Academic writing is a skill that needs to be learnt and nurtured. We need constant practice to brush up academic writing. The principles of scholarly writing are based on conveying the information in a concise, clear and succinct manner. The writing itself should be organised and structured- to reflect the clarity and logical thinking of the researcher. The other concept of academic writing is the art of blending the academic information with a certain style to captivate the readers’ attention. This academic style of writing requires regular practice and wide reading.
Once you have enough data and results in front of you, you will be tempted to proceed with writing. There are some among us who will wait for the magic moment to start writing, unfortunately the moment will never appear! Procrastination!
Remember writing is not a fixed time job. You have to discipline yourself and force yourself to write one to two pages every day to be a good writer. Once you have enough enthusiasm to begin writing, you need to understand three important phases of academic writing: preparation, writing and revision stage. These phases of writing are vital and good to be mastered as it will smoothen your academic journey.
Preparation is the most important stage. Some people name it pre-writing phase. You need to spend more time at this phase- collecting relevant literature, verifying the literature, compiling the literature, collect tables, charts and figures.
Writing stage – where you will begin to put your thoughts on paper.
Revision stage- where the editing, proofreading and other fine-tuning will take place.
The literature review is the systematic method of collecting relevant papers from online resources such as PubMed, Embase and others. We need to key in the relevant keywords to narrow down the search. With a tenth of thousands of papers in online search engine, we may get lost in the sea of information. Always try to get the primary source instead of secondary sources. The search of an important data may send you to a roller coaster ride; but it is simplified by the presence of many bibliographical software such as EndNote, Mendeley and others. The benefit about these software are plenty; apart from storing the paper, it will guide to other relevant papers in the particular topic. It also contains features such as text boxes and highlights so that you can summarise the important result and point. Remember, this is a good practice as slowly you are building writing blocks to create a final solid paper. It will really save your time and resources.
Then, the writing stage begins. It sounds complicated, but what you need is a peaceful mind and quiet environment. Choose perfect hours that work well for your mind and body and start the writing. In this stage, you just need to concentrate on writing the contents. Do not worry about the structure or format of the writing. The structure and the sequence fall under the revision stage. Difficulty arises when we mixed up things and try to get the perfect text at the first attempt. Research is all about patience and perseverance , if you have not realised that till this stage, then the writing academic paper will nurture you that.
The last phase is the revision stage where we need to revise the text. We need to spend a good amount of time at this stage as we need to correct the format and check for spelling and punctuation errors. It is a good practice to let other colleagues read our paper and get feedback from them. This extra pair of eyes will always help you to create an excellent writing. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved!