The four main types of academic writing are descriptive, analytical, critical and persuasive.

The four main types of academic writing are descriptive, analytical, critical and persuasive.

In several texts that are academic will have to use more than one type. For instance, in an thesis that is empirical

  • you will use critical writing when you look at the literature review to exhibit where there clearly was a gap or opportunity within the existing research
  • The methods section shall be mostly descriptive to summarise the strategy used to collect and analyse information
  • the results section will be mostly descriptive and analytical you collected as you report on the data
  • the discussion section is much more analytical, as you propose your interpretations of the findings as you relate your findings back to your research questions, and also persuasive.


The type that is simplest of academic writing is descriptive. Its purpose is always to provide facts or information. An example could be a listing of an article or a written report of this total results of an experiment.

The sorts of instructions for a purely descriptive assignment include: identify, report, record, summarise and define.


It’s rare for a university-level text to be purely descriptive. Most academic writing is also analytical. Analytical writing includes descriptive writing, you also re-organise the known facts and information you describe into categories, groups, parts, types or relationships.

Sometimes, these categories or relationships happen to be the main discipline, sometimes you will create them specifically for your text. For instance, if you’re comparing two theories, you might break your comparison into several parts, for example: how each theory deals with social context, how each theory deals with language learning, and just how each theory may be used in practice.

The sorts of instructions for an analytical assignment include: analyse, compare, contrast, relate, examine.

To produce your writing more analytical:

  • spend the required time planning. Brainstorm the known facts and ideas, and attempt different ways of grouping them, in accordance with patterns, parts, similarities and differences. Make use of colour-coding, flow charts, tree diagrams or tables.
  • Create a true name for the relationships and categories you will find. As an example, benefits and drawbacks.
  • build each section and paragraph around one of many analytical categories.
  • make the structure of your paper clear to your reader, by utilizing topic sentences and a clear introduction.
  • In many academic writing, you are required to go a minumum of one step further than analytical writing, to persuasive writing. Persuasive writing has all of the features of analytical writing (that is, information plus re-organising the knowledge), with the addition of your own point of view. Most essays are persuasive, and there’s a element that is persuasive at least the discussion and conclusion of a research article.

    Points of view in academic writing can include a quarrel, a recommendation, interpretation of findings or evaluation regarding the ongoing work of others. Each claim you make needs to be supported by some evidence, for example a reference to research findings or published sources in persuasive writing.

    The kinds of instructions for a assignment that is persuasive: argue, evaluate, discuss, take a position.

    To help achieve your own point of view regarding the facts or ideas:

    • read various other researchers’ points of view on this issue. Who do you are feeling is considered the most convincing?
    • try to find patterns within the data or references. Where could be the evidence strongest?
    • list several interpretations that are different. Exactly what are the real-life implications of every one? Those that are usually most beneficial or useful? Those that possess some problems?
    • discuss the facts and ideas with another person. Would you agree with their point of view?

    To produce your argument:

    • list the reasons that are different your point of view
    • look at the types that are different sourced elements of evidence that can be used to guide your point of view
    • consider different ways that your point of view is similar to, and different from, the points of view of other researchers
    • seek out various ways to split your point of view into parts. For example, cost effectiveness, environmental sustainability, scope of real-world application.

    To present your argument, make sure:

    • your text develops a argument that is coherent all of the individual claims work together to aid your overall point of view
    • your reasoning for each claim is clear into the reader
    • your assumptions are valid
    • you’ve got evidence for almost any claim you make
    • you use evidence that is convincing and directly relevant.

    Critical writing is common for research, postgraduate and advanced writing that is undergraduate. This has all of the features of persuasive writing, using the added feature with a minimum of one other point of view. While persuasive writing requires you to have your very own point of look at a concern or topic, critical writing requires one to consider at the least two points of view, together with your own.

    For example, you might explain a researcher’s interpretation or argument and then assess the merits associated with argument, or give your personal alternative interpretation.

    Examples of critical writing assignments include a critique of a journal article, or a literature review that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of existing research. The kinds of instructions for critical writing include: critique, debate, disagree, evaluate.

    • accurately summarise all or part of the work. This may include identifying the main interpretations, assumptions or methodology.
    • have an opinion concerning the work. Appropriate types of opinion could include pointing out some problems with it, proposing an approach that is alternative will be better, and/or defending the task up against the critiques of others
    • provide evidence for the point of view. According to the assignment that is specific the discipline, different sorts of evidence may be appropriate, such as logical reasoning, mention of the authoritative sources and/or research data.

    Critical writing requires strong writing skills. You’ll want to thoroughly understand the topic plus the issues. You will need to develop an essay structure and paragraph structure which allows you to definitely analyse different interpretations and build your own argument, supported by evidence.