Academic content writing is a specialized form of content writing. This kind of writing aims to present scholarly information crisply and clearly to a small group of audiences. It is written devoid of entertainment and has a distinct style, tone, language, and structure.
Academic content writing is an important niche in content writing. I will further elaborate on the description of this niche and show how it is different from just content writing. It involves writing reports, scholarly essays, research papers, etc. You can differentiate academic writing from general writing as it will be replete with facts, figures, logic, and reasoning.
Features of academic content writing
The focus of academic content writing is clear from the onset itself. It aims to provide facts and information and persuade the reader to develop a certain perspective. For example, textbooks in business schools teach that corporations exist to maximize shareholder value and convince you to create that perspective with facts and figures.
If you have ever read a textbook or a research paper, you will quickly realize that it is well structured and there is order. Every chapter or dissertation is arranged logically, which helps you connect the different topics present there. Finally, all this culminates in a meaningful conclusion that reinforces the concepts.
Academic content writing is filled with references and citations. You will notice a bibliography, an index, and a citation page at the end of the material giving credit to the original authors in all the writing material. They also have references to the facts and images reported in the material. The citing and referencing adds credibility that is missing in general content writing.
The language used in this type of writing is formal and different from general content writing. The subject matter is discussed from a third-person perspective and is objective. There are very few grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, and the vocabulary is precise and neat. They come to the point quickly and do not waste time building a rapport with the reader.
There is very little use of jargon, and the language through formal is simple enough for any reader to understand. Academic content writing is plagiarism-free and reflects academic integrity.
Types of academic content writing
There are four main types of academic content writing: descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical. I will discuss each of them in detail.
Descriptive: This writing style is the simplest type where the purpose is to provide facts and information. For example, a report on an experiment conducted in the laboratory comes under this category. It can also be used to describe people, places, situations, events, etc. The descriptive writing style is usually characterized by keywords such as identity, record, report, summarise and define.
Analytical: This writing style describes the problems, sheds light on the probable solutions, and assesses the different methods of solution. The views expressed to the reader are objective and impartial. Analytical content writing also includes graphs, flowcharts, and diagrams to enforce the author’s concepts.
Persuasive: Persuasive writing is a step ahead of analytical writing. After the problem is described and solutions discussed, compelling writing attempts to bring the reader’s perspective to the author’s point of view. It carries the author’s perspective on a subject matter and enforces this. The author uses arguments supported by reason and evidence. A good example would be an academic essay where the author attempts to convince the reader to adopt their perspective.
Critical: Critical writing incorporates the features of a persuasive essay and the perspective of at least another person and the author’s. This style is most often used for research-oriented writing work. For example, critiquing a journal article or a literature review includes discussing the author’s viewpoint and making the viewpoint of the critic clear.
After reading all this, it becomes quite clear what work falls under this category, and you have understood the key aspects of academic content writing. I will go a step further and compare it to general content writing so that the distinctions become crystal clear and stay with you for a long time.
Academic content writing v/s Content writing
Content writing is a very dynamic field growing at a fast pace. It encompasses most of the media and digital industry. It is very diverse, and there is no distinct style to recognize content writing with. Content writers focus on the readability of the content as their target audience is the general public and not some qualified group of readers. Most of the content available online, like blogs, websites, news, articles, e-books, etc., all fall under the ambit of content writing.
Academic writing is a traditional field that has moved online with the advent of the internet. It is a small niche in the vast content writing world and grows steadily. Its sole aim is to improve the technical knowledge of the reader.
The writers belonging to this niche are usually people belonging to academia, and their target audience is a group of qualified people. Not everyone can write under this niche in general content writing. They need to be subject matter experts to impart in-depth knowledge.
There are other subtle differences as well. Strict rules don’t apply when it comes to content writing. A content writer can use a hyperlink to show the reference in their content. But it is not the same for academic content writing. Proper citation needs to be given, which will add further credibility to the report.
The structure of academic content writing differs from that of general content writing. It is very formal, organized, and rigid, detailing every concept discussed within its text. There is no such hard and fast rule for content writing, and depending on the topic, it can have any shape or structure.
The construction of sentences makes it easy for readers to discern academic writing to general content writing. Content writing employs easy-to-understand sentences as it caters to a large audience. On the other hand, it uses complex sentences to avoid ambiguity and relay concise points.
You can easily understand which writing comes under academic content writing from using images. It uses simple images and figures to complement a concept or idea that aid in better understanding. They are not decorative and are highly accurate in their rendition of details.
There will be no flashy images or pictures, unlike in content writing. Content writers use photographs and graphics to attract readers to their content. They are often eye-catching and are utilized to increase the aesthetic visuals of their content.
The Final Takeaway
After reading this, I hope you have a better understanding of the concept of academic content writing. It is a highly specialized field open to scholars and subject matter experts only. On the other hand, content writing is a diverse and dynamic field available to all. It depends more on a content writer’s passion for a topic than their expertise.
There are formal guidelines given by institutions strictly adhered to. Educational content writing may be rigid and have a certain discipline. Still, general content writing is fluid and depends on good quality content to reach its target audience. With these distinctions made clear, I hope you can choose to read something online and discern academic content writing from general content writing.