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What is academic writing? The Difference from Other Writings

You have heard the term academic writing many times but still couldn’t figure out what it means, right? Academic writing is more than putting formal words on paper or the computer screen if you are typing. You need this skill for acing your assignments while it is also used in scholarly publications.

Yes, you can encounter them in journal articles and some books. And that’s just a glimpse of fantastic knowledge about academic writing coming your way in the following paragraphs. Let’s focus on answering what academic writing is.

What is Academic Writing – Everything you need to know

If you are into learning everything about academic writing, this is undoubtedly the best place to be. Since academic writing is more than staying formal with your assignments, you should also know its types and importance. This exciting blog post covers everything, so keep reading it until the end.

Getting to know academic writing better (Academic writing skills)

The best way to understand academic writing is to know its features. It means that if you want to make your writing feels like academic writing, it must be:

  • Properly Structured
  • Supported by credible evidence
  • Showcasing to have tested your critical thinking skills
  • Perfectly balanced
  • Precisely written
  • objective
  • Formal in writing style

Fear not, as we will discuss these in some detail below. So, keep on reading.

Proper structuring of academic writing (academic style)

It could go with the other types of writing as well. Think of a building that also takes proper structuring or will only stay tall for a short time. Ensure your essay has a proper introduction, including the thesis statement, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Most importantly, you must ensure cohesion throughout your write-up. Cohesion? Yes, all your paragraphs must be well-connected with the essay’s main idea. Academic writing can be very complicated; it often contains a wide range of vocabulary specific to science or engineering fields. For this reason, you must learn how to structure your sentences correctly so they make sense when read by another person.

The pro tip for proper structuring is investing some quality time in the planning stage.

Credible evidence

You must support your arguments in academic writing assignments with credible evidence. For that, you may refer to a recent study relevant to the information you have imparted. Or use expert field knowledge about the same.

Either way, remember the proper referencing of information which is one of the critical elements of good academic writing. Academic writers should include references at appropriate places throughout each page. 

Critical Thinking

Just a few facts and figures are not compulsory, but your opinion is also necessary! Analyze or evaluate a fact and give your judgment about the same. To develop critical thinking skills, you must research the topic well. Indeed, it will consume your time, but it is crucial for your academic writing skills.


Academic writing requires you to consider every side of the subject under discussion or avoid being biased about something. In short, it is more about balancing your ideas with others to prove your stance or to showcase why you are right.

The balance in academic writing is commonly achieved using hedges such as ‘the research indicates.’

Academic Writing Style

Whether you are writing an essay, a research based academic paper, or working out any other academic task, ensure to write it precisely and in clear words for the readers’ understanding.

Usually, such write-ups are intended for people related to specific fields, which implies that you have to use technical vocabulary known to them. It doesn’t mean you should omit important information, but it simply means putting in enough that is necessary.

Vocabulary is an integral part of academic writing, and using the right words is imperative. There’s no harm in using technical words related to the field. The best ways of improving your vocabulary for academic writing is to:

– Use a dictionary or thesaurus when writing (or even reading). It will help ensure that your sentences are clear and precise.

– Read books on the topics related to what you want to write about since reading helps improve one’s vocabulary.

The Objective Approach

You should know that academic writing is objective rather than subjective. Unlike creative writing, a writer must emphasize information and arguments rather than himself. For example, a writer can’t say that I cooked the dinner; instead, he’ll say that the dinner was cooked. You are guessing it right; academic writing uses passive voice more. 


Academic writing needs you to make use of long and complex sentences. Plus, you must avoid using informal words or information, including colloquial language. Some academic vocabulary words and phrases are available to use in such research papers or essays. Moreover, the tone of academic writing is often dry or stilted, but it can take on a variety of styles as well.

Indeed, you have understood the features of academic writing. Let’s read about the different types of academic writing.

