A small guide to Academic Writing
A small guide to
Academic WritingA small guide to Academic Writing
Language and Style
Academic texts should be factual, concise and accurate. Conversatio-
nal English should be avoided and facts and figures should be written
in a clear manner. Choose words precisely and carefully so that the
reader can accurately understand the concepts within the text.
In academic writing you need to acknowledge the complexity of the
subject matter through critical analysis. You can do this through
asking questions and examining and evaluating evidence. Through
critical analysis you are able to add a new perspective to a subject
instead of just rewriting what has already been written.
In general, academic texts are impersonal and objective in nature. This
means that the main emphasis should be on evidence and arguments
and not based on personal opinion and feelings. The use of perso -
nal pronouns such as ‘I’, ‘we’ and ‘you’ should be avoided as much as
possible.A small guide to Academic Writing
In academic texts it is important to present material in a coherent
and structured manner. Planning and organizing the structure of
the paper gives your work a sense of direction and helps the reader
understand the text. It is important to have a clear, logical structure
throughout the entire paper, both at the overall level (chapters and
sections) as well as the detailed level (paragraphs and sentences).
Academic texts of all kinds should always have an introduction where
you indicate the focus of the paper and a conclusion that ties together
issues covered in the paper.
Longer texts may require the use of subheadings, although you should
not use too many. Well-structured paragraphs will give the text an
organized appearance and help guide the reader. The text should be
divided into body paragraphs ensuring that each paragraph deals with
one main point or theme and that each paragraph transitions well into
the next.A small guide to Academic Writing
All academic work builds on the contributions of others. It is therefore
important to refer to current and relevant research in your writing and
report where you found your material. You can do this through speci-
fying your sources according to the reference system that is used in
your course or program. There are many die ff rent referencing systems
but some of the more common ones include: Harvard, Oxford and
If your text is too close to the original source you can be charged with
plagiarism. You can use direct quotations but do so sparingly. If direct
quotes are used make sure you use quotation marks and that you cite
the source properly. In order to avoid plagiarism you must always
acknowledge the original source in your work through referencing and
Your text should always end with a reference list.A small guide to Academic Writing
Checklist for academic texts
My text is factual and avoids personal opinions.
My text does not use conversational speech.
I avoid using personal pronouns as much as possible.
I have proofread my paper and corrected any spelling errors.
My text has an introduction and a conclusion.
My text has a clear purpose or a clearly formulated question to answer.
My text is divided into paragraphs according to the principle “one
thought per paragraph”.
I have checked that my references are properly formatted.
Verbatim quotes are cited properly with quotation marks and
My reference list is formatted properly.A small guide to Academic Writing
Hamp-Lyons, Liz & Heasley, Ben (2006). Study Writing. A course in
writing skills for academic purposes. Cambridge University Press.
Hartley, James (2008). Academic Writing and Publishing. New York:
The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). https://owl.english.purdue.edu
Linnaeus University Academic Support Centre
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