At the present moment, I believe that one of my strengths in regards to scholarly writing is my familiarity with the academic style of written discourse. Namely, through my research I have learned what is expected from academic writing form. Characteristics of good academic writing include clarity and rigor. This is because the nature of this discourse: it is the communication of scientific literature to a scientific community. The audience of academic writing is thus select, as opposed to populist: in so far as one writes for a specific group, there are certain conventions expected from writing. In this regard, one of my strengths is that of understanding the intended audience.
One area in which I need improvement is the organization of my writing. Since academic writing intends to clearly convey what are ultimately sophisticated and complex hypotheses, findings and results, a robust structure of the text is central to effective communication. I would like to improve in regards to how I organize my research so as to make it as lucid as possible. The “Reflection on Writing and Feedback” document expresses my exact thoughts on this topic: “Writing is a circular process that starts in a rush to get your ideas on paper followed by reading, revising, seeking feedback, and writing again.” (University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies, 2013) What I have noticed in my writing is that the “rush to get my ideas on paper” phase often negatively affects the structure of my work: I am left with a text that is lacking a clear organization. In this regard I would like to practice strategies whereby my initial presentation of ideas would already have some semblance of structure.
The scoring instrument allows me insight into how established academics view my scholarly writing. For this reason, following the suggestions of the scoring instrument are decisive for my improvement as an academic writer. The scoring instrument allows me to identify current areas of strength in my writing, as well as areas for subsequent improvement. The scoring instrument is closely related to feedback in the writing process. Feedback provides the individual with an objective viewpoint on written work. At the same time, as Wellington et al. (2009) note, building upon previous research, “getting early feedback on your writing” (p. 150) is important. This is a pertinent point: at the beginning of my doctorate studies I will be developing initial habits in how I approach academic writing. This is not to say that habits cannot be changed: rather, the less bad habits that exist at the outset, the less corrective work will have to be done in the future. Early feedback is decisive to establishing a good foundation.
University writing resources provides another key aid alongside the scoring instruments. Access to writing labs, professors, teaching assistants and peers provides me with an opportunity to engage in dialogue with others. At the same time, university access to journal catalogues, such as JTSOR, allows me to immerse myself in already published academic writing. The exposure to a plethora of academic texts will help me build my aesthetic taste in terms of academic writing style.
Academic research is not only about the immediate results. Good academic writing style is decisive because research findings are ultimately communicated through the written word. This means understanding the conventions of the genre as well as norms of organization. At the same time, the development of effective scholarly writing entails committing oneself to improving as a writer through various means, such as feedback and the reading of academic literature.
University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies. (2013). “Reflection on Writing and Feedback.”
Wellington, J. et al. (2009). Succeeding With Your Doctorate. London: SAGE.