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Academic Writing

Academic writing typically does not contain elements, such as

  1. personal language

  2. judgmental words

  3. emotive language

and as a result it is characterised as impersonal and objective. However, academic writing still requires you to develop an argument and express your opinion about issues. For example, by asking you essay questions such as:

What do you think?
Do you agree?
Argue in favour of or against...

lecturers and tutors are seeking your opinion - what you think about a particular issue, event, or theory. In addition, academic articles or books usually contain opinions in the form of:

interpretations of results

So it is a convention of academic writing to express arguments and opinions, yet this convention also requires that these arguments and opinions incorporate the objective and impersonal style that is a significant feature of academic writing. In academic writing, arguments should imply impartial and sound judgement through the use of rational, impersonal and unemotional language.

Another convention of academic writing is the use of evidence to support the arguments being presented: arguments cannot be presented without supporting evidence or they may sound as if they are just the writer's opinion. This evidence cannot be anecdotal evidence but must be already published or known information presented by authorities in the field. It must be integrated expertly into the structure of your overall argument, into your paragraphs and into your sentences. Certain conventions in academic writing dictate how this supporting evidence is cited or referenced. These conventions ensure that readers of your work are clearly able to find and evaluate the sources of your evidence.

The expression of opinion and argument is an essential part of academic writing. Click here to see the expression of opinion and argument in the model texts.

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Summary Conventions Structures Words Introduction