Top Tips for Maintaining AcademicTone -->

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Top Tips for Maintaining AcademicTone

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One of the hardest things about academic writing is staying in an academic tone.  Whether you are joining the academic community after taking years off, are new to the community, or are a seasoned academic writer, it is still something that each of us needs to be aware of in our own writing.  So, to get to the point— academic tone is very important and relevant to all academic writers, in all fields, and at all levels.  So here is my quick and dirty list of tips and tricks to make sure you are easily able to do so!

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Paraphrasing is a valuable way for a writer to include specific information and data to their writing, while still giving credit to the original researcher.  This allows for the writer to have the space needed to draw their own conclusions from the literature, and then present those conclusions in a specific fashion using the research of experts in the field to support their ideas.  In paraphrasing instead of directly quoting, you will also better meet the expectations of APA style, which prefers paraphrasing to direct quotes in most cases.  Also, in using paraphrasing instead of direct quotes you, as the author, are showing the reader that you are an expert in the field and do not need to rely on the direct quotes but rather have interpreted the information of others.  So, to sum it up— paraphrasing makes your sound much more academic than using direct quotes.

Paraphrase Quick List:

Use Specific Information
One of the hallmarks of academic writing is including specific information and details.  A lot of times we are so close to the materials we are presenting that the “they” or “she” we use in our writing makes perfect sense to us.  However, often times when readers see this information they aren’t quite sure what author, topic, or research study we are referencing.  This is why it is super important to use specific language.  You don’t want to spend hours and hours on a paper, only to not have the reader understand your point!

Here are some quick examples of vague wording, and how to correct it:

Needs Revision:
They (2003) surveyed 500
Dean (2003) surveyed 500… 
This was to…
The purpose of Bill 774 was to…

Specific Information Quick List:

Replace Clichés
One of the things I like to remind myself in my own writing is that clichés are OK in a first (and even a second) draft.  Many times we use clichés while we are writing because they are the most accessible words we can find at the time— the words that come to us when we are feverishly writing our research down for the first time.  The important thing to remember is that you will want to edit out all clichés and colloquialisms in your writing.  This will allow for you to have a more even and scholarly voice throughout, which will cause your reader to trust and retain your information more easily.

In this day and age
Path of least resistance
Think outside the box
Few and far between
All walks of life
At the end of the day
All intents and purposes
Writing on the wall
The rest is history

Clichés Quick List:

Revise, Revise, Revise
Even though revision is an important aspect of all academic writing, it is especially important when you revise your academic tone.  In having a consistent and scholarly tone you are ensuring that the reader fully understands not only your argument but that you are an expert in the material. 
One of the best ways to practice using scholarly writing is to write and edit your own work as frequently as possible.  In doing so you will both find your academic voice, and develop the editing skills needed to ensure you stay within your scholarly tone.  Hopefully this convinces you that it is important to use the strong writing and editing skills you are developing during your time here at Walden University. 

Revision Quick List:

Meghan Barnes is an instructor and writer based in the South. She has two dogs, and a handful of composting worms  that she enjoys feeding scraps to. When she is not writing, editing, or reading, she enjoys playing kickball, softball, and other active sports.

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