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Counseling and Family Therapy

Academic Writing

What is Academic Writing?

Academic writing is a formal writing style used by academics to convey ideas and engage in scholarly conversations.  This writing style has an impersonal tone, provides evidence to support viewpoints, and has standards for layout and citations. 

  • What is a "formal" writing style?  It is a style where...
    • you don't use contractions (e.g. can't, don't)
    • you don't use slang or informal language (e.g. cool, stuff)
    • you avoid the first person (I, me, my)
      • Instead of "I think climate change....," just state your opinion, "Climate change ..."
    • you support your opinion with research, not personal examples.
    • you avoid addressing the reader directly using words like "you."
      • Instead of "If you want to succeed, you should..." use something like, "Following this process will increase one's chance of success."
    • you avoid overly emotional language - one may appear irrational.
    • you don't over generalizations (e.g. all, everyone, everybody)
    • you don't use statistics or the ideas of others without proper reference.

APA citing

Purdue OWL the Purdue University Online Writing Lab is a great resource for information about writing and citing in the APA format. 

Access the APA Formatting and Style (7th ed) in an online format.

APA Template for Word

You may also find an APA style paper when you start a new document and select "New from Template." 

... or set up Word without using a template.

What do I need to cite?

How to do I cite?

How do I format APA In-text citations?

How do I synthesizing Literature?


From SimplyPsychology: How to synthesize written information from multiple sources.

In this web article you will find an example and 4 recommended steps to follow.

Writing a Literature Review

Lit Review 101 - Virginia Commonwealth University - Including a Word and Excel synthesis matrix

How to write a literature review in the Sciences - Monash University

Article in PLOS Computational Biology

Basic Literature Review

Machi, L. A., & McEvoy, B. T. (2009). The literature review: Six steps to success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, p.2.

Resources for writing a literature review

Resources for your dissertation