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Characteristic Features of Academic Writing

It is a great advantage to possess remarkable writing skills as it may come in handy in different areas of life. Academic and personal writing perform different functions. The former is applied in cases where the latter cannot produce the desired effect. Academic writing has specific characteristics:

  • There is a specific structure of expressing ideas and concepts of academic writing. Moreover, the presented facts have to be backed by quotations taken from authoritative sources.
  • Unlike personal writing, the academic one examines different types of concepts and discovers their causes and effects.
  • Different academic writing pieces are produced in a specific manner and stick to the formal grammar, punctuation, and spelling rules.

Structural Peculiarities

Each paper is composed of an introduction, body, and conclusion. This is a common structure of an essay or any other piece of writing. However, some assignments can be structured in a different way.

Structure of an Academic Writing Piece

Usually, university academic papers, unlike those of a personal nature, are based on a rigid structure.


  • When it goes about essays, an introductory section is aimed at informing readers about the topic which will be covered in the body. This paragraph may also present your point of view about the discussed matter. However, it should be expressed in a couple of sentences only. Later, you will analyze it in detail in the body paragraphs.
  • The last paragraph of an essay, i.e. a conclusion gives a summary of the examined points. In addition, this section may indirectly state the direction in which the central issue of the paper may be further researched.


  • The structure of this assignment differs from the previously described one. The purpose of writing a report is to identify the problem and try to find its most appropriate solution.
  • In comparison with essays, a report has a clearly established structure. It is divided into the following sections: introduction, discussion, conclusion, and recommendations.
  • One more distinctive feature of report writing is using bullet points for writing concluding and recommendations sections.


Academic writing differs greatly from other writing types in a way that it requires using citations and making proper references to the authoritative sources.

Citation and References

  • When preparing an academic piece of writing, it is essential to keep in mind that your statements have to be based on hard facts presented in the sources you are referring to.
  • In order to write a reasonable paper objectively presenting the core of the matter, it is necessary to refer to the works of other authors, i.e. make citations. Thus, readers will understand that you have analyzed a large number of sources to research the issue fully.
  • There are a few reference styles which are applied to writing papers. One of them is APA. It is used for referencing writing pieces created in humanities and some social sciences. If to analyze this reference style or any other, it will be clearly seen why it is significant to cite other authors when dealing with academic writing.

Abstract Concepts

It is obvious that each academic topic is based on ideas, theories, and other abstract notions that cannot be physically shaped. See the difference: such writing pieces as CVs or cover letters are focused on performing a practical function, while academic papers are aimed at examining abstract phenomena and establishing a correlation between them. Though an abstract character of some academic subjects prevails, you can use concrete expressions to examine some abstract issues and discover the connection between them.

Exploring Abstract Concepts

  • When dealing with academic writing, you need to perform a detailed analysis of an abstract topic and its facets. Moreover, it is required to find our whether there are any relations with other abstract notions of the same group.
  • Any topic that is concentrated on practical issues is still explored by referring to abstract academic items, i.e. theories, ideologies, etc. Therefore, no matter your topic area, e.g. management, sociology, IT technologies, etc. you need to use different academic methods to explore the practical aspect of the subject you are dealing with.
  • Note that academic writing may be of a different character. Thus, you may be assigned to do a project focused on investigating both abstract and practical matters. Mind that academic writing is rather a complex area. In order to deal with any of its topics, you are to look deep into the addressed question and try to find out not only one acceptable solution, but also alternative directions the issue may be further researched in.

Academic Character

Academic writing pieces as well as those of other types have a specific character which determines the use of words and word combinations.

Key Features of Academic Writing:

  • Objectivity
  • Succinctness
  • Formal style (i.e. no slang, jargon words, contractions are allowed)

The character of an academic writing piece varies depending on its purpose and field of study.

If you want to know exactly what a correct way of producing your paper is, you should follow carefully the guides relating to your course.


When working on your academic project, you should not forget about your audience. Therefore, you will be able to set the right tone of your writing and cover the topic in a proper way.

Note that your paper should be oriented not only to your professor but also to more general audience. You should understand that your work may be read by people who are smart enough but not well aware of all the aspects of your subject.

Grammar and Punctuations Issues

It is vital to follow grammar and punctuation rules when writing an academic work. You have to be sure that readers will fully comprehend the main message of your paper. Correct grammar and punctuation will help you produce a coherent piece of writing.