Definition of Academic Research Writing

Academic research writing is often based on work performed in a laboratory.
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It may seem like professors have cushy jobs where all they have to do is teach a few hours a week. But in reality, the life of a professor is filled with rigorous research requirements. Professors on staff at universities are required to do academic research. This research is done in each professor’s field of study. Whether the field is the literature, political science or chemistry, every field has its standards for academic studies.

1 Academia Definition

When you hear the word academia, you may think of old men scribbling away in books in the towering halls of a university. In reality, academia’s definition comes from the word academy. Just like the academy who chooses the Academy Awards and leads the movie industry, most serious areas of academic research and study have their own governing bodies, also called academies, if you’re feeling fancy.

For example, the study of language and literature has the Modern Language Association. Like the governing bodies for many other areas of academic research, the Modern Language Association puts forth standards for those performing academic research in their subject to follow.

You may have heard of one of their standards. Have you heard someone say a paper should be in MLA format? MLA format is the standard guide for formatting for academic research writing in the fields of language and literature, though some other fields use it as well.

So the academia definition you should know is this: Academia is the organized study of a subject or field which is often governed by an official group.

2 What Is Academic Writing?

Academics, sometimes called scholars, pursue advanced degrees like a Ph.D. and often study the same topic for their entire lives. For example, a chemist might be studying to discover the cure for cancer. This chemist’s academic studies would include reading, laboratory research, research in the field, experiments, collecting data and finally, writing up all of that information to share their discovery with the world.

If the chemist’s research was done as part of Ph.D. studies, they would write their findings up as a dissertation and submit that to their university. Sometimes a dissertation is the length of a long paper. But it can also be as long as an entire book. After the scholars submit their writing, they will have to present it in front of professors and defend their findings.

Academic writing beyond the Ph.D. is similar. But instead of having to submit it to a dissertation committee, academics submit their work to peer-reviewed journals or to conference organizers. Peer review is important in academic studies as a way for scientists and scholars to share information and to check the validity of each other’s work before sharing it with the wider world.

Rebecca Renner is a teacher and freelance writer from Daytona Beach, Florida. Her byline has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Magazine, Glamour and elsewhere.