The forms of expository and argumentative prose used by university students and researchers to convey a body of information about a particular subject.
Generally, academic writing is expected to be precise, semi-formal, impersonal, and objective.
Central Values of Academic Writing
"When you write college papers, you need to remember that you are situated within an academic community [with] clear expectations for what your papers should do and how they should look.
While you cannot learn the particular methods and conventions of every discipline . . ., you can be aware of the central values to which its members subscribe:
- Truth. . . .
A successful college paper will demonstrate that its writer can use the knowledge and methods of the discipline in which it has been assigned to reveal something that is true.
Scholars in all disciplines use credible evidence to support the truths they find. . . . Always document your sources for this evidence.
- Balance. . . .
Academic convention suggests that you present your inferences, assertions, and arguments in neutral, serious, non-emotional language and be fair to opposing points of view.
(Toby Fulwiler and Alan Hayakawa, The Blair Handbook. Prentice Hall, 2003)
Methods of Academic Writing: "They Say/I Say"
"In our view . . . the best academic writing has one underlying feature: it is deeply engaged in some way with other people's views. Too often, however, academic writing is taught as a process of saying 'true' or 'smart' things in a vacuum, as if it were possible to argue effectively without being in conversation with someone else. If you have been taught to write a traditional five-paragraph essay, for example, you have learned how to develop a thesis and support it with evidence.
This is good advice as far as it goes, but it leaves out the important fact that in the real world we don’t make arguments without being provoked. Instead, we