Regardless of your level of education, you’ve most likely written an academic paper—whether you know it or not. Perhaps it was a report for a humanities class, the write-up for a science project or laboratory study, or even the essay on a final exam. So if you’re considering enrolling in a degree program to continue your education, chances are you’re not new to academic writing. However, developing a better understanding of the process can help you more easily reach your higher education goals, particularly if you’re attending an online university.
Storytelling seeks to share an entertaining, dramatic, or profound tale that elicits an emotional response. Journalism seeks to inform. Social media seeks to communicate personal information, keep people connected, exchange ideas, and more. Academic writing, however, seeks to advance our understanding of specific topics—whether for our own educational purposes or to produce research that others may reference in their own studies.
The format for academic writing is actually quite straightforward. You present facts and research, then develop an understanding of how that information fits together to draw a conclusion. Ideally, in writing for academic purposes, we (and others) learn something we didn’t know before.
If you decide to earn your degree online, most of your communication will be in writing. Even your day-to-day interactions with university classmates will be conducted through online forums that require you to express yourself in writing. While that writing may not be specifically researched or graded, you’ll need to make your points clearly and effectively. The academic writing format (evidence, examination, and conclusion) is designed for just that. Additionally, offering clear statements and persuasive arguments can help you in your interactions with professors, even during casual exchanges. A well-thought-out e-mail is always appreciated, particularly when professors may be receiving messages from hundreds of students in their courses.
In addition to presenting facts and drawing conclusions, good academic writing follows other general conventions and rules. Here are some tips to help make your academic writing stronger:
Fundamentally, academic writing is how we convey what we’ve learned. Done well, it can help you excel in all academic settings—online or on campus, undergraduate or graduate—and ultimately, in your chosen field.
Walden University offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, as well as personal assistance with academic writing and many other aspects of your education. Expand your career options as you earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.