When it comes to improving writing skills, it’s a never-ending process. There are always new things you can learn and there can always be some factors in your writing that you can improve.
For some people, it could be a little difficult to find out the exact areas in their skills that they can work on. If you happen to be in this category, don’t worry.
In this post, we’re going to be listing some ways and tips on how you can hone your writing skills for gaining success in your career.
Let’s get started.
Improving Academic Writing Skills: The Tips
While there are a lot of different aspects and facets that we can talk about in the context of improving writing skills, we’re going to stick to the important, basic and elementary ones. We don’t want to drag this thing on for too long.
1. Work on Improving Your Research
Although research is something that you have to do in pretty much every field of writing, it’s especially important and emphasized in the field of academia.
All types of academic content, be it a research paper, essay or a simple assignment, starts with research. Thorough research is the foundation of a good academic piece. If your research is proper, your content will likewise be proper. And if your research is weak and shaky, so too will be the state of your content.
There are a couple of different steps that you can take to improve your research. We’ll enumerate some of them here:
- When researching, always use multiple sources. Don’t stick to a single source otherwise, you can commit unintentional plagiarism.
- Always take note of the source that you have to cite. If you try and commit the sources to memory, you could forget them and this could, later on, lead to source-based plagiarism.
- During your research, don’t pick any source that your institute does not recognize as reliable. For example, many institutes don’t consider Wikipedia to be a reliable source.
- Don’t copy and paste content directly from a source after some light editing. Take inspiration. When reading some material for research, take brief points that you can elaborate on later on in your own words. This can also help in avoiding plagiarism.
2. Focus on Content Formatting and Organization
If you want to improve your academic writing skills, you have to focus on improving your content’s organization and formatting. If you are writing a paper of some thousand words, only adding the title and a couple of sub-headings is not going to be enough.
You have to break your content down into easily readable parts. Your content should be organized properly with headings, section headings and sub-headings along with bullets.
Breaking the text up like this helps your reader quickly find and navigate to the part they have to peruse.
If a piece of content is written impeccably with regards to the grammar, spelling, punctuation and explanations, but is not organized, then it won’t be considered worth reading. But if the same content is arranged and formatted correctly, it will look very professional and nicely written.
3. Keep Your Writing Readable
While there is some leeway for using complicated words in academic content, it doesn’t mean that you should go totally overboard and start imitating a literature maven from the 15th century.
You should occasionally and sparsely use some fancy words to add a twist of quality to your write-up. But other than that, your focus should be on keeping the content easy to read and understand.
In order to keep your writing readable, you should be careful not to stretch your sentences for too long. You should also try to not make them too convoluted.
However, if despite taking these types of measures, your write-up comes out to be complex and hard to understand, you can always take the help of a paraphrase tool.
Paraphrasing tools are generally looked down upon in the academic world due to the unethical purposes for which they can be used by a lot of writers. But, using these types of tools on your own content to improve it is neither unethical nor exploitative.
To use a paraphrase tool for simplifying your content, you can simply search and select one from the internet. However, before putting them to use, be sure to check their working by doing a couple of test runs.
4. Always Find and Remove Plagiarism
Plagiarism is one of the most harmful and dangerous elements that can exist in your writing. While it is harmful to all types of content, it can be particularly lethal in academic pieces due to the range of consequences it brings in its wake.
When you finish writing your draft, you should always use a dedicated online tool to check for plagiarism in it. This is recommended and important even if you did not have the intention to duplicate anything during the writing phase. There is a lot of content available online, and your writing can accidentally match with any previously published material.
Checking for plagiarism is not very difficult nowadays. You can simply use a plagiarism checker free of cost online. These tools essentially scan your given content against the internet to see if there is any match between the two. If there is, it is highlighted in an prominent color.
That is pretty much what you have to do as far as detecting plagiarism goes. But, if you want to remove it, you can take any of the following steps:
- Add a citation to accredit the source
- Paraphrase the content to remove the similarity
- Put the copied content in quotes
5. Make Your Grammar Perfect
This is another useful tip that you can implement to improve your academic writing skills.
If you want your write-ups to look professional and reliable, you need to make sure that you don’t make any sort of rookie and amateurish mistakes. And the first step to achieving this is to get a sound and thorough understanding of the various grammatical rules.
Now, there are basically two types of grammatical errors that you can find in a piece of content. One of them includes the errors that are found in content that is written by people who are not well-acquainted with the English language i.e., foreigners and ESL students.
The other type of errors includes those that are even made by fluent and native speakers. Some examples of these types of errors include run-on sentences, comma splices, improper comma placements etc.
You have to make sure that you stay away from both these types of errors and mistakes. One of the easiest ways to fix the errors in your writing and avoid them in future is to use grammar-checking tools. These types of tools can help you find and fix the errors in your content while also giving you the reason/logic behind them.
So, there you have it.
Improving academic writing skills is not very difficult to do. There are different steps that you can take to improve different aspects of your writing such as grammar, organization and uniqueness etc.
Hopefully, after reading this post, you have an idea of where to start working on your writing skills.
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