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Learning center is essentially a guide, which would help to get a clear understanding into the nitty-gritty of academic writing. The learning center works as a quick guide to help someone understand the expectation and complications of an academic writer. One can expect to get expert guidance with very useful tips in this guide as this has been prepared by people who have considerable amount of relevant experience in this field. The guide would also give insights on various mistakes that people generally make and some wrong assumptions that make this profession difficult to sustain in. At the same time some quick tips are given to learn the art of referencing and formatting.

Significance of Learning Center

Learning center is a complete guide for people who want to take up academic writing, may be as full time or part time career option. This provides complete information about various referencing styles and formatting that is required to handle requirements of academic tasks that hail from various international universities. One will be empowered with instructions and means for managing tasks and assignments of the students which would consist of essays, case studies, reports, technical write ups, business plans, numerical, accounting sums, web designing, research proposals, dissertations, literature reviews and so on.

What is academic writing?


Academic writing is a form of writing that allows the expert to fulfill the requirements of an assessment that is provided by a college or a university for a particular course. To define it broadly, it means any assignment given to the students in an academic institution. This is a form of writing that requires more technical aspect and understanding rather than a creative bent. The content is to be organized and structured keeping into mind the specific academic requirements.

Differences between Academic Writing and Content Writing

The points of distinctions between Academic and Content Writing are mentioned below:

Points of Distinction

Academic Writing

Content writing


Academic Writing is based on instructions as given by the guide of the student.


Content Writing refers to an initiative wherein, the organization expects the content to describe the product that is being sold by the company.


In Academic Writing, students write to learn as well demonstrate what they know.

So the write up also has to convince the assessor that they have done thorough research from genuine sources to obtain the materials.


Content Writing is concerned with the digital promotion of a product or a service. It is generally done with a view that only the audience interested in the product would read it and thus is to the point and precise.


In Academic Writing, write-ups are drafted for their instructors or university guides.


Content,The audience is generally the people who are looking to buy that particular product.


Academic Writing is based on the requirements of the given topic, and university instructor’s guidelines. Each and every requirement has a different set of structure. No changes in the expected format would be entertained in any case.


In Content Writing, the structure is decided based on the requirements of the product and the marketers. Here innovative ideas would be welcome to make the presentation of the content look better.

Style and Language

In academic writing, the style and language is strictly formal. There is no scope for the usage of first or second person tone of language except when the student specifically asks for reflective writings.

In content writing, the language can be casual and even colloquial, if the topic demands it.

Analysis and factual information

In academic writing, the writer has to adhere to the sources while referring to the information. The writer can put in personal view only if that can be substantiated with a relevant argument.

In content writing, the writer has the liberty to be creative, and can even discuss his or her own views, if required.

Dos and Don’ts:

While drafting academic write-ups one needs to be careful about the given topic and subject concerned. The following account lists Do’s and Don’ts about the academic writing:



  • One should execute the write-up in formal language. (Example: The doctor examined the patient’s history to establish which treatments had formerly been implemented).
  • Write in plain language and the style of writing should be clear in the perspective.
  • Active voice should be used in the sentences. This means the verbs to work and use of direct sentences is advised. (Eg: The fire destroyed the entire region).
  • Always try to keep the sentences as coherent as possible. The writer should try to express his ideas in a brief and comprehensive manner.
  • Use of consistent tense: Well, in this perspective, present tense is the most common regarding academic papers.
  • The sentences should be devoid of any misplaced or dangling modifiers because they can confuse the readers. Example:

Correct: wearing a puma sweatshirt, Michael ate a cookie
Incorrect: Michael ate a cookie wearing a puma sweatshirt.

  • Be meticulous regarding grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Do not input jargons, slang, and wacky languages or for that matter sexist language.
  • Usage of shortened verb form is a strict no-no. Example:

    Correct: I am an early riser.      Incorrect: I’m an early riser.

  • One should not use a common vocabulary, the likes of, the other thing, have got, etc.
  • Do not use first or second person tone of language ever in an academic assignment. Exceptions are in the case of reflective writings, where the writer is expected to incorporate his views.
  • Avoid being repetitive and waffling. Try to write as precisely as possible. The flow of content should be smooth.
  • One should avoid making assumptions and recommendations of your own unless mentioned in the academic work.
  • Do not mix numbers and words in an unsystematic manner which ruins the flow of writing.
  • Finally, there should not be an iota of plagiarism in the entire write-up.
  • Do not exaggerate the same idea in the paper.
  • Do not provide generalized contents. For example if you are asked to perform a SWOT analysis on TESCO, then you are not expected to explain what a SWOT means? You can directly start performing swot analysis on the said company with the assumption that the reader already knows what a SWOT is?

