Academic writing is different than general purpose writing. It is breaking down ideas along with the use of deductive reasoning and in a formal voice, preferably third person point of view in an academic discourse. Academic writing is seldom opinion write-ups. Even when you are presenting your opinions about a specified topic, you need to back it up with credible references. These references come from a source or a literature that is either provided or you have to research from a collection of peer-reviewed literature like books, journals, videos etcetera. These literature form academic sources, or, sources that you cite in order to write academic content. In this blog post we are going to talk about how to select and evaluate the right academic sources.
Methods of Academic Writing
To understand the value of academic sources and how to utilise them for a perfectly written academic article, you first need to know the methods of academic writing. The below image talks about the steps you should take in order to write an academic content.
Selecting and Examining Academic Sources
In order to select sources for academic writing, your source has to undergo five simple tests;
- Authority Test: As the name itself suggests, you have find out the author of your source. You also have to find out whether that particular author has enough expertise on the topic and whether the source of his information or his write-up is peer reviewed or not.
- Audience Test: You will have to find out your target audience and choose your source accordingly. Your audience can be segregated into general, professional and academic audience. Therefore, the source you select should be relevant to your target audience.
- Transparency Test: You will have to analyse the evidence that is provided and how the information has been verified. You also have to analyse the background of the information and if data collection and data analysis can be checked.
- Objectivity Test: You will have to ask questions like “is the source of information objective?” Differentiate between scholarly purpose of writing and advertisement purpose of writing.
- Currency Test: Is the information the latest one, is it updated?
Selection and Organisation of Information
You have to follow the four “S” of reading skills in order to carefully select and organise your information. The four “S” of reading skills are as follows:
- Searching: What the information is about? Is it title, table of contents, abstract, description of book on the back cover, headings and sub-headings, figures and tables.
- Skimming: What are main points of the information? It includes, introduction, conclusion and topic sentences.
- Selecting: Select the relevant information
- Studying: Studying the information in detail, after segregation.
Organisational Strategies in Academic Writing
The below image talks about some common organisational strategies in Academic writing. Have a look:
By now, you must have understood the importance of selecting and examining the right sources for academic writing
. In the next post, I will talk about how to approach academic writing using the credible sources
as reference. Stay tuned to get latest updates on academic writing and the different genres of academic writing.
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