Academic writing

At university you will write assignments in a more formal, structured way than you may have done before.

Learning at Lincoln - MacBook sat next to a blank piece of paper on a wooden desk.

During your course, you will have to produce many written assignments, for example, essays, reports, case studies and dissertations. Academic writing uses a particular style which may be unfamiliar at first.

As you progress through your course and read from books and journals, you will start to understand how academic style is different from other styles of writing like fiction or newspaper articles.

“Any courses, along with subject specific lessons, teach us one of the most important lessons anyone can receive, how to write. This in itself is a superpower. As Martin Luther said, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”

Writing is a key element in understanding a concept, as well as crucial in understanding yourself. To write is to manifest your thoughts into a physical form; it is an incredible act of self development.

Regardless of whether you continue in academia or not, regularly writing about your thoughts and the thoughts of others will continue to develop your mind and soul.”

Rich Croxford, 3rd year Politics and International Relations – Things I’ve learned that have got nothing to do with my course

What is Academic Style?

  • Academic style is formal – it avoids slang, the use of colloquial language, clichés or unnecessary jargon.
  • It also avoids shortening words through contractions or abbreviations.
  • Contractions are the substitution of a letter with an apostrophe; for example ‘They’ve…’ would be written as ‘They have…’ and ‘It’s…’ as ‘It is…’
  • Abbreviations are fine for making notes in lectures or when you are reading but not in assessed coursework.
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