How to master the academic writing process? Formulating a strong hypothesis
How to master the academic writing process? Formulating a strong hypothesis
Effective academic writing requires planning, drafting, and revision. Writing process is something that differs from person to person, depending on the academic field or subject. However, a few simple steps will help scholars and researchers structure their writing to meet academic standards.
Definition of academic writing
Academic writing is a formalized standard of writing used in academic institutions, academic organizations, as well as by academic writers, professors, scholars, and researchers. It is primarily used for producing scholarly material used for study purposes, which are disseminated throughout academia. The standard applies in both lower and higher education. Students as well as professionals are expected to maintain academic writing style during the representation of information or knowledge sharing. Researchers use an academic writing approach while presenting a study, theory, or hypothesis with the structure varying across various academic genres. Though the tone, style, consistency, structure, and organization differ across academic genres, all forms of academic writing share relatively the same formal prose registry and with frequent reference to other academic work. This is done to produce scholarly or scientific material and data for education and research.
How academic writing is different from other writing styles
Unlike other writing styles that allow the use of informal tone, academic writing restricts the use of informal tone and language while presenting content or knowledge. Academic writing primarily depends on facts, evidence, logic, and rational reasoning over emotional or sensual perception and even perception-driven opinions. It is formed through precise study, in-depth knowledge, accurate information, proven concepts, and open-minded research backed by evidence, intending to formulate a rational response. The writing follows a very precise conventional set of rules and guidelines based on the field of study. Academic writing addresses one problem or question at a time, limiting its focus to one topic at a time. It is written using proper academic structure and outlines, formulated after proper planning, and a question is framed to demonstrate understanding of the subject discussed.
Academic writing is coherent and logical, formulated in a manner to support a theory, idea, or concept, backed by subject-related opinions and findings.
Here are 5 steps of the academic writing process:
Step 1: Prewriting
First, the topic has to be decided. Is there a particular area that intrigued, interested, or even confused the writer? Topics that leave the writer with additional questions are perfect for exploring in academic writing.
Narrow down your idea.
An appropriate topic for an essay can be narrowed down like this, for instance:
- 19th-century literature
- Novels in the romantic period
- The novels of Jane Austen
- The theme of theater in Mansfield park
Once the topic is decided, look for relevant sources and gather the information you need. This might involve searching for sources, reading relevant text if you are doing a literary analysis, and collecting data for experiments or surveys.
Step 2: Planning and outlining
It is crucial to use a logical structure to convey information effectively. Creating an outline is an effective way to plan out the structure of your writing before you start writing. This should help the writer work out the main ideas he/she wants to focus on, as well as organize them in a coherent fashion.
For example, in the introduction of a literary analysis essay,
- Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
- Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield park
- Introduce the research question: How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park?
Use bullet points or numbering to make your structure clear at a glance.
Step 3: Writing the first draft
Your writing process does not have to be linear. For example, it is reasonable to begin writing with the main body of the text, saving the introduction for later once you have a clear idea of the text you are introducing.
To give structure to your writing, use your outline as a framework. You can start by systematically writing each paragraph.
- Introduce the point of the paragraph for the topic sentence.
- Provide evidence related to your argument
- Explain or interpret the evidence
- Express the conclusion the interpretation leads you to.
The goal at this stage is to get the draft completed, then move on to improving it.
Step 4: Redrafting and revising
This is a process of critically looking into your first draft and finding potential errors for areas of improvement. It is best to leave your work alone for a day or two after completing the first draft in order to freshen up your perspective.
At this stage, you are looking for larger issues, such as:
- Unclear or illogical arguments
- Poorly ordered information in order to provide better-ordered information
- Incomplete or short passages where an explanation is needed
- Irrelevant passages that do not justify the overall argument
Step 5: Editing and proofreading
When editing, ensure your text is clear, concise, and grammatically correct. You should look out for
- Grammatical errors
- Ambiguous phrasings
- Redundancy and repetition
- Look for typographical errors in your text
- Keep an eye open for stylistic consistency. For example, whether you mixed up British and American spelling and punctuation, capitalization of titles, and headings.
How to formulate a strong hypothesis?
A hypothesis states your predictions about what your research will find. A hypothesis is a tentative statement saying what you expect to find in your research. It is not just based upon random guess, but a prediction based on existing knowledge. In technical terms, “A hypothesis is a relevant explanation made on the basis of limited evidence with the purpose to cover the possibility and existence of an idea or theory which is under investigation.” It is an assumption based on research and scientific knowledge and understanding, which is often given as a proposal before research is conducted.
A hypothesis is a statement that can be tested by scientific research. If you want to test a relationship between two or more things, you need to write a set of hypotheses before the start of the experiment or data collection.
Below are 6 steps to formulate a strong hypothesis
Step 1: Ask a question
Writing a hypothesis begins with a research question for the purpose to answer. The question should be focused, specific, and researchable.
Step 2: Preliminary research
The initial answer to the question should be based upon what is already known about the topic. Look for theories and previous studies to help form an educated assumption. For example, “you found out that apples are nutritious, and they are high in vitamin C that can boost your immune system; these are the health benefits that might contribute to fewer doctor’s visits.”
Step 3: Formulate your hypothesis
After completing the research, write down your initial answer to the question in a clear and concise sentence. For example, “daily apple consumption leads to fewer doctor’s visits.”
Step 4: Refine your hypothesis
In this step, you have to make sure that the hypothesis is specific and testable. It should also contain the relevant variables such as “apple consumption and doctor’s visits,” as well as the predicted outcome of the experiment or analysis, and the specific group being studied; for example, setting the tier group to people over 60 years old as the specific group to conduct the study.
Step 5: Phrase your hypothesis in 3 ways
First, we have “if…then… form,” that is, “If people over 60 consume an apple daily, then they will visit the doctor less frequently.” The first part of the sentence, “consume an apple daily,” states the independent variable, which is the cause. The second part of the sentences, “visit the doctor less frequently,” is a dependent variable, which is the effect.
The second way is to phrase the hypothesis in terms of a correlation/effect. For example, “daily apple consumption by people over 60 will result in a decreased frequency of doctor’s visits.”
The third way of phrasing a hypothesis is by comparing two groups. For example, “people over 60 who consume an apple daily visit the doctor less frequently than those who don’t.”
Step 6: Write a null hypothesis
If your research involves statistical hypothesis testing, you may require to write and produce a null hypothesis. The null hypothesis assumes that there is no effect between the variables. In this case, the null hypothesis is “daily apple consumption in over 60 will have no effect on the frequency of doctor’s visits.”
The aforementioned discussion will help readers formulate strong hypotheses for research and academic writing.