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Ten Practical Tips for Improving Your Academic Writing

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Content originally published on data180.com. Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.

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The thought of writing an academic paper makes many working in the field of academics uncomfortable, even if they are considered an expert about their field. They often do not know how to get started with writing an academic paper, and are naturally concerned about what others will think of their writing. For these reasons, the decision is often made that writing an academic paper is too much of a challenge and therefore they do not pursue it. However, by following these basic strategies, the challenge of writing an academic paper can be made much easier.

  1. Choose a topic that you have a true interest in and are passionate about – a topic that intrigues you that would be worth publishing. If you have given a presentation in the past, could the presentation topic work for an academic paper? Do you have a presentation coming up that an academic paper could help prepare you for?  If so, write about it.
  2. Be organized and manage your time. Keep a list of tasks that need to be completed, and a list of potential resources for your academic paper. Also, create deadlines for yourself. There are many tools available to help you manage all of this, from using a whiteboard to a multitude of web-based applications. As your tasks are completed, you will see how much progress you are making.
  3. Use charts and graphs in your academic paper. Creative visuals that are easy to read can help readers understand concepts being discussed in your paper.
  4. Write for your target audience. Before you begin writing, think about who your target audience is. This will help determine the writing style you should use in your academic paper.
  5. Form a mentor group. Ask colleagues and experts in the field of academics, and those who have an interest and knowledge about your topic, to review your paper and provide you with feedback. These colleagues and experts can serve as great mentors.
  6. Stay current. Read current news and stay on top of the latest research being published about the topics you are writing about. Sign up for e-mail alerts from related journals and web sites.
  7. If you decide to collaborate with another researcher, think about who you should collaborate with. Good collaborators could add to your workload, but bad ones could make writing your academic paper more challenging. Keep in mind that your collaborators do not have to be at your same institution.
  8. Be a good reviewer of your own work. When you are finished writing your academic paper, put it aside for a day or so and read it again. You will most likely notice some areas that you want to make changes to and improve upon.
  9. Use social media sites for academics to promote your paper. (See Top Five Social Networking Tools for Supporting Academic Research for more information.) In addition, write blog articles related to your topic for related web sites.
  10. If you plan to have your paper published in an academic journal, decide on an appropriate journal for your academic paper. (See Top Tips for Getting Published in an Academic Journal for more information.)

 

Content originally published on data180.com. Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.