SIMPLE STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR ACADEMIC WRITING SKILLS
How to improve your academic writing
A recent survey has revealed that the two mo9st important skills for success in higher education are interrelated skills of writing and reasoning. It was further found out that the skill that most of the students lack is the skill of writing. To improve writing, one should ensure sufficient right evidence. Ideally, one should do thorough research work before starting the writing process with enough new, interesting, and relevant material. Citations indicate the depth of writing and building up the trustworthiness of the author- it is important to credit the sources to avoid plagiarism. The paragraphs and supporting evidence should be ordered in a progression with the right use verbs, transitions, and signal phrases. When writing an academic paper, it is always advisable to avoid using jargon and complex sentence structures as these structures complicate the writing only. Instead, keep in mind a clear sense of the purpose of writing, audience, and genre; this shall help in developing a more effective writing style. There is no substitute for reading to improve writing and reading should not be limited to academic writings only. While academic writing helps in familiarizing oneself with standards and habits of fellow writers, diversified reading shall help in learning new techniques and styles giving an idea on which style works better. Practice makes a man perfect is just not a proverb- the more one practice writing, the better one will shape up as a writer. you will become. Academic paper on any topic can be treated as an assignment for betterment of writing and steadily a style can be developed in this process. One should focus on the overall tone and presenting of ideas instead of focusing on grammar, spelling, and formatting.
How to practice academic writing
One should know what he wants to say before he starts writing. And for this, the easiest way is to narrow down the thesis and make a basic outline before writing. The outline shall consist of a sketch on introduction, the body of the essay where one may include separate paragraphs for presenting the supporting points along with examples and the conclusion where one proposes to tie all the loose ends and connects the argument back with the thesis. It is extremely important that one have a solid grip over grammar, punctuation, and style as without these, communicating the ideas effectively shall be extremely difficult. Similarly, using right vocabulary is extremely important and here complex words and phrases are to be avoided as much as possible. To write a good essay, one should never deviate from the main argument- going tangent would create complexity in the mind of the writer as well as that of the reader. It is important that while writing, one keep asking himself “Does this add value to my thesis?” If the answer is negative, that portion of evidence should be avoided. It is imperative how one start his essay, but one should always strive to capture the reader’s interest immediately. If the opening paragraph catch the eye and engage the brain, the reader shall be glued to the writing in natural process throughout the thesis. All the sentences in the main body of the thesis should explain and support the thesis. While deciding how much evidence to include in an academic thesis, a good guideline is to include at least three main supporting arguments. And one should always remember- most writers stumble in writing the conclusion in the essay. It is the conclusion that tie the research together and builds up the thesis. a strong conclusion briefly outlines the key evidence discussed in the body of the essay and directly ties it to the thesis to show how the evidence proves or disproves the main argument of your research. The final shape of the thesis depends on what kind of format you use, so one should be careful in selecting the format- it is always wise to select one of the conventional formats and not experiment in this regard. A good academic essay shall always go through multiple drafts till it slowly takes the desired shape- so that when one reach at a final draft, he must ensure that the final draft is as close to perfect as possible. And finally, irrespective of the format used, the reference page must be well organized and easy to read so that the readers can see exactly from where the outside information have been taken. And for producing a properly formatted reference page, the writer must get familiarized to specialized phrases and abbreviations, such as “et al”.
Improve content writing skills
The most important to be effective in content writing is how you start the writing, i.e. how striking the headline is. The readers decide from the headline whether to read it or it is worth a miss. Hence if the headline doesn’t strike the emotion cord of the reader and kindle his interest, the desired result from content writing won’t be achieved. Thereafter it is important that the writer create a hook that would draw the attention of the reader. It takes few seconds for the reader to dissociate with the impact of the headline. These few seconds are like ‘moments of truth’- and hence the first sentence of the content should be attractive enough to ensure the reader reads the whole writing. And for this, it is important that the writer does extensive research to ensure he has a thorough knowledge about writing. It is also important that the writer focuses on a single subject and attached to the main subject and doesn’t oscillate between multiple subjects. Content writer also should remember they are the voice of the company- hence the language and the tone should be in line with the organization only.
You have three seconds to keep readers hooked after the headline. The first sentence also plays a role in determining whether they read the rest of your content. As a result, it should capture the reader’s attention and smoothly lead them into your first point- at it is extremely important to be align the tone of writing with the target audience. And one should never forget editing the work as many at times it is possible to. In the process, one can polish the rough edges of the writing. Marked improvement shall be noticed in content if editing can be made a continuous and ongoing process for process.