Common Types of Academic Writing

There are several types of academic writing. Most commonly, this skill is tested for:

Narrative essays

Narrative essays are stories about real or imaginary events. Here you can also write about your own life or a fictional story. All you need is to develop a plot, characters, and dialogue.

The primary purpose of a narrative essay is to tell an exciting story using language that appeals to the reader’s emotions and imagination. If you are showing interest in this type then narrative essay topics will take you many steps ahead to pursue the interest.

Expository essays

Expository essays are used to explain, inform, or describe a topic. They are typically longer than other types of academic writing and can be used to introduce or explain a topic. In an expository essay assignment, a student is required to:

  • Research or investigate an idea
  • Work on evaluating the evidence
  • Explain or expound on the idea
  • Finally, form an argument in a concise manner 


Reviews are opinion pieces that give an overview of a text and its author. They should be subjective, meaning they can’t be objective or scientific.

For example, if you read the same book as your friend, you may have different opinions about how it affected you personally. Reviews should include a summary of the text (including any positive or negative aspects) and a brief analysis of what makes this work exceptional for its genre.

In addition to being subjective and informative on content matters such as plotlines and character development: reviews should also contain some form of opinion from either the reviewer themself or another related source. 

Research papers

Research papers are documents that present the results of an investigation. It can include data and information but also how you arrived at those conclusions. Research papers are used in academia to determine a theory’s or hypothesis’s validity, which may be used as part of another research project.

Research papers often include charts and graphs.

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How is Academic Writing Different Than Creative Writing?

Academic writing is often confused with creative writing, whereas the two are very different. Academic writing aims to impart knowledge to the targeted readership, like writing medical journals, essays, a thesis, or more.

On the contrary, creative writers express their emotions, ideas, and feelings about a situation by initially using language. Useful for storytelling, expressing feelings, or even creating an advertisement.

Fundamental Differences

Creative writers are often familiar with the subject matter they are writing about. They may have studied the topic at school or college and become familiar with its many facets. Or, they may find themselves in situations where they must use their knowledge of certain things to create something related to their experience.

Academic writing is based on research and analysis of a topic. It can be anything from an article, book review, or research paper.

To write academic papers well, you must do excellent research into your topic to give it credibility and back up all claims made in the article/paper with evidence from credible sources, such as books written by specialists in the field.

Understanding the Two Concepts a bit further 

When you use creative writing, you express your emotions, ideas, and feelings about a situation. It can be anything from something you have experienced to something that has been seen, heard, or even read about. You may also write about an idea or feeling that is important to you.

For example, I was walking through the park with my friends when we saw this beautiful bird sitting on a branch nearby. It looked like it was waiting for something; perhaps another bird would come along soon.

When you write an academic paper, you need to consider the audience, the purpose of the paper, and any relevant issues in your topic area. The audience can be defined as people who will read or use your work for some purpose.

For instance, if you are writing about a professor’s research and it is published in their book, then this would be an example of an academic paper written for an academic audience.

Is it right to equate academic writing to thinking?

Writing is one of the best ways to evaluate our ideas about the subject. It makes your brain go through a lot of information and experiences, even when making notes in class.

Here’s how you can equate academic writing to thinking:

– Academic writing makes you invest time brainstorming and researching credible evidence to protect your stance on the issue.

– It requires you to interpret complicated ideas or concepts in your words.

– One form of academic writing is an argumentative essay which requires you to evaluate the viewpoints of others. Hence you need to view an issue from someone else’s perspective.

– Essays and assignments are always a challenge for the student. Therefore he goes through a lot when finding a solution. Even if he’s failed, his critical thinking abilities still get better.

Take Away

Academic writing is a vital skill; having one will always give you an edge as a student. Yes, because such writing is required to work out essays, research papers, dissertations, and more. Here a writer needs to use formal language or a formal tone and focus squarely on the subject matter.

This blog post must have helped you understand academic writing well and saved you the effort of typing what academic writing is or defining academic writing in the Google search bar again.

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