If you want to develop your academic writing skills then there are ways that you can do this that are not just writing more! If you are busy working on a thesis, for example, you may be wondering if the quality of it is any good and if there’s anything you can do to further improve it.
We will, therefore, provide you with some advice on how you can develop and improve your academic writing by looking at what your readers need and also by reflecting on how your thesis will contribute on a whole.
Consider the Needs of Your Reader
Regardless of what you are writing, your overall objective is to make your academic writing as clear as can be. This means your ideas need to be clear and you need to avoid any confusion. A way of achieving this is to practice your writing, as you will soon begin to feel confident with your style of writing. If you do feel like you are struggling then consider the below:
Make sure you use punctuation correctly to improve your academic writing.
Keep your sentences concise, so avoid lengthy sentences.
Use paragraphs to separate your text into sentences.
If you can use simple words do not overcomplicate things by using difficult words instead.
Your text, for example, needs to include a system whereby the reader is able to tell what is coming next. For example, you could think about including:
An abstract that is well written
Good headings and subheadings
A table of contents that is well detailed
A clear section which introduces the text
From the beginning of your academic writing, it needs to be clear what the intention of the text is.
Remember the basic rules of English
It’s crucial that you pay close attention to those basic aspects of a well-written English text i.e. correct use of punctuation and grammar and accurate spelling. Spelling errors can be easily avoided by meticulous proofreading but you need to do this yourself and you should never rely on proofing software.
It is trickier to get punctuation and grammar correct especially if English is not your first language. You may need to do more research on the use of paragraphs, apostrophes, colons and semicolons and sentence structure.
Spend time to Enhance Quality and Confidence
If you write regularly from the onset of your studies you will take off some of the pressure that you will feel when you get to the end of your studies. If you do spend time practicing your academic writing, you will discover that you’ll find it easier to concentrate on your academic writing, as you will find it easier to put what you are thinking on paper.
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Create a Structure for Drafting
In the beginning, any piece of academic writing that you do will be a work in progress. Always bear in mind that at the start you are working on a draft and not the completed article. Even if you feel you and not doing a good job, continue to write and leave any improvements until you get to the next draft.
This way, you can spend time thinking about what needs to be changed. You don’t need to redraft as you go along, instead, you could create a drafting process to follow.
Ask for Feedback and Apply this in your Academic Writing
A very important aspect is to obtain feedback from your teachers. You may receive feedback that highlights all of the positives in your academic writing before it addresses any weak points. Any feedback that you receive needs to be taken into account. Feel pleased about any positive feedback but is also extremely important to consider your weak areas and act on any feedback in order to overcome these aspects.
Teachers will provide feedback on the content of your academic writing, but you’ll also need to ask them to provide feedback on your writing style and how you could enhance it. As well as asking teachers, you could also ask your friends and family to offer advice on the structure, tone, and phrasing of your academic text and ask them how they think it could be improved.
Be Realistic with your Expectations
It’s not uncommon to worry about the quality of your academic writing, but this should not stop you from going back to a particularly difficult section in your writing. You do need to be realistic about what you expect from your academic writing, as you don’t want to waste time worrying about what to have done instead of getting on with completing it.
It is important to remember that you may just be beginning as an academic writer so you cannot expect, as your teachers will not expect, to see the style of an experienced academic writer.
Always remember to reflect upon what is important when it comes to your academic writing style, as you don’t want to waste time amending the words or phrases that you have chosen to use. Your academic writing will fulfill its aim if you can clearly communicate what you are trying to say.
Remember to use any feedback that your teachers, friends or family have provided so that you can feel rest assured that you’re writing is of a good standard as you have listened and tried to develop and improve your writing skills.
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