer.
Reading and practicing different writing styles will make you adept at writing for a wide range of topics, genres, and ideas.
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3. Access to a broader audience
Knowing different styles of writing will help you communicate with a broader audience. In an academic paper, there are parts where you must be comprehensible, not just to the specialist but also to a layperson, especially in this age of the internet, where research papers are available online and are often googled, presumably to learn something new.
For this reason, the abstract, introduction, and conclusion sections of the academic paper need to be written in a simple descriptive writing style with bare minimum use of technical and scientific jargon. The rest of the section is written in a combination of different styles and complex language since it is primarily the specialists’ interest.
4. Helps to communicate effectively
It would help if you used appropriate writing styles for different messages. As we mentioned before, if you are writing an abstract or an introduction, your writing style needs to be simple as your goal is to provide a brief account for your study and create interest for the readers. That would be hard to accomplish with a jargony and analytical writing style.
Similarly, your literature review, methodology, and interpretation sections contain deep and research-specific information. Therefore, that would require you to adopt a writing style that is analytical and follows scientific vernacular.
5. Helps improve the language comprehensively.
If you are a habitual reader that reads from a variety of genres, not only will you become a better writer but also a better speaker. Being exposed to more writing styles helps you develop an effective delivery and cadence for verbal use. This would mean you will develop good presentation skills, which are quite essential for researchers. Researchers often give talks and presentations on their study, so they must be proficient in their language comprehensively.
Author bio: James Oakley is a Senior Writer at Research Prospect at Academic Research. He did his Ms in League Research & Writing Thesis and Dissertations from BrownUniversity, Graduated in 2011. James is an open-minded person who loves to write on different topics on Education. Write suggestions and opinions for improving the education system.