How to write in an academic style
Please be aware that this is very generic guidance only, and that specific programmes may offer different guidance on what is expected from writing in an academic style. Always ask your Tutor for guidance if you are unsure.
1. Create an objective, confident voice
Use the third person (this means not using 'I')
Most of the time you will be expected to use the third person as it enables you to show that you are being objective.
You could try using:
Consider your use of tenses
You need to be clear about whether you are discussing something that happened in the past or something that is having an impact upon the present.
The present tense:
The past tense:
2. Use appropriate language for your audience and purpose
Academic writing need not be complicated, but it does need to have an element of formality. Your choice of words for an academic assignment should be more considered and careful.
Use the full forms of words
Avoid using informal words
3. Be clear and concise
Keep words simple:
Aim for the right word for the right occasion:
The word 'crusade' has connotations of a battle and is more aggressive in tone than the word 'campaign'. 'Campaign' implies a more considered approach
Make every word count:
Avoid any vague words or phrases:
Avoid using clichéd phrases:
4. Use language sensitively
Avoid expressing strong opinions too directly. Academic writing is concerned with presenting your discussion in an objective way, so there is no need to assert your opinions too strongly.
We need to be aware that our views are contributing to a much wider debate surrounding your given topic. Your use of language must show that we you making suggestions which contribute to this wider discussion:
Avoid using taboo language
In academic writing it is important not to offend your reader – you want her/him to trust your judgment and authority. Using swear words or making offensive comments will upset the balance of your writing and undermine your point of view.
Do not stereotype, generalise or make assumptions
This especially applies to individuals or groups on the basis of their gender, race, nationality, religion, physical and mental capacity, age, sexuality, marital status, or political beliefs.
Your use of language should always remain neutral.