One thing you cannot evade in academia is writing academic papers. You will have to write a few if not many academic papers if you are to succeed at any academic level. Having the right academic writing skills is therefore a must for all scholars.
An excellent mastery of how to write an academic paper or essay is key to good grades. The academic writing process should be applied to all standard papers and be customized to meet the requirements of other types of custom academic papers and essays. 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 seek clarification.
ii. Create an outline
Secondly, develop an outline for the essay or term paper. This will act as a backbone/ framework upon which you will build during the academic paper writing process.
iii. Conduct literature review
The next step is to conduct in-depth research for each section of your paper. This will give you access to existing theory on the subject you are studying – this is often called the Literature Review. Good academic writers make notes and record their sources in detail as they carry out their literature review to give them an easy time when documenting their sources. It is good to synthesize research before you write an academic paper so that there is a flow rather than a haphazard display of ideas.
After the literature review comes the discussion. Academic writing standards require that an academic writer be able to link theories collected through literature review to real life cases. At this stage of writing an academic paper, the the writer should compare and contrast theories while identifying similarities and inconsistencies between them. This should be followed by conclusions based on the writer’s reasoning and backed up by identified theories.
It is also good practice to offer recommendations on areas or theories that require more research in order to address loopholes in existing literature.
Typical academic papers end with a conclusion which begins with a paraphrase of the thesis statement followed by a summary of the key issues addressed in the body alongside recommendations and/or discussions. Conclusions do 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 used in a paper. It should be properly formatted depending on the referencing style in use (APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago etc.)
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