What to Include in Your Academic Writing
Academic writing assignments are different from informal writing, writing for entertainment, or creative writing. As a result, they require some fairly specific elements to be included. Here are a few of the more important aspects of an academic writing assignment:
The thesis statement is the main idea of an academic piece. While most types of writing will have some sort of central idea, thesis statements are unique in several ways.
- They must present an argument.
- That argument must be supportable.
- The support for the argument must come from academically respected sources.
For example, a thesis statement would represent the author’s opinion on a particular subject, and it would then be explained in detail, with supporting evidence, in the body of the paper.
Academic writers must support their arguments with evidence from other sources, and these sources must be considered to be reputable. Reputable sources vary according to the field of study. In literature, for example, the author’s arguments must be supported by the text, and perhaps by other literary critics whose own ideas and opinions have a firm foundation in the text. In history, the sources should be verifiable and accepted by historians. In the sciences, peer-reviewed journals and respected textbooks are considered viable sources of thesis supporting evidence.
Not only must quality sources be used in an academic assignment, they must also be properly cited. Citing the work means crediting the precise source where the fact, quote, or idea occurs. Even if the author is not directly quoting the source, they must cite those sources that they used to write their paper. Even indirectly using the ideas of another source is considered plagiarism in academic circles.v
The point of an academic piece is to accurately portray the writer’s ideas in an organized manner so that the reader can follow the complex concepts which are common in academic writing. Academics don’t shy away from difficult concepts, complicated ideas, and details. As a result, they must do other things in order to make their ideas a clear as possible. One of the most important parts of this is developing a structure for their piece which allows the reader to move naturally from one concept to the next and to understand the connections that the author is drawing between them. A disorganized paper can be as incomprehensible as one lacking content.