Hopefully, you know that my title of this blog is in jest, but I have to admit that it’s often what I feel is reflected in my writing; particularly in my scholarly writing. I’m a huge fan of having a growth mindset, and as a math teacher it makes my skin crawl to hear people say, “I’m not good at math.” HOW CAN YOU KNOW THAT?! How hard have you tried? I mean really ask yourself that question and be honest when you answer it. At the same time – I get it. My instinct is to say that I’m a numbers person and I’m just not good at writing, but that’s also an unfair statement because I hadn’t tried writing anything since college other than a lesson plan until I started this program. Being in this program has been a struggle when it comes to writing research papers because the learning curve was strong and I’m not even sure I’m around the bend yet. I’ve had to learn how to change the voice of my writing to that of a scholar and…it’s a work in progress, but there is an improvement. These are the observations that I’ve made in differences between scholarly writing and other kinds of writing over the last year:
- With many kinds of writing, like blogs, a writer is allowed to use their voice in a more creative way (Tomson, 2015). These writings are warmer, more personal, and you may even feel like you’re getting to know a writer through their style. Scholarly writing is fairly stripped of that feature and the end product is much more formal and impersonal; it takes on a very academic tone.
- Scholarly writing also has a greate deal more structure that other kinds of writing might have. This isn’t to say there aren’t rules of writing as you go out to different forms, but you might find that writers have a lot more autonomy the further you get from scholarly writing (Tomson, 2015). While there are different kinds of scholarly writing, you would still expect to see a beginning, middle, and end and the paper may even demand particular sections like abstract, discussion, conclusion, and research background/data.
- This last one is a rule that applies to all kinds of writing but the difference in the answer is what sets scholarly writing apart. Remember your audience. When created scholarly writings the author should be much more technical in their language and choice of words (University of Sydney, n.d.). Writers should be sure to be constantly growing their academic language, more specifically for the topics they are writing about. It’s more appropriate for writing to become less technical and generalized the further it gets from scholarly products.
I outline these three differences specifically because I feel like this is where I struggle the most and where most of my peer critiques have come from. It’s hard for me to write and make it technical, and formal, and follow the rules even though I consider myself a rule follower.
Thomson, P. (2015, December 06). Blogging helps academic writing. Retrieved from https://patthomson.net/2015/12/07/blogging-helps-academic-writing/
University of Sydney. (n.d.). How is academic writing different? Retrieved from http://sydney.edu.au/stuserv/learning_centre/help/styleStructure/st_academicWriting.shtml