Why Does Academic Writing Require Strict Formatting
Published byat November 10th, 2021 , Revised On October 21, 2022
Before dwelling into the essays’ formatting debate, let us focus on some of the fundamental questions about academic writing, from what an essay is and why are they written to more advanced questions about how to format an essay for academic submissions.
What is academic formatting?
Academic formatting is how we present our documents, such as essays or dissertations, to the reader; it includes the following aspects.
- Line spacing
- Page layout
- Font style
- Font size
- Heading and subheadings style
- Paragraph spacing
- Paragraph indentation
- Citation style
Why is the formatting of academic documents important?
Your teachers gauge your writing skills by reading your essay. If the information is unclear or lacks logical flow, it can cause a nuisance for them. Academic documents are composed in a specific manner. An essay that doesn’t follow a specific structure or format is likely to be less engaging for the readers. Your arguments will be more influential if they flow logically through the essay.
Also read: How to write an argumentative essay
Reasons academic documents follow strict formatting
Students submit academic documents at their college or university to partially fulfil a degree or an assignment. Teachers and assessors encourage consistently formatted documents that are easy to comprehend.
A consistent document is always pleasing to the eyes. You can easily navigate through the document and do more checking and grading.
Cluttering can cause a nuisance, and you might suffer a deduction of grades if you fail to follow the formatting guidelines.
Universities and colleges follow a strict formatting style to ensure the quality of their students’ documents. Universities issue comprehensive guidelines on how to format your essays, theses, and assignments.
Several citation styles are applicable in the academic world to give credits where it’s due. Failing to follow citation styles can result in plagiarism. Plagiarism can only be removed by citing sources according to the recommended citation technique.
References are present at the end of the document so that readers can consult these sources if they seek additional information or validation of the discussed material. So universities and colleges encourage tabulating the references as per the citation style used.
Writing an essay that follows correct formatting
To write an essay that follows correct formatting, it is absolutely vital to know more about the key components of a great academic essay.
What is an essay?
An essay is a piece of writing written to express an author’s views on a particular issue, subject, or topic. An essay is written in prose and consists of thesis and anti-thesis statements. The general purpose is to persuade readers by articulating well-researched evidence on a single subject.
These formal writing pieces are an essential tool in assessments, exams, and assignments. An academic essay consists of three parts.
- Introduction: An opening statement that lures the reader’s attention to the subject they are about to learn. The introduction is generally a thesis statement aiming to captivate the reader’s interest.
- Body: The essay’s body is where an author will pour all the evidence. It is composed of chronologically assembled paragraphs providing valuable content for the audience.
- Conclusion: This is the final portion of the essay, where the writer must conclude the debate, and all the material presented in the body should be concluded concisely and understandably.
Formatting different types of essays
Essays are non-fiction writings. There are different types of essays that you may be writing in your academic career or even after academics; you might come across situations where you will need to write an essay.
There are four common types of essays.
Expository essays formatting
In school or college, you are asked to write essays about a specific topic or subject. A student is supposed to present ideas and knowledge on the subject. The explanatory nature of these essays is why they are named expository essays.
Descriptive essays formatting
As the name suggests, these kinds of essays describe a phenomenon, event, subject, or topic in detail. Descriptive essays use metaphors, adjectives similes, etc. and require the author to pay keen heed to the language.
The structure of these essays is as important as in any other essay. Introduction, body, and conclusion are the primary structural component of these essays. You begin your essay with an introductory statement describing the scenario and then build upon the tidbits put forth in the intro.
Examples of such essays include, “a recent football match experience” or “how you spent your vacation in the countryside” etc.
Narrative essays formatting
Narrative essays are mostly focused on the author’s creativity, often termed creative non-fiction. You will be required to present your narrative, ideas, views, and observations on a particular subject. The writer describes events or theses from his perspective and often uses first-person pronouns like I, we, us, etc.
These essays have the same structure as well. The same 3 portions are there starting with introduction, body, and conclusion to enclose the whole piece. These essays try to pursue readers by posing suspense in the intro, presenting the writing’s crux in the body, and finally, a concise conclusion. These kinds of pieces are highly admired in the journalism industry.
Argumentative essays formatting
The most common type of essay a student is asked to write is an argumentative essay. Students write statements in favour of the thesis statement and anti-thesis. Such pieces require an in-depth analysis of the topic. It is highly encouraged to present well-researched qualitative and quantitative data to strengthen your argument.
These essays follow a similar format but require better research and articulation of facts. You must also write contradictory statements to the argument that you are supporting.