Key Features of Academic Writing

The main purpose of academic writing to is to communicate your ideas and research, in such a way that the knowledge can be developed by others. Our five defining features of academic writing relate to this central aim.2287692738_9b54f4a171_z

  1. Academic writing clearly communicates ideas and research
  1. Academic writing shows critical thinking
  1. Academic writing belongs to and builds on an existing body of knowledge
  1. Academic writing is open to being evaluated and built on by others
  1. Academic writing is inclusive and careful with language

For tips on what is and is not an appropriate and effective academic style, see our list of Academic Style Dos and Don’ts. We discuss the use of ‘I’ in academic writing here.

Further guidance on appropriate style in academic writing is available from the University of New England here, and the OWL at Purdue here.


Image: Human Touch by Tom Beard

We were inspired to identify five key features by the Royal Literary Fund’s five ‘fingerprints’ of academic writing, but our list is slightly different from theirs.