Academic Writing Guidelines Resource
|Description||Guidelines and Examples|
|Organization is the internal structure of a piece of writing, the thread of central meaning that ties the piece together from beginning to ending.||· A piece of solid academic writing:
· Begins with an introduction regarding the piece’s primary purpose or theme, which prepares the reader for what is to come (i.e., thesis statement).
· Ends with a conclusion that summarizes the key points of the piece, draws conclusions, and generally provides closure for the reader.
|The body of a piece of academic writing can be organized around a variety of structures.||· Examples of organizing structures:
· Main idea/thesis, with supporting details/evidence
· Deductive logic
· Point-by-point analysis
· Development of central theme
· Chronology or history (e.g., of an event, process, era)
|Solid academic writing uses transitional words and phrases to provide logical connections and sequencing.||· Examples of transitional words:
· Addition: also, again, as well as, besides
· Consequence: accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this reason
· Generalizing: as a rule, as usual, generally
· Illustration: for example, for instance, for one thing
· Emphasis: above all, chiefly, with attention to, especially, particularly
· Similarity: comparatively, coupled with, correspondingly
· Exception: , , s, ,
· Restatement: in essence, in other words, namely
· Comparison: in contrast, by the same token, conversely, instead, likewise
· Summarizing: after all, all in all, briefly, in any case, in any event, in conclusion, in short, in summary, finally
|CONVENTIONS and MECHANICS||Description||Guidelines and Examples|
|Solid academic writing is characterized by the proper use of conventions and mechanics, including: spelling, grammar, paragraphing, capitalization, and punctuation.||· Examples of conventions and mechanics in academic writing:
· Proper use of capitalization, punctuation, quotation marks
· Subject/verb agreement
· Proper use of pronouns
· Technical abbreviations, acronyms, and units of measurement
· Paragraphs that are indented; consisting of three or more sentences
· Use of title page, headers, and footers
· Avoid the use of: contractions, incomplete and run-on sentences
|WORD CHOICE and USAGE||In solid academic writing, the use of language is precise, with correct word usage and appropriate word choice.||· Guidelines for language use:
· In good descriptive writing, strong word choice clarifies and expands ideas.
· In persuasive writing, careful word choice moves the reader to a new vision of possibilities.
· Effective word choice depends less on an exceptional vocabulary and more on the skill to use everyday words well.
· Use a thesaurus for new words with more specific meaning: For example, “pronounce” for “say,” or “embarkation” for “start.” In academic writing, “it” as the subject of a sentence is not acceptable. Make sure the reader knows what the subject of each sentence is.
|RESEARCH and RESOURCES||In solid academic writing, it is at times necessary to support your thesis or argument with outside research. Use of proper resources for accurate and thoughtful support of any argument or position is essential in academic writing.||Some strongly recommended sources for student use are:
· GCU Library for EBSCO Host and other search engines located at:
For instructions on how to use our GCU library, access and view our tutorials at:
For good research techniques, view the tutorials in the Student Success Center at:
· Online Writing Lab at Purdue University http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
· Google Scholar http://scholar.google.com/schhp?hl=en&tab=ws
· ProQuest http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?RQT=302&cfc=1
· Northern Light Search
· INFOMINE Scholarly Internet Research Connections
1) “Mechanics of Writing,” located at
2) “Key Terms in Academic Writing,” located at
3) “Academic Writing Skills,” located at
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