Gradation criteria

The academic writing calls for stringent criteria for gradation which is listed below. Here, qualifiers mean the parameters which form the essential part of the gradation criteria without which the paper would fail to get any grade from the assessor.


Content Relevance

Use of Source Material

Accuracy and Language


We would consider a write-up excellent should the topic be well supported with arguments and wide scope of critical analysis.

The sources are thoroughly incorporated, along with appropriate citation. The sources used are scholarly articles or books.

Very less language flaws, clear and concise conforming to the desired standards.

Very Good

Appears focused relating to the task and thorough coverage with minor aspects missing.

Relatively good inclusion of references with lesser inconsistencies or faults in citation and bibliography.

No specific issues in terms of appropriate usage of language and maintaining of main criteria of the assignment.


Different aspects are missing in terms of task and the topic given;

Several types of errors including, limited bibliography, clumsy representation of basic idea and references to source material inappropriate.

Various problems relating to following of appropriate style and grammatical errors.


Difficulty in dealing with the topic clearly and write-up being unfocussed and too precise, lacking critical analysis and arguments.

Issues in terms of paraphrasing and possible plagiarism. Inability to incorporate source material etc.

Total inappropriate style of writing and consistent grammatical errors thereby making the entire article incomprehensible.

Crucial aspects of academic writing

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s ideas and work as your own, without the consent of the actual author. Plagiarism may be deliberate or unintentional. As far as examination and university guidelines are concerned, plagiarism in any form is a disciplinary offence. Hence, it is important that plagiarism is dealt with diligence and sincerity.

Why should we avoid Plagiarism?

We should be careful as far as plagiarism is concerned. Plagiarism should be avoided in the best possible means as it may have detrimental effect over the career of the student. Plagiarism may lead the student to fail in the paper and result in expulsion from the university. Academic field does not entertain copying of ideas and facts in any form without giving due credits to the author. Hence one will be expected to do a thorough research, read the content and then start writing in your own words. Any ideas taken from a source material should be given due acknowledgement with the help of referencing.


Formatting plays a very important role as that is the first impression that an assessor would get when he goes through the paper. Apart from presenting the content in a neat manner, one must follow the guidelines that are provided by the student for formatting of a paper. The spacing, font, margins, paragraphs, page numbering, footnotes, highlighting all should be done as per assignment guidelines and requirements. The detailed instructions about formatting have been provided in the following sections.


At the outset, referencing is a way of acknowledgment of the papers, books, and materials being used while researching for the report or essay.

The referencing styles namely, Harvard, APA, Chicago, OSCOLA, MLA, and Vancouver are mostly maintained in Academic writing. One should be thorough with the styles of writing the references as these carry huge weight in the entire academic paper. We use sources like books, Journals (most preferably peer-reviewed journals), newspapers, magazines and websites. One should make sure that only the authentic sources are used so that the research conducted can provide genuine and unbiased results. References give credibility to academic writings and so only genuine references should be used. Fake reference should never be used in the paper as they tend to spoil the hard work of the researcher and creates a wrong impression of the paper.

While writing, one must always refer to the sources from which the ideas have been in originated. In-text references are included in the main body of the academic writing and are inserted right after the facts or information being sourced from the original literature. It comprises of the surname of the author, and date of the publication of the source. This has been explained in thorough details in this guide.


Deadline in academic writing does mean deadline beyond which the paper would not be accepted by the universities and the submission windows are closed. So this should be taken as topmost priority. Before embarking on the project, one must strategize time and divide the time by breaking down the entire paper into smaller segments. Missing deadline has rigorous implications over the students’ academic career, which could be fatal as well. Hence, one must be particularly concerned to submit the academic task before the assigned deadline.

The depth of research

While preparing an academic write-up, it is advisable that own academic research substance is developed. It is imperative in this regard that one performs research on the materials that are consistent in keeping the motto of the paper.

Lucid Language

All the papers should have lucid language which is easy to decipher and is related to the given topic. The paper should emphasize over the given topic of the assignment. It should have a proper flow so that the reader does not get lost in the paper and finds a smooth way out.



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