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September 11, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

What are the core elements of academic writing and discourse?

There are a variety of different norms.  Here are 12 norms that I’ve seen:
1) Clarity
2) Definition of Terms
3) Citation of sources
4) Distinguishing cases/Pointing out nuance (particularly to explain the data)
5) Objective language is usually assumed and used (but this varies by discipline)
6) Some summary of the state of the literature and/or Literature review is often given.  Historically situated understanding of the discipline.
7) College educated or academic audience is usually assumed (although this isn’t necessarily essential).  My guess is peer review serves as a check. I would point out that various academic writings are accessible to other ages and education–but I’m guessing at least a 9th grade education is assumed.  [I believe there is an app you can use to determine what grade level a given article is written in, if you wanted to investigate this further]
8) Many identify assumptions or starting points.
9) Many included a discussion of the limits of their conclusions, perspective, understanding.
10) Structure and organization of academic articles follow a particular standard format or model formats.  At a minimum it usually follows a past, present (my findings), future orientation.
11) There is an attempt to answer objections or alternative perspectives, which includes a weighing of various perspectives.
12) Identification and defense of a thesis–ideally through different forms of proof and/or lines of analysis.

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