Guidelines for Developing a Scholarly Writing Style

guidelines for Developing a Scholarly Writing Style

In today’s post we will work on with the important guidelines for developing a scholarly writing style for thesis writing. In typical research paper writing, primary emphasis is laid on the need for intellectual candor i.e. integrity and honesty. By adhering to intellectual candor, you are sending out the message that none of your work is plagiarized or arrives at false (influenced) derivations.

The commonly talked about “basic characteristics of scholarly writing” means the formal tone which is almost beaurocratic in nature. In addition to adopting a formal tone, the writer must be prepared to make multiple revisions and maintain the patience & composure for repeated edits. The subsequent guidelines for developing a scholarly writing style include the generic layout of a scholarly paper:

Essential Do’s of Scholarly Writing Style

Tenses

Your tenses have to be spot on every single time in a scholarly paper to pass on a professional image. You bring in the past tense when making references to events that took place in the past. The present tense comes in to play when talking about important books & documents.

Referencing with Text Citation

All footnotes, citations, endnotes and the bibliography portions must obey the rules of the style that you have been asked to adopt for the scholarly paper i.e. APA style, MLA style, Chicago Manual style etc.

Proofreading

A writer who is satisfied with the 1st draft is seriously in for it; it should never be turned in, no matter what. The best practice is to go through drafts over and over again & keep taking down notes as you go along.

As a scholarly writer, you want to ensure that each facet and paragraph of the research paper maintains the flow and slides smoothly into the following text. A hotchpotch image is never one that sends out a positive image. Remember, “First impression is the last impression” holds more true here than any other place.

Be Conscientious About Your Grammar, Vocabulary and Spellings

An instinctive action after completing a document on MS Word is to run the “spell check” tool. This feature is limited in its potential; you yourself will be the best judge of word choice and flow. No matter what, take time out to read the whole document yourself and request others to read it too; it’s easy for us to miss out errors in our own work.

Do Not’s of Scholarly writing Style

Plagiarism

As stated in the initial part of this excerpt, plagiarism is an absolutely NO when it comes to scholarly papers. It is perfectly ok to cite other people’s work as long as you are giving them their due credit.

However, incorporating the over usage of references leads the reader to believe that either you are lacking original content or even the possibility that you probably didn’t create the whole document by yourself. It helps to paraphrase instead of punching in quotes.

Unnecessary Verbiage

Cut down on the excessive verbiage and keep it simple; keep it real. Academic writers get carried away when trying to reach the minimum word count prescribed by the academia.

They feel the easiest way to do that is to add extra words. For example, “David Smith was a man who could shoot a can of beer a mile away” can simple be stated as “David Smith could shoot long range targets”. The average per-sentence word count should be 20.

Jargons & Slang

unless a particular word is part of a direct quotation, slang is another big NO in scholarly writing. The reason is real simple; you want your words to be understood by everyone – whether they’re from the generation before you or after you. If you belonged to the 2000s generation, picked up a research paper from the 70s and came across ‘… a rat’s ass” – it would probably take a while for you to decipher that expression. So bottom line; keep it real & simple.

Using the 1st – 2nd Person

You always incorporate the 3rd person in a scholarly paper. Even if you have to make a reference to yourself, you will not say ‘I’. Instead, that thought is written as, “The author…” Similarly, do not use ‘You’ or ‘We’ either.

Active/Passive Tone

using the passive tone to say something adds unneeded words. It also carries the risk of losing the reader. Therefore, the active tone is always easy and recommended. “Microsoft introduced its Windows Live service last year” (Active Tone)

The Windows Live service was introduced last year by Microsoft” (Passive Tone).

Verbiage Retrenchment

Don’t try to make up for crossing the maximum word limit by retrenching words such as ‘Did not’, ‘Could not’, ‘Should not’, ‘Cannot’ etc. These words should appear in their original form instead of the retrenched ‘Didn’t’, ‘Shouldn’t’, ‘Couldn’t, ‘Can’t’ form.

General Layout of Academic Papers

Introduction

There are 3 major elements of the introduction paragraph:

  1. Clearly explain the issues (topic) your scholarly paper will tackle
  2. The course of action adopted to discuss the focal topic
  3. Why the issue(s) need to be studied.
Formulating Your Thesis Statement

The thesis statement sends out a clear message about your take on the issue at hand. For example, “Suicide rates are on the rise among U.S veterans” will be the proposition you will be looking to justify in the academic paper

Background Information or Review of Literature

In this segment, you provide some of the facts that validate your claim. You may choose to delve deeper in to the background info if you feel that it helps the reader comprehend subsequent knowledge easily.

Main Body : Argument & Analysis of Your Thesis Statement

Some academic counselors refer to this portion as the “Literature Review” while others resort to calling it “Points of Discussion”. Either way, this is where the bulk of your research is accumulated. You bring in all the facts & statistics that you have and prove each point one-by-one.

Working on Your Conclusion

The conclusion should be well thought out. It should not be a mere repetition of previously stated facts. Instead, write down remedies and recommendations that can help counter the issue which in this case is the growth rate of suicide amongst U.S veterans.

Through this excerpt, you understand the general rules that play a role in the creation of a robust scholarly paper. However, simply reading guidelines for developing a scholarly writing style does not make one a good writer. Instead, it takes dedicated effort, practice and constant consultation with senior instructors that help shape your distinctive writing caliber and style.