So, I told you how to be a riveting writer. Let me give you the low down on academic writing!

Academic Writing 101


I hope that you enjoyed my last post on 'How to be a Riveting Writer'. Bearing in mind that there are so many other genres of writing besides creative, I wanted to focus on the one that we ALL had to attempt and for some, master- Academic Writing.

I am by no means an expert; just someone who has written many papers and kinda gets it. 

This forum is too brief for me to go into a laundry list of all of the particulars of good Academic Writing, so I will share with you the fundamentals that are imperative to mastering this kind of writing. 

Before I do though, I must share with you my ethos that informs my academic writing. It is my belief that good writing in academia or journalism is about structure. I like to call myself a structuralist for that matter.

At the end of the day it is really about what Lauryn Hill said about her song 'Final Hours': "A thesis broken down into well constructed pieces."

The thesis is paramount. Get it right and unambiguous and you have won half the battle.

But Alas!!! I have forgotten even before the thesis, the question!

  • The instructions hidden in the question i.e. Discuss, Evaluate, Identify, will tell you how to proceed. For, let's say discuss, that is a sign post that there is never one true thesis, but rather a debate of sorts about both sides and in between of the spectrum. Essentially you are to investigate whatever is to be discussed, carefully weighing the critical factors in order to present your argument. With that said, in academia, there is always a thesis demanded for papers. So, choose the one that you believe that you can argue strongly and passionately. Ultimately the other theses will have to debated and you want to have a solid ground on which to stand with your preferred thesis. 

  • Paragraph construction is a must. It is the mini-essay in and of itself, with a Topic Sentence and supporting info to support the topic sentence. A MPhil student who taught me tutorials in my first year at the UWI Cave Hill Campus gave the best advice I have ever had on this area. The structure for paragraphs should take this format: PIE. You make a Point, Illustrate it with an example, and then Explain the illustration in reference to the point made. 

You can't go wrong there. 

  • Of course, brush up on your connectives. Like punctuation they really do make the argument flow. Although, However, Moreover, Furthermore, Nonetheless etc. 
Ultimately, as I have indicated, structure not necessarily 'pretty language or big words' will win you the rewards that you want. 

So here is a bit of my advice: 

  • Study Logic. This course is usually offered in Philosophy classes and so often goes under the radar. If you want to really master how to structure an argument to the point of an expert, then please do a Logic class. Founded on principles going all the way back to Socrates, it trains the mind on how to think logically in a sea of information. Therefore, with this course you will learn how to decipher the importance and relevance of info; how to answer questions accordingly to the instructions given and structure your argument in a foolproof pattern that works for every type of question. 
Trust me, do the class!

Petra Marie…Inspired Be