How to write an academic paper

One thing a student cannot evade in academia is the process of writing an academic paper. All learners have to write a few if not many academic papers if they are to succeed at any academic level. Having the right knowledge on how to write an academic paper is, therefore, a necessity for all scholars.

An excellent mastery of how to write an academic paper is key to good grades. Thus, students should apply academic writing norms in all academc papers. However, it is important to note that they can customize the norms depending on instructions outlined for individual papers. Nonetheless, it is important to have a good grasp of the dos and don’ts of academic writing.

How to write an academic paper

i. Understand the question

The first step is to read, synthesize, and internalize the question or subject under study. This is key to success in writing academic papers. It is important that you only proceed to the next stage of writing an academic paper if you understand the question. Otherwise, it is vital to seek clarification from in-line tutors and professors.

ii. Create an outline

Secondly, develop an outline to represent the overal structure of the paper. This will serve as the backbone/ framework upon which you build as you write your academic paper.

iii. Conduct literature review

The next step involves conducting in-depth research for each section of your paper. This will give you access to existing theory on the subject you are studying. Good academic writers make notes and record source materials in detail as they carry out their literature review. This gives them an easy time when documenting their sources. It is good to synthesize research before writing an academic paper. This guarantees a good flow rather than a haphazard display of ideas.

iv. Writing an academic paper: Discussion

After the literature review comes the discussion. Academic writing standards require that students link theories they come across through literature reviews to real life cases. At this stage of writing an academic paper, students should compare and contrast theories while identifying similarities and inconsistencies between them. Finally, this section should culminate into conclusions based on the writer’s reasoning. However, the writer should back up the conclusions with theories from the discussions.

v. Recommendations

It is good practice to offer recommendations on areas or theories that require more research to address loopholes in existing literature.

vi. How to write an academic paper: Conclusion

Typical academic papers end with a conclusion which begins with a paraphrase of the thesis statement. Next comes a summary of the key issues addressed in the body of the paper alongside recommendations and/or discussions. Conclusions should not introduce new ideas, but provide the author’s thoughts on what he or she covered in the paper.

vii. List of references

This is a list of all external sources cited in a paper. It should be properly formatted. This normally depends on the referencing style in use (APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago etc.)

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