What is an Academic Paper?
Students encounter many different forms of writing in their lives. Some forms they will cleave to – such as diary entries or creative writing. These free expressions draw many students because they don’t include the rules, regulations and difficult structures of other writing. Students as a whole like other forms of writing far less than these, as they typically exist solely within the school system and are paired with educational pressure. These types of writing are referred to as ‘academic writing.’ Academic writing comes in many forms, and students tend to dislike all of them. What is an academic paper, though, and why do they vex students so deeply?
In essence, an academic paper can always be assumed to have at least one critical piece: a thesis. Academic papers are entirely thesis-driven, regardless of the topic, educational level, length, focus or difficulty. An academic paper revolves around proposing a thesis and then addressing it through research. A student is required to first pose an idea – usually a question, such as ‘is light a wave or a particle?’ They may also pose, in some scenarios, an argument, such as ‘television is harmful to student’s health.’ The point of any thesis, however, is that it must be addressed, supported or proven wrong. An academic paper must gather relevant, credible information to either support or disprove the thesis.
This basic idea in academic writing can take many different forms. In middle to high school, it typically exists in the form of an essay. Essays often ask students to take a position on a situation or propose an individual idea, then lay out their arguments or evidence supporting that idea. When you reach higher levels of high school and college, academic papers become term papers, research papers and other thesis-driven assignments that require much more focus, research and meticulous construction.
Academic writing also has a strict structure that must be followed. It must always have an introduction and a conclusion. All academic papers must also have a body – a chunk of text that provides your insight, research and arguments, while separating the paragraph and conclusion. This body can take many different shapes and forms, but typically, each body paragraph will highlight a different point, piece of evidence or argument. Many academic writing pieces also require additional sections, such as bibliographies, covers pages and more. There’s a reason that academic papers vex students so; it’s because they require vastly higher levels of thinking while requiring more minute details. Understanding what an academic paper is, however, is the first step towards properly writing one.