Academic writing is a formal style of writing used in universities to communicate ideas, information and research. It tends to follow certain conventions in terms of content, structure and style. Academic writing is...
*Please note that conventions around pronoun use may vary from discipline to discipline, so check with your department.
Read the following examples to see how academic writing differs from more informal everyday writing:
|EXAMPLE 1: Informal style
I hear people talking about Identity all the time these days – it’s so hard to work out what it really means because it seems to involve so many different things, like religion, gender etc.
|This example is quite personal and conversational in style. It talks about identity informally (e.g., 'I hear’, ‘all the time’, ‘it’s so hard’) and in a general way (e.g., ‘these days’, ‘etc’.) relying on anecdotal evidence (e.g., 'I hear people talking’).|
|EXAMPLE 2: Academic style
The concept of identity is highly contested and research in this area draws on theoretical frameworks encompassing notions of individual and collective identity (Owens, Robinson and Smith-Lovin, 2010). This essay focuses on the way in which religion and gender affect perceptions of individual identity.
|This example is more formal in style and acknowledges the complexity of identity as a concept (e.g., 'highly contested’). It also links the idea of identity to theories and previous research (e.g., ‘research in this area…theoretical frameworks’) and includes a citation (e.g., ‘Owens, Robinson and Smith-Lovin, 2010’) so the reader can see where the information has come from. The writer’s focus on the effects of religion and gender on identity perception is also made clear.|