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June 10, 2011
Academic research is perhaps the most standardized of all available bodies of knowledge inquiry since Enlightenment. Presenting such knowledge requires equal adherence to standards. The evolution of academic writing styles attests to this. Whether one adopts APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard, Bluebook, AGA, or any of the numerous other academic writing styles, the sine qua non always is how systematic the final writ presents the information. It is a deserved assumption that every academic writer knows that a paper will need an introduction of/ and the body of a paper after which a conclusion should follow. This system is merited for essay writing, research papers (often called “term papers”), critiquing of articles, dissertations, reports of all forms, and even presentations. The adoption of this systematic approach embeds finely with what I will call the “5 golden rules” for writing successful papers. I discuss these rules in the following section. RULE1: WRITE TO STANDARD The pleasure of academic writing rests in following benchmarks set by academic bodies. These standards must eventually guide how a professor reviews your presentation and awards marks for it. As a student, imagine an academic work without a grading rubric! The professor would have an overtly uncontrolled discretion to “pass” or “fail” you for no particular reasons including mere prejudice. This would be sad indeed. However, a set of standards guide what professors include in their marking schemes and grading rubrics- sentence and paragraph arrangements, spacing, page layouts, citations, and referencing. Writing styles, in particular, define how you do your referencing and cross-referencing, in-text citations, footnoting, end noting, work citations and bibliographies. On the contrary, when a paper does not follow any particular style or mixes styles up, it fails both local and universal reviews for organization and appeal. It may even set up a writer against the rules of referencing other writer’s works or amount to plagiarism. It is advisable then to write to acceptable standards of style. Ask this of your writer when using custom writing services. Ensure, through appropriate reviews, that s/he sticks to a particular style to the end. RULE 2: BE “SIMPLE” BUT NOT “SIMPLISTIC” The way to comprehension is readership. Academic writing must be comprehensible; a verity that is measurable through readability statistics. Aside from clarity, a paper should follow rules of grammar, paragraphing, and tenses. The length of sentences and their variation, the length of paragraphs, and the ability to build appropriate meanings in balanced paragraphs defines how readable a presentation will be. The simplicity of a paper does not however mean it will be simplistic. Simplistic papers contain largely oversimplified definitions, sentence structures and descriptions. The Flesch Reading Ease, the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Levels and the percentage of passive sentences within a paper may be some descriptions of how easy or hard the paper is readable. When writing a paper, therefore, one needs to adopt a structure that appeals to a targeted readership. Check out my next blog for a continuation of the "5 GOLDEN RULES FOR ACADEMIC WRITING"
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