Academic vs. Technical or Professional Writing

Have you ever written term papers or academic essays before? What was your purpose for doing so? What were the things that you considered? Also, can you recall the process that you underwent to be able to produce your final writing output?

In this lesson, you are going to get acquainted with the nature of academic and professional writing, as well as the steps every writer undergoes in writing formally or even informally. These steps form parts of a very effective tool students must learn to be able to get by not only in the academe or school but also in life in general as you would be using this tool in communicating effectively with people around you. This is what we call “The Writing Process.”

Academic vs. Professional Writing

There are differences and similarities between academic and professional writing. Both are formal, concise, substantive, based on reality, and meant to inform people. However, the setting in which each is used differs: academic writing is meant for school, college or university, while professional (or technical) writing is meant for the workplace.

Between the two, academic writing tends to be longer, with complete sentences and paragraphs. Why? That’s because you need to demonstrate the breadth (extent) and depth of your understanding of a topic. Conversely, professional/technical writing tends to be shorter and more straightforward, especially when a boss releases a memorandum instructing people what to do.

Things to Remember When Writing Academically or Professionally

Since academic and professional writing are starkly different from personal and literary writing, there are things you need to remember:

  • Know your purpose for writing. Are you writing to inform people? To educate? To make them follow and take action? Or simply to narrate? To entertain? You need to be clear with what you want to do in order to begin writing.
  • Base everything you write on facts. This is non-fiction, so you must base your ideas on reality and factual information. If you don’t, your work and you, by extension, will lose credibility.
  • Do not be very wordy. People, especially those in the workplace, do not have a lot of time, so a short but meaningful text will be helpful. Also, wordiness can cause confusion to readers, so avoid it.
  • Avoid using idioms and poetic language. While literary texts and personal conversations allow you to use idioms and poetic language, academic and professional writing do not. Instead, writers must use direct and straight-to-the-point language.