Academic Writing and Other Kinds of Writing
Some freelance writers specialize in certain niches. They are subject matter experts. Others are more versatile and write about a variety of topics.
Whichever kind of freelance writer you are, we can all agree that there are different types of writing that have different requirements. For example, writing for business to business (B2B) needs a different style from business to customer (B2C).
Then there’s technical writing, grant writing, and academic writing, among others. Let’s take a look at academic writing and how it is different from the other types of writing.
What is academic writing?
Just like other specialized types of writing, academic writing has its own rules, guidelines, and practices. Academic writers have to abide by these rules. Some general academic writing rules include:
- presenting ideas following a formal structure or order to follow;
- citing sources (authors/literature) following established styles;
- using a more formal tone;
- and the use of conventional grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Academic writing is taught in schools. As early as middle school, students are taught how to write essays, which is a form of academic writing. High school students and college students need to learn a higher level of academic writing, while graduate and post-graduate students have even more structures to follow.
With everything that students have to deal with in school, they sometimes need the help of freelance academic writers to guide them in their work. There are also some services like thepensters.com, that have a base of freelance academic writers who assist students in their papers. These services benefit both freelance writers who get to earn and students, who get the help they need.
The difference between academic writing and other kinds of writing
Looking more closely at academic writing, we will see that there are similarities to other types of writing such as business writing, especially when it comes to the formal tone and avoiding the casual – or conversational – language. Here are some specific examples.
- Avoid using contractions. Use “do not” instead of “don’t”.
- Avoid casual word usage. “Meager” is better than “scanty”.
- Avoid using the first person. Instead of “I will share with you the results…“, write “The results of the study…”.
On the other hand, there are significant differences.
Depending on the discipline of study you are writing for, you will need to learn specific jargon. If you specialize in just one discipline, then you can focus on mastering the vocabulary for that niche. If you want to expand to other disciplines, then you will have to expand your vocabulary even more.
Structure and Style
Referring to style, using the first person is not acceptable in some disciplines, while it is allowed in other disciplines. When it comes to structure, different disciplines also have varying requirements.
For example, in the area of Arts and Humanities, longer explanatory paragraphs are encouraged. These paragraphs require topic sentences, with the idea expanded within. On the other hand, the sciences required shorter paragraphs which are direct to the point, using more concrete data.
Other kinds of writing
To reiterate, other kinds of writing, while also requiring some structure, may not have such stringent rules as compared to academic writing.
Another difference is that with general writing – content, blogging, and copywriting, for example – the topics tackled may deal more with actionable and concrete concepts, while academic writing deals more with abstract ideas.
Do you have clients that require academic writing? Maybe you can share your expertise on the matter.
About the author
Lily Wilson is a 34 year-old homestay freelance academic writer. Lily runs her personal blog AnAwfulLotofWriting and works as a contributing academic writer at ThePensters.com.