• James Robinson

Qualities and Importance of Good Academic Writing

* This is an original submission as part of my doctoral program in International Education. It is not in APA format as a Blog post and is part of my early coursework. It does not represent my progression as an academic writer.

Qualities and Importance of Good Academic Writing


While quality writing is essential to the success of graduate and doctoral students, many students new to this level of scholarship lack the necessary skills to be successful. They bring many habits that, while acceptable in undergraduate settings, are not appropriate in scholarly writing. (McDougall 2015) This paper discusses the importance of quality academic writing, summarises some of its components, and considers challenges new writers face as they strive to attain writing skills expected within their profession.  

Importance of Quality Academic Writing 

Quality writing captures the interest of the reader early in the reading process. When an author captivates their audience by using excellent writing techniques, they contribute to the probability that the reader will complete their reading of the work.  By producing quality writing and fulfilling the goals and objectives identified by the author the reader gains confidence in the ability of the writer to present valid and reliable arguments and information. (Lambert 2003) Professionals are more likely to read work that meets the writing standards accepted by their profession. (McDugall 2015)

Components of Good Academic Writing

Academic quality writing is very different from the writing styles new graduate, and doctoral students are accustomed to using. Good academic composition takes into consideration the professional community it addresses while adhering to the professional standards and expectations for scholarly writing in that community. (McDougall 2015) It is not overly lengthy, excessively wordy, and it is not written to impress its readers by using complicated phrasing or verbiage. Instead, when composed at its best, it is concise and not overly convoluted. Additionally, it will thoroughly complete its stated purpose while progressing logically from point to point. (Lambert 2003)  

Challenges Faced by Students New to Scholarly Writing 

Undergraduate writing experiences do not usually prepare students for the rigorous expectations of advanced academic writing. Habits which inhibit the student's ability to complete advanced writing assignments much be unlearned. Considering that students have usually maintained these habits for years, it is not always an easy or quick process to replace them with good scholarly writing habits. (McDougall 2015) 

Methods and Techniques.

Inexperienced academic writers are challenged to learn and implement better methods and practices. Many of the techniques they are accustomed to using are not conducive to successful writing in their current specialized areas of study. For example, overuse of clauses and phrases which expand, and complicate writing may have been acceptable in the student’s previous coursework, but students must abandon this habit when composing quality scholarly writing.  (McDougall 2015)

Scholarly Community.

Other problems arise when students are unfamiliar with acceptable writing styles of the scholarly community they are addressing. Awareness of the community's expectations relating to the concise review of appropriate reference resources is also important. (Lambert 2003) To produce writing in their new academic setting students must consistently follow guidelines found in the profession’s scholarly writing guide such as the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association” (APA).  (McDougall 2015)


Scholarly writers in academic fields must produce quality writing. Readers from professional communities will develop respect for competent authors and their work will be considered worthy of consideration. (McDougall 2015) 

As new students acquire the skills to generate quality academic writing, they face many challenges. Relying on skills developed and used as undergraduate students is no longer adequate at an advanced level of study.  Students must quickly modify their writing style to follow the scholarly guidelines of their area of specialization. (McDougall 2015) 

I recently began a doctoral program after being out of school for 20 years. I came to the program with writing skills which served me very well throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies. During my professional career, I wrote many articles, reports, and presentations. With this experience I still found myself challenged to produce quality academic writing.

Early drafts of my first two writing assignments were very wordy. They were twice as long as the maximum allowed for the projects and I was unfamiliar with APA formatting requirements. After purchasing an APA manual, accessing available resources such as Grammerly, and APA templates I began to form new habits. I edited my writing and significantly reduced the use of excessive language. Using Grammerly quickly helped me modify my writing style to be more concise. 

 I am at the beginning stages of a long process. By completing my first assignments I have made progress. I am recognizing habits which I am working to change to meet the new academic challenge of producing quality scholarly writing. 


McDOUGALL, D., ORNELLES, C., & RAO, K. (2015). A Primer on the Pathway to Scholarly Writing: Helping Nascent Writers to Unlearn Conditioned Habits. College Student Journal, 49(2), 262–270. Retrieved from http://proxy1.ncu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=103235385&site=eds-live

Vickie A., L., Clinton E., L., & Masato, T. (2003). Basic tips about writing a scholarly manuscript. Nursing and Health Sciences, (1), 1. Retrieved from http://proxy1.ncu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsovi&AN=edsovi.00128699.200303000.00001&site=eds-live

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