Magoosh GRE

Writing for academic purposes

| November 11, 2011 | 3 Comments



Some universities offer courses for international students in writing for academic purposes, as the British style of academic writing may be different to what is expected at universities in students’ own country. In the UK students are not expected to write in elaborate, flowery language, but to be explicit and to the point.



You should not usually write in the first person as you are not being invited in the main part of your work to give your opinion. You have to review the literature and give both sides of an argument, making extensive use of references in order to avoid plagiarism.

The arguments should be well-balanced and your research should be relevant to prove or disprove one side of the academic argument.

You need to remove your own personal feelings from your writing as this leads to subjectivity and lack of balance.


Formal writing

Academic writing is formal, and this is characterized by the use of the impersonal pronoun, one, and by use of the Passive Voice. You also need to hedge your bets using such words and phrases as tend, appears to be, in doubt, etc. You should be precise and clear in your phrasing and arguments, and not use verbs with adverbs, but nouns and adjectives. For example you may write Gray has argued vehemently, but you should write, ‘ it has been argued by Gray and others that…’



When you conduct your research you have to be meticulous in presenting your findings, quoting exact figures and dates with references. You need to be able to prove everything you write, and this is best done by quoting others’ work and the correct data. Always check and double-check your sources and use primary sources rather than relying on secondary ones. For example, don’t quote an overview of research, quote the original research.

You need to provide evidence for your thesis and justification for what you write and especially be able to justify your conclusions in relation to the research carried out by others.


Category: Essay Writing Guide

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