Academic Writing

This post is aimed to remind myself how to write articles with Academic Writing Style. The original article is from

I. The Big Picture

Unlike fiction or journalistic writing, the overall structure of academic writing is formal and logical. It must be cohesive and possess a logically organized flow of ideas; this means that the various parts are connected to form a unified whole. There should be narrative links between sentences and paragraphs so the readers is able to follow your argument and all sources are properly cited. The introduction should include a description of how the rest of the paper is organized.

II. The Tone

The overall one refers to the attitude conveyed in a piece of writing. Throughout your paper, it is important that you present the arguments of others fairly and with an appropriate narrative tone. When presenting a position or argument that you disagree with, describe the argument accurately and without loaded or biased language (I have use “the researchers failed to…”). In academic writing, the author is expected to investigate the research problem from an authoritative point of view. You should, therefore, state the strengths of your arguments confidently, using language that is neutral, not confrontational or dismissive.

III. Diction(措辞)

Diction refers to the choice of words you use. Awareness of the words you use is important because words that have almost the same denotation can have very different connotations (字义相同,含义未必相同). This is particularly true in academic writing because words and terminology can evolve a nuanced meaning that describes a particular idea, concept, or phenomenon derived from the epistemological culture of that discipline. Therefore, use concrete words [not general] that convey a specific meaning. If this cannot be done without confusing the reader, then you need to explain what you mean within the context of how that word is used within a discipline.

IV. The language

The investigation of research problems in the social sciences is often complex and multi-dimensional. Therefore, it is important that you use unambiguous language. Well-structured paragraphs and clear topic sentences enable a reader to follow your line of thinking without difficulty. Your language should be concise, formal, and express precisely what you want it to mean. Avoid vague expressions that are not specific or precise enough for the reader to derive exact meaning [“they”, “we”, “people”, “the organization”, etc.], abbreviations like “i.e.” [“in other words”] or ‘e.g.’ [“for example”], and the use of unspecific determinate words [“super”, “very”, “incredible”].

V. Punctuation