Academic Research Writing: What is it?

Most people think introductory college writing courses are merely an extension of the writing courses they took in high school. However, the writing students do in college may be different from the writing they are familiar with from high school. College writing focuses heavily on research and requires a highly sophisticated, thoughtful interpretation of research from students. The research on which the writing in college is based must have a solid foundation going far beyond quick online searches and requiring thorough investigation into a topic using a variety of rich, credible sources.

When we think about the information from news stories, for example, there is research behind it. Scientists use research to support their work. Lawmakers and advertisers use research to support their points and persuade their readers. Research is everywhere. But it varies in depth, accuracy, timeliness, and reliability, so it’s not advisable to accept anything at face value.

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Understanding what research involves is paramount in all college classes, almost every workplace, and in the public and private writing we do. Through research, we become discerning users of information rather than just passive consumers of it.

In this class, understanding research begins with considering the academic context and exploring a topic deeply.


Academic Research Writing: What is it?

What is Academic Writing? by L. Lennie Irvin 


For this assignment, complete the readings above and post a response to the following questions:

  1. What surprises you about academic writing according to the readings? What do you find interesting or problematic, and why?
  2. In a few sentences, how would you describe what academic writing is?
  3. What kinds of research have you experienced in the past? Have you used search engines to find information, and have you used library resources? What kinds of writing using research have you done in the past?
  4. What are you hoping to learn about the research process and about research writing?


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