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English classes taken in middle school, and sometimes in the early years of high school, provide the basics, but many students lose these skills before they begin college.
Professors in all majors expect students to enter their courses with high-level writing skills. A gap in skill level is often met with remedial English courses in the first semester of college.
Use this guide to refresh your knowledge of basic grammar rules, and to understand what you need to know and apply in your college classes. This resource can also serve as a reference as you complete your first written assignments.
Types of Academic Writing There are different writing styles, each with a different purpose or audience. There are situations in which one style will be more appropriate than another, and there is a variety of strategies you can use to approach the work.
This section of our guide provides an overview of the writing types you will likely encounter as a college student. Argument Papers Assignments that require you to support a position, claim or opinion involve a persuasive writing approach.
These papers are framed with a thesis statementwhich introduces a focused assertion. Tips for writing argument papers include: Clearly describe the central issue, position or premise. Provide evidence that supports the position presented in your thesis statement.
Develop a conclusion based on the evidence you provided. Research Papers Research papers can take multiple forms, depending on the purpose and specific requirements of your class assignment. This format can be used to describe the methods used in your own research project, present the results of a research project and to describe the research that has already been completed in an area of interest.
Some assignments require a combination of these approaches. These papers typically include formal sectionssuch as an introduction, review of existing research literature, analysis, discussion of results and conclusion. Tips for writing research papers include: Develop a clear and focused research question, hypothesis, thesis or topic.
Identify relevant sources, including previous research reports. Analyze the results found in your sources. Describe how results answer your research question, prove or disprove your hypothesis, support your thesis or expand knowledge of your topic.
Expository Papers Similar to argument and persuasive essays, expository papers require you to research an idea or concept and provide supporting evidence. This type of writing includes a thesis statement, as well as the logical presentation of sources that address the idea you are exploring in your paper.
A five-paragraph format is typical for expository essays: This form of writing is often used to evaluate your knowledge of a topic and can be included in exams. Tips for writing expository papers include: Determine the approach required for the assignment: Write a concise thesis statement that presents your topic, but does not include opinion.
It's to avoid writing in the second person. When you refer to someone with the phrase 'you', you act as if you are speaking to them. However, when one uses the word "one", it is as if one is speaking in general terms, not refering to any specified individual. For the most part, the claims you will be making in academic writing will be claims of fact. Therefore, examples presented below will highlight fallacies in this type of claim. For an argument to be effective, all three elements—claim, support, and warrant—must be logically connected. Thus, avoid contractions in scholarly writing, except for under the following circumstances: If you are reproducing a direct quotation that contains a contraction (e.g., a quotation from a research participant), leave the contraction as-is.
Research existing information about your topic. Provide objective evidence and relevant information found in your research.
Provide a conclusion that connects supporting information with the thesis statement. Exam Essays Professors often use written exams to measure your knowledge of a specific topic, understanding of a complex concept or comprehension of course reading and resources.
These essays can include components of argument and persuasion, research and exposition, as directed by your instructor. The first step in preparation for essay exams is to complete all of your course reading assignments, participate in discussions and organize your notes and study time.
This should take place throughout the course, not just in time for the exam date. Tips for exam essay writing include: Create a rough outline that sets up the scope and sequence of your essay, as well as critical concepts and sources you should include.
Develop a response that presents a clear main point or argument and organized supporting points. Monitor your progress if the written exam is timed.
Academic Proposals Academic proposals are typically written as part of grant applications or for professional conference presentations.
They often outline a research plan or project idea with a goal of gaining support from another group. This type of writing is more common in graduate-level study, but may be encountered by undergraduates involved in collaborative research projects with professors and other students.
Tips for writing academic proposals include:Checklist of language to avoid in academic writing. 1. Do not use contractions Contractions are the words formed from two abbreviated words, such as "don't", "can't" and "won't".Please write the full words.
and academic writing takes place in what is considered a formal context. In addition, academic essays are expected to be clear and To make your essay more formal, make sure that you avoid features of informal language in your writing: Features of informal language Contractions Using Appropriate Words in an Academic Essay.
In academic writing you are expected to use formal language.: Avoid using colloquialisms or slang terms such as 'sort of' or 'basically'. Instead you could use 'somewhat' or 'fundamentally'. You can avoid charges of plagiarism by following some essential guidelines in researching and writing your research paper: Always start by stating your own research question or thesis or by restating your assignment clearly and completely in your own words.
To avoid being accused of plagiarism, you need to give credit to the concepts, facts, ideas and words you find from other sources and use in your papers.
You give credit by properly using quotations or paraphrases and always providing correct citation and reference information whenever you do so.
In academic writing you want to avoid using a personal voice, such as I and me, as much as you can. You also want to avoid using a passive voice.