How to Overcome Difficulties in Academic Writing

Academic writing is a skill essential for anyone looking to pursue higher academics. Academic writing is a specific type of writing that involves a lot of reading or material collection, doing in-depth research and critical analysis of scholarly literature, planning of the entire presentation, revising contents and structure, etc. Invariably it ends up involving rewriting, editing, proofreading, and formatting to make it more professional and efficient.

Academic writings can be in the form of essays, term paper, thesis, dissertation, research reports, etc. depending on the core academic activity on which the final manuscript is to be based. While each of these forms has its own peculiarities and specific requirements, there are certain commonalities that every budding academician needs to keep in mind.

The first key element for academic writing is self-organization. Academic writing is different from other forms of writing as it requires strict discipline not only in preparation for the content but also in how the content is presented. Any academic manuscript needs to be organized in a standard format: an introduction that includes the hypothesis or the premise which is essentially what the entire manuscript tries to address; the body of the content, which should include separate paragraphs discussing evidence that supports or negates the hypothesis; and a conclusion that ties everything together and conclusively connects it to the hypothesis. Self-organization starts with narrowing down the planned manuscript to chalk-out a basic outline even before the first words are drafted.

Research of secondary literature or ‘literature review’ is an essential part of any academic writing. Before one delves into one’s own hypothesis and arguments in favor or in opposition to it, it is customary to first review and present the viewpoints/evidence already presented by all others/peers in this field. Any such research needs to be reported with proper citation and accreditation as deemed fit. Plagiarism is a major problem in the field of academic writing and special care needs to be taken to ensure (a) no referencing is missed out for any secondary source of material and (b) the language of presentation is an authors’ own and not just a plain copy-paste of the original manuscript. One can always quote others but that needs to be done in a limited capacity and in proper formatting and protocols for quoting and citations.

Editing of the manuscript is an absolute must for any academic writing. Grammar, style, and punctuation are incredibly important if the article is to be understood and taken seriously. Language and vocabulary are important, and using jargon just to sound smart often results in the opposite effect if used inappropriately as it exposes overcompensating in their writing. Each body paragraph must start with a topic sentence that presents the main idea of the paragraph and express your point of view, and each paragraph much end with its own mini-conclusion of the discussions covered that logically leads to the next paragraph.

Academic writing is a habit developed by practice and is an integral part of the entire academic exercise.