Academic research -- which is done in an academic environment, such as a university -- is presented in writing using a specific format according to a style guide such as that of the American Psychological Association. The purpose of academic research writing is twofold: to explain the goals, methodology and results of academic research and to analyze and interpret the findings.

Organizing Academic Research Writing

Academic research writing has a formal organizational structure. It begins with an abstract, which is a summary that helps the reader decide whether he wants to read the entire document. Then the introduction outlines the research problem, the goal in addressing the problem and the author's stance. A literature review follows, to demonstrate how the research project fits into existing literature on similar topics. The methodology section then describes any surveys, lab experiments or other means by which data was gathered. Results of the research are then presented as qualitative or quantitative information. This is followed by a discussion section to address what the author learned from the research. The conclusion enlarges on the discussion and assigns significance to the research findings in the context of existing research. References give credit to sources used.

Using the Information and Findings

Prior to the beginning of the research project, a proposal in writing may be presented to a committee to obtain approval for the project. This proposal includes an abstract, introduction, literature review, a description of the proposed research project and expected results. After the research and writing are completed, it may be presented to a committee as part of the process of earning an advanced degree or published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.