Academic Writing – Do’s and Don’ts

Learning how to write in an academic way doesn’t have to be difficult; there are a few simple do’s and don’ts.

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Here is a handy list of do’s and don’ts, with a brief explanation of a few key issues:

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t use contractions
  2. Don’t use colloquialisms
  3. Don’t use personal pronouns
  4. Don’t use hyperbole
  5. Don’t be imprecise
  6. Don’t use vulgarisms
  7. Don’t use combinative verbs

Explanation:

  1. Contractions should never be used in an academic document; the only time they can be used is if a different source is being quoted directly.
  2. Colloquial terms are fine for class discussions; however, they are wholly inappropriate for an academic piece of work. One of the reasons for this is that some people may not be privy to the meaning of any slang you may use.
  3. Using personal pronouns (I, me, mine) can undermine the credibility of your work, as these create a subjective tone. You want your academic writing to sound as objective as possible, as this removes any hints of bias in your writing.

Do’s

  1. Do use advanced vocabulary
  2. Do use subject-specific terminology and language
  3. Always use the correct abbreviations and acronyms
  4. Do ensure that all of your references are accurate
  5. Do employ perfect grammar and punctuation
  6. Do format your document
  7. Do make use of professional proofreading services

Explanations:

  1. Using advanced vocabulary and subject-specific terms demonstrates your breadth of reading and understanding of your specific topic.
  2. To abbreviate correctly, you must first write the term out in full, then include the abbreviation in brackets. After the first full introduction, it is fine to use the abbreviation.
  3. Make sure your document doesn’t contain poor grammar, punctuation errors or spelling mistakes, and is formatted so that it is easy on the eye on looks professional.
  4. If you are unsure about the academic quality of any of your work, contact a student proofreading service.
15 May 2014

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