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Writing: Different academic writing styles


Academic writing styles

Work through the following activities to check your understanding of different academic assignment types.


It’s important to read your assignment question carefully and follow assignment requirements and instructions as they may vary from the standard.

Assignment type and purpose

Language of writing

Academic writing generally needs to be formal, clear and concise. It is normally written in the passive voice (e.g. samples were taken) or active third person voice (he/she/they concluded that…)

Sections and subtitles

All assignments need a structure that makes it easy for a reader to follow. Sub headings and sections are used in several assignment types. 


Nearly all assignments will need a beginning, a middle and an end. Generally, an introduction or similar at the start and a conclusion or equivalent wrap up at the end will be required. The middle is where things vary but this is the main part where the hard work is done. Your lecturers, tutors and unit guides will outline exactly what is required in the assignment and be sure to check what is required if you are at all unsure.

Dot points

Critique and argument

Comparison of essays and reports