Academic writing skills examples
Just possessing writing skills doesn’t make a person a good academic writer. Few skills are nearly mandatory for success as a writer- and even more applicable for becoming a good academic writer. Another important skill the writer needs to develop is research on the subject he shall write about. To make the writing stand out from rest, comprehensive research and thorough understanding of topic helps in building the most convincing arguments. A good academic writer must ensure the information he is using for writing is accurate, clear and has relevance to the topic he is writing about. Developing and justifying an argument is an important skill as that help others in better understanding of the perspectives of the writer. A well developed and planned argument is always concise and persuasive. And hence to make the writing effective, the writing should be supported with logical reasoning and references. Another skill the writer needs to possess is the art of writing without grammatical mistakes, punctuation, and spelling mistakes as occurrence of these dilutes the image of the writer in the minds of the readers. Another very important skill is communication skills. Regarding writing, audience means any person or group of people who read your content- it can include stakeholders and customers also. Communication can be of different types with different people and within the same organization also, there can be different types of communication which depend on the level of the person the writer is communicating to communication ro. Communicating with others within your organization may require subtle differences depending on whom you’re talking to. Understanding what kind of tone to take can help you build better relationships. Organizing all the information in the paper is most important to develop a compelling, well-written document. Most types of academic papers follow similar formats e.g., dissertations and papers describing studies include an introduction, background information, objective, methodology, results and findings, recommendations, and conclusion. Keeping the paper well-organized in sections while writing helps in ensuring that the writer makes right arguments and doesn’t repeat information.
Academic writing is always of the nonfiction genre and produced as part of academic work in line with the standards and disciplines of each academic subject, including reports, fieldworks, research in facilities for natural sciences and social sciences, propose new theories, or develop interpretations from archives, as well as undergraduate versions of all of these.
Academic writings can be classified in four categories, viz.
Descriptive- This is the simplest type of academic writing, and its purpose is to provide facts or information.
Analytical- This includes descriptive writing, but also requires re-organizing the facts and information to describe into categories, groups, parts, types, or relationships.
Persuasive- This has all the features of analytical writing i.e., information plus re-organizing the information), with the addition of your own point of view.
Critical- This has all the features of persuasive writing, with the added feature of at least one other point of view. While persuasive writing requires a single point of view on an issue or topic, critical writing requires you to consider at least two points of view, including one of the writers.
Type of academic texts
|A short, self-contained argument, often using sources from a class in response to a question provided by an instructor.
|A more in-depth investigation based on independent research, often in response to a question chosen by the student.
|The large final research project undertaken at the end of a degree, usually on a dissertation topic of the student’s choice.
|An outline of a potential topic and plan for a future dissertation or research project.
|A critical synthesis of existing research on a topic, usually written to inform the approach of a new piece of research.
|A write-up of the aims, methods, results, and conclusions of a lab experiment.
|A list of source references with a short description or evaluation of each source.
The purpose of time management is supporting people in getting better quality and higher volume of work in minimum time. It is the science of coordinating tasks and activities to maximize the effectiveness of an individual’s efforts.
Time management is beneficial in many ways. Planning a schedule, preparing a ‘to-do’ list and thereafter following that helps in monitoring the progress and reduces stress. If someone can manage time effectively, he spends minimum time of unimportant work and focuses on the priorities- thereby delivering quality output. Ones who manage time effectively meet the goals and objective in lesser time and thereby gathering getting extra time to spend on hobbies and other areas of personal interest.
The most practical time management skills are.
- Set smart goals.
- Use the Power Hour
- Batch similar tasks together
- Delegate tasks
- Schedule the To-Do list
- Set up deadlines.
- Block out distractions.
- Stop multitasking.
- Learn to say NO.
- Track the time spent.
- Take regular breaks.
- Deal with stress wisely.
Plagiarism is using someone else’s words or ideas without properly giving the due credit to the original author. Though often it happens accidentally, through carelessness or forgetfulness, sometimes it is done intentionally by stealing the work of someone else.
Plagiarism can be avoided if someone follow the following basic principles:
Don’t delay the research and assignment and get into time-pressure which may lead to poor research and wrong decisions.
If one doesn’t understand the task, take the help of competent people instead of compromising on research and quality.
Be thorough in taking notes. Keep a good record of the sources consulted and ideas taken including illustrations, charts and tables. While writing a thesis, these information are needed for bibliographies and references cited.
Good paraphrasing can avoid plagiarism but that would require genuine understanding of the original source and one has to ensure one is genuinely using his own words and not copying from other sources.