Writing Academic Papers

When you go to university or college you’ll have to write academic papers as part of your degree course. The academic papers are used by your teachers and professors to test your knowledge and ability to find new information.

Writing academic papers is an important part of your degree course, so the sooner you’re able to write them well, the sooner you’ll be able to start getting maximum marks.

There are three main ideas that you’ll need to understand to be able to write good academic papers.

1) Academic papers are written by scholars to be read by other scholars
When writing academic papers you're writing for other people with at least the same levels of knowledge as you. This means that you need to keep the contents advanced. If the contents of your academic paper are too basic you won’t get any marks.

When writing academic papers always push yourself to read, understand and write about the most complex and advanced information relating to your topic. This'll help to get you maximum marks and it’ll also help your academic development, as you need to know and understand as much information as possible.

Writing academic papers takes time and concentration.

2) Write about a topic that's of interest to the academic community
You might not always be assigned a specific topic about which to write. In this case you’ll have to decide on your own topic. Your topic will need to be of interest to the academic community. This means that it’ll need to add information; that has been fully referenced. You can’t just offer your own opinions and hope that they’re correct.

3) Present a fully argued view point
Following on from point 2, you need to present the evidence, that what you’re saying is correct. You need to include quotations from your source material, or even better, paraphrase or summarize your source material, and fully reference them, so that your arguments flow naturally, in your own voice, when writing academic papers.

Use your source material to support your argument and point of view. Show that what you’re saying is correct and can be supported from information written by other academic writers.

When writing your academic paper you need to decide what you know and what you think.

What you know includes any knowledge you’ve before you start to write and anything you learn while researching your topic and reading relevant material.

What you think is your analysis of your knowledge or source material. As you read your source material and start to organize it you’ll be forming opinions about it and about the structure of your academic paper. You’re thinking about your topic.

A well written academic paper contains two parts:

  • The information and your arguments.
  • The language and words used in the writing.

For you to be able to produce good academic writing and well written academic papers, you need to remember that the information you present and the arguments you use are the most important parts. You'll get marks for these parts. The writing and language used is less important, but it still needs to be correct.

Remember to follow the academic writing process and correctly reference your sources so you won’t be accused of plagiarism. The language used should present your argument and information in a clear and concise way. To do this the language needs to be correct so that the reader won’t notice it. Also, it needs to follow the accepted norms for academic writing. See the pages about:

if you need further help.

Once you’ve finished writing your academic paper you’ll need to do academic proofreading to find all the mistakes and to improve the quality of the language you’ve used. The English proofreading section of this site also has articles to help with proofreading. These include:

If you’d like any extra help with proofreading and improving your academic paper I can help you and can offer advice about how to make it better before submitting it. I won’t write it for you, but I'l help improve what you’ve already written. See the page about my proofreading service. Alternatively you can visit the Excellent Proofreading and Writing Facebook page where I’m happy to answer your questions and offer advice.

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