Communicating your ideas clearly, concisely and (mostly) objectively.
Academic writing uses a very different style to other types of writing, which might need a bit of getting used to.
Academic writing isn't about impressing people with ‘big words’ or being overly formal. The main aim is to be clear, concise and usually objective so that you can communicate your ideas effectively.
Compare these two sentences - they contain the same information, but the better style example is much shorter, simpler and easier to understand.
Instead of being formal, academic writing uses neutral words and avoids informal, conversational or colloquial language. For example, 'many factors' is more academic than 'loads of things'. Also avoid personal language - you're not the focus of the work (unless it's a reflective assignment). You should also generally use objective language, for example, 'it is really bad' is subjective, but 'a key negative consequence' is objective.
Cohesive words and phrases are used heavily in academic writing style to smoothly link points. They're generally small and fairly simple, but are integral to communicating your argument clearly.
Find out more on our guide to creating cohesion:
It's very rare that we can be completely certain about our statements, so we use hedging (or cautious language) to avoid making statements that are too strong.
Take a look at the hedging language here in bold - how does it soften the statements?
Find out more about hedging:
In academic writing style, it's important to use grammar and punctuation correctly. This is also something that markers look for in your work!
See our proofreading & checking guide for tips on what to look out for:
It's very important to use inclusive language so you can discuss people and communities sensitively and appropriately.
Explore our EDI glossary to improve your awareness and make sure you're using the right terminology: