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Business Research Methods : Online Learning

What is academic writing?

writing with a pencil


Writing academically means writing about a specialist academic subject in a clear understandable way

 It does not mean:

  • Using long words
  • Writing complicated sentences with lots of semi-colons and colons
  • Finding more “academic” sounding words in a thesaurus

Writing style

  • Have one main point per paragraph
  • Use short sentences
  • Write in the past tense – you are describing research that has taken place
  • Write words out in full, for instance use ‘could not' instead of ‘couldn’t‘
  • Avoid using phrases that sound like informal speech or texting
Avoid using the first person - try not to say “I”
Instead of:
“In this report I aim to investigate …”
“This report aims to investigate…”

Only use 'I' in the reflection section of the report:
“On reflection, I lacked confidence in this aspect of the project ….

Writing tips

Be accurate
  • Avoid vague phrases such as “for some time”
Be objective
  • Report what you actually found, not what you hoped to find
Be critical
  • What evidence is there to support your explanation?
Be direct
  • Write to express, not to impress
Be concise
  • Don't waste your words on unnecessary details

Proofreading tips

  • Leave the report for a few days – come to it with a fresh perspective
  • Read it aloud
  • Use spell check – but with caution!
  • Look over your past assignments – make a note of your common mistakes to look out for
  • You can get a friend to look over your report, but proofreading is a valuable skill to develop yourself too.

Useful resources