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8 Key Features of a Professional Academic Paper

April 15th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

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When writing an academic paper, the rules are slightly different from writing, for example, a simple article or blog. There is a certain perfection that must come with it for people to take it seriously. The essence of an academic paper is to clearly present information about a particular subject in a way that is understandable. The only way to do this is to make sure that it contains certain features that make it professional. Read on to find out what these features are.

1. Formality

When writing an academic paper, remember to keep it professional by always being formal. Resist all those impulses telling you to add some slang. That is a huge ‘no’ when it comes to academic writing.

2. Precision

Remember to be specific. Avoid saying vague expressions like “many people” or “something like this.” Instead, say, “5,000 people.” When you are precise, your text becomes better suited for academia than when you resort to using vague expressions that do not offer any real information.

3. Objectivity

Do not make it personal; make sure that your writing is objective and contains fewer words that talk about the reader or the writer. Focus more on the information the paper is trying to present and do not make it about you or someone else.

4. Accuracy

In academic writing, you have to make sure that the vocabulary you use is accurate. Avoid using words interchangeably, like “funds,” “money” and “cash.” Each of these terms has a specific meaning in the academic context. Despite representing the same concept, these terms are applied differently and have their own unique features that make them different from one another.

5. Structure

An academic paper needs proper formatting, meaning it has to follow a logical structure and remain consistent throughout so that it looks good. Things to look out for include making sure that fonts, margins, and spacing are consistent and that it has headings and subheadings in all the appropriate places.

6. No Errors

Your grammar and spelling need to be correct when you write an academic paper. Mistakes make your paper unreadable. After you finish writing, double- or triple- check your work to make sure that you have not left any errors in the text. You can also hire a professional proofreader or ask a friend to check the piece for errors. Writing programs, like Microsoft Word, have an option that allows you to do a spellcheck to make sure that errors are kept to the absolute minimum.

7. All the Main Parts

Make sure your paper is also well-organized. The main sections to include are the intro, body, conclusion, and citations page. The first three sections must be coherent and flow seamlessly from one section to the next. Depending on the academic paper you are writing, you may also need to include the following sections:

  • Title/Cover Page
  • Abstract
  • Limitations of Study
  • Methodology
  • Literature Review

8. Citations

When writing your paper, you are probably going to turn to other sources for information. You need to cite these sources to acknowledge them for their help, otherwise, it would be considered plagiarism, which is highly frowned upon in academia. Depending on your field of study and the person coordinating your project, you will need to cite your references using one of the referencing styles below:

  • MLA: Modern Language Association
  • APA: American Psychology Association
  • Harvard Referencing Style
  • Chicago Style

Now that you are familiar with the features of academic writing, you are better-equipped to go about writing your assignments. If you adhere to them throughout the entire writing process, you will get a good grade.

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