Different styles of academic writing and how they work

Different styles of academic writing and how they work
18 Nov 2021

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Each academic paper is unique because the student does everything for this text to represent their individuality and specific point. However, every written assignment also represents one of the four distinct styles. It can be descriptive, critical, analytical, or persuasive. Some of these seem pretty self-explanatory, but there are special features to each type of narrative. Moreover, not a single one of them is “the best” or universal, so it’s impossible to earn your audience’s appreciation without studying all four. Let’s look at every style to see how they are used in Canadian colleges and beyond.

Descriptive style

The name suggests that you should write about something you see or understand. It might seem easy, but the inspiration to create a descriptive-style work doesn’t always come cheap. In this case, the reader is your customer, and you should give them pure and simple facts—no more and no less. Here are some of the contexts where descriptive writing dominates.

Experiment descriptions and lab reports

They say you can’t buy talent to be concise, and that’s exactly what you need with this type of paper. You should be brief, matter-of-fact, and only mention tangible data, so a descriptive style is perfect for such works.

Abstracts for journal articles

In this case, it’s about providing the essence of what the expert has found and why it’s so important. No matter if it’s about the profit of a specific company or what Shakespeare really meant in that one play, it must be factual.

Research papers explaining specific concepts, historical periods, and other scientific entities

While your texts should always be custom, sometimes you have to present specific information in your essay and draw the conclusion yourself. Such tasks might not be the most exciting but they’re necessary.

Expository essays

These are about organizing the information related to the topic so that it speaks for itself. You’ll need an excellent command of English to tackle this genre.

As you can see, the descriptive style is pretty popular. You’ll always meet it in literature and conversations as well, and it’s vital to achieve compromises. That’s why developing your skills with this one can make it easier for you and your classmates to get jobs in result-oriented companies later on.

Critical style

This one is a little more complex because the writing process involves expressing what you think about something and proving this point. At first look, this style may seem to welcome free form, but that’s only partially true. Here are some examples of where you need to get really critical.

Essays on literature or films

Of course, your opinion can be positive, but professors always expect well-written and strictly structured textual proof from their students. That’s why such papers might not be as easy as they appear.

Reviews for scientific articles

These often require presenting your ideas in a specific order that corresponds to the structure of the study. You’ll also need to spend some time researching the terminology online.

Answers to discussion posts

You may say, “it’s not even a paper!” However, it’s still academic work, and some people need help balancing between honesty and friendliness while writing such critiques.

At this point, you might consider getting assistance to understand all the niceties of every style. It’s a very smart step since you can ask your teacher for additional materials while also contacting your friends who know everything already. If these options are unavailable or insufficient, you can always use a custom essay writing service, which is a reliable academic essay writing service that can provide you with nice examples to follow for every type of paper.

Analytical style

It’s about breaking down some issues or concepts and grouping what we know about them into categories. The next stage is identifying tendencies and patterns that wouldn’t be visible otherwise. Students usually review many various sources to get this one right. The following tasks popular in the UK, the USA, and Canada require such a narrative.

Categorizing and explaining experimental data

After conducting empirical research, you need to answer the infamous “so what?” question. Analytical narrative makes it possible, and professional scientists across the globe use it to explain their successes and failures.

Reviewing the market trends to update advertising strategies

It’s just one of the many examples you’ll find across different subjects. Upgrading products and services is always among the top goals for most organizations, so analytical style goes beyond academia here.

Searching for the roots of any modern issues, ranging from ecological to philosophical

You might sometimes wonder why people think or act the way they do, and when there’s a need to write an academic work answering similar questions, you’ll just have to use analytical style.

Persuasive style

This one might seem the hardest, although the strengths and weaknesses of all writers are unique. It starts with a brief description and incorporates analysis to build the strongest argument possible and consider the thoughts of other scientists while proving it. It goes well with the following.

Argumentative essays

This one’s pretty obvious since creating a multifaceted perspective on a complex issue from scratch is about arguing multiple points. This level of complexity also presupposes getting reviews from your knowledgeable classmates before submitting.

Research papers that aim to develop students’ critical thinking

Your ability to build and get across original arguments directly correlates with how you view the world. Once again, think of the text as a service that you provide to your future self, developing the necessary cognitive skills.

Sociological, psychological, and other “soft sciences” articles where it’s not always possible to rely on physical evidence

Creating a quality scientific work means winning the trust of your audience. That’s why persuasive style is extremely useful with qualitative research that has no numbers or other unequivocal proof for the writer’s point.

Bottom line

So, that’s how 4 main academic writing styles work. Becoming a good writer means grasping all four and using each of them when it’s appropriate. You can easily create personalized texts if you understand exactly what you’re doing, and knowing stylistic requirements is vital in such processes. Moreover, you might notice that your speech has become more confident and your thoughts are more organized after using specific styles in your written works for a while. That’s because conscious writing trains our brain to function better in all domains that include words. Therefore, spending some time learning from your more skillful friend or using a trustworthy website to study faster is always a worthwhile investment.

Big Daddy

If you would like me to review your product, service, restaurant, or travel destination, please send me an email at craig@bigdaddykreativ.ca or tweet me at @BigDaddyKreativ


Craig Silva

Craig is a husband, a father, team leader, senior youth group coordinator, designer, brander, community builder, volunteer, travel writer, and social media strategist. Craig likes to travel, go camping, go on road trips, watch movies, read with his girls, build stuff, operate the grill, and sing with his band. Craig is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada. In June 2017, PR firm Cision identified Craig as one of Canada’s top 10 most popular male bloggers in the parents and family space. Known as Big Daddy Kreativ, his blog specializes in travel, food, and lifestyle.

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