Freelance writing jobs are available in the field of academic writing but they must be approached in a different way from most other freelance writing jobs.
There is a market for freelance writers who who have academic writing skills. Freelance writing jobs can be found in the fields of: essay writing, thesis writing, or writing academic papers or reports. However, academic writing differs from other forms of freelance writing such as journalism, web content, sales writing, creative writing and creative non-fiction writing.
Writing academic papers can be lucrative for freelance writers, but the rewards are commensurate with the additional skills required. Essay writing, thesis writing and report writing, demand academic writing skills and a knowledge of the correct form and layout, but more importantly, the need to avoid any hint of plagiarism is paramount.
What Makes Academic Writing Different?
Academic writing, as its name suggests, normally finds its readership in academia. Anyone who has studied at college or university will have encountered it. It has the purpose of making a point or arguing a case; but it can also involve the analysis of data. Its audience is normally an informed one, therefore it requires an advanced level of argument from a starting point of superior knowledge and research
- Unlike sales writing, the arguments used to make a persuasive case must avoid hyperbole and must be backed up by evidence.
- Unlike journalism and web content, the writer need have no fear of complexity and can take the reader on an in-depth examination of the subject.
- Unlike creative non-fiction writing, a personal viewpoint should be avoided.
- Unlike creative writing, every statement must be based on facts that can be referenced.
The language used should be:
- Formal with no use of colloquialisms
- Grammatically correct with an emphasis on syntactic logic
- Objective, or 3rd person
Structure of the Academic Essay
In general, the structure is divided into 4 parts.
- Introduction: an introductory paragraph which describes the topic and states the argument in brief.
- Body: the main body of the document gives details of the background to the topic, and the argument or case which is being made. The argument should follow a linear path determined by impeccable logic.
- Conclusion: a summary of the evidence presented and the case which has been made
- Sources: a list of all references and citations
Structure of the Academic Report
Academic Reports involve the collection and analysis of data. They may involve examining problems and coming up with solutions to those problems. They are generally divided into 5 parts:
- Introduction: An introductory paragraph outlining the parameters of the report.
- Discussion: The main body of the report, with details of data collected and the sources.
- Conclusions: An analysis of the data collected.
- Recommendations: This section includes any recommendations which might be suggested as a result of the analysis
- Sources: a list of all references and sources of data
Plagiarism — or the act of taking another persons ideas, or the expression of ideas and passing them off as one’s own — is forbidden, if not illegal, in most fields of writing and the same is true in academic writing.
Academic writing must consist of original thought and the original expression of it. At the same time, any judgments, opinions or conclusions stated in academic writing must be backed up by facts which can be attributed to real sources. Demonstrating and acknowledging sources by including all references and citations is a vital element of all academic writing.