Academic writing is a useful skill in certain professions. However, even if you won't need academic writing in your career, you still have to practice it in high school, college, or university. Academic writing is all about intellectual efforts, accuracy, and the ability to follow the necessary requirements. Unfortunately, not all students can boast impressive academic writing skills. If you want to take your academic writing skills to the next level, you need a lot of practice.
However, your practice won't bring the desired results if you don't understand the specifics of academic writing. It's quite different from other types of writing so you must make sure that you're going in the right direction. Besides, writing can take a lot of time. In fact, many students purchase their papers on the internet not because they couldn't write these papers without help but because they simply don't have enough time.
Given that learning academic writing takes a lot of time and dedication, you should also have a certain level of enthusiasm. Let's be honest: academic papers are not always interesting to read. Quite often, research papers, theses, and dissertations turn out to be absolutely boring. The thing is that academic papers can be very niche-specific and not fun to read. However, they cannot be poorly written. You should always follow the rules of grammar and make sure that your writing is easy to understand. Given that you may write about quite complex or too specific concepts, the latter may seem almost impossible.
Fortunately, academic writing does not require you to look for the most beautiful expressions. It must be as easy to understand as possible so it must be clear and concise. On the one hand, you should be able to convey your thoughts in a brief manner. On the other hand, there's no need to use complex terms and jargon. If you can say something using simple words, you should do it. Anyway, one of the most important things is to stick to the formal language and to choose your words carefully to maintain the balance between simplicity and precision.
When writing academic papers, you should clearly understand what your paper is about and what it's based on. You should support all your claims with evidence from reputable academic sources, experiments, or research. Besides, you must create a clear logical structure. Therefore, the best approach is to write an outline first, and then the paper itself. Once you've finished writing, you should also edit and proofread your paper to make sure that there are no grammar errors. You should also check your writing style.
Now let's take a look at some great actionable tips that can help you improve your academic writing skills and develop the right style.
Stick with an objective tone
Academic writing must be impersonal but it shouldn't necessarily be boring. To make your writing less boring, you should be able to create the right structure. However, you cannot make your writing more engaging by using the first person. Even though some modern journals allow authors to use the first person, it's generally not acceptable in the academic world.
In academic writing, you may also find something that's not common in other writing styles, which is the passive voice. Although it's hard to say that the passive voice is encouraged in academic writing, you may use it sometimes to help your readers focus on the action itself, not those who do it. Given that your writing should be impersonal, we also recommend that you avoid adjectives like "remarkable," "awesome," "interesting," etc. Instead, you should let your readers decide whether your work is interesting or remarkable.
Don't waste your words
We've already mentioned that academic writing should be concise. Besides, many types of academic papers also have their word limits. Therefore, you should avoid repetition. Most often, writers repeat themselves when including information from the title in the abstract or introduction. Both the introduction and abstract should provide the most important information about your research, but you should make sure that you don't repeat the same things over and over again.
Another common mistake is including tables or graphs and then repeating information from them in the form of text. You should also avoid any unnecessary words. For instance, you should write that something was red, not "red in color," or that something "demonstrates a difference of 5%," not a "statistical difference of 5%."
Choose words precisely
Science is all about precision and accuracy, and academic writing isn't different. No matter what academic subject you're writing about, the chances are that this area has its specific vocabulary, and you should always take it into account. One of the main goals of academic writing is to help readers understand exactly what you want to say so you must make sure that they won't misinterpret your expressions. For instance, every biologist knows that spiders are not insects, and every physicist knows the difference between weight and mass.
Use qualifiers but don't overuse them
Even though science is always searching for truth, scientists know that what we believe to be true might change as we learn new facts. As people develop more effective tools, they can use more effective methods of research, and their theories evolve. As a result, there are few things that you can be sure about. Therefore, it's hard to find the emphatic language in academic writing. When writing academic papers, you might need to use phrases like "it is likely," "it indicates this," or "it is possible."
At the same time, you must avoid repetition, so don't use phrases like "it may be possible," "it probably suggests that," or "it may indicate." Such phrases make your writing weak and hurt the clarity of your writing.
Avoid colloquialisms and contractions
You can use contractions like "isn't," "don't," "won't," "can't," etc. in everyday conversations and informal writing. However, you cannot use them when writing academic papers. Instead, use "is not," "do not," "will not," and "cannot."
You should also avoid colloquialisms. Of course, they can help you demonstrate how good you are at writing, but you should keep in mind that many academic papers are intended for an international audience, and colloquialisms are specific to a certain type of English (American, British, Australian, Canadian). Besides, every variety of English also has its regional subtypes. One of your main goals is to make your paper easy to understand, no matter who will read it.
Academic writing might be challenging, but you can master it if you have enough practice. You just need to know some basic rules and make sure that you follow the academic standards. Your academic papers should be clear, concise, well-focused, and easy to understand. We hope that these simple tips will help you improve your writing style and create academic papers that bring good grades.
3 Min Read
"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.
I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.
Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.
Find A Need And Fill It
I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.
I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.
Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.
Have Working Capital And Credit
There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.
I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.
Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.
My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.
Know Your Product Thoroughly
I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?
My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.
My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.
Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!
More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.
Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth
I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.
I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.
Delegate From The Bottom Up
I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.
In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.