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Defining Scholarly Writing July 15, 2015

Filed under: 5580 — S. Michele Holmes @ 7:28 pm
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This week my Readings Seminar in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems course mates and I are reviewing and revising our scholarly writing samples. These samples are primarily reviews of literature and research proposals with some opinion pieces and will all appear in our program portfolios. All of the samples are scholarly, so let us consider what that means. We have been asked to research, blog about, and discuss the differences between scholarly writing and other types of writing.

Scholarly writing is just one of many forms of academic writing. The world of academia consists of a multitude of fields with endless topics for study and research. Each field requires a different style of writing, each with their own methodologies and rules. Because our field deals with research, education, and technology, the writing must be highly information-based. This style of academic writing relies on the structure of the text to help readers interact with the information.  The use of headings and subheading to divide the work into smaller chunks and the inclusion of graphics such as tables and charts will help. Consider when experimental research is completed how it must be reported in a consistent order and manner although the content including the review of the literature, research methodologies, and findings will all be different. Levasseur (2009) points out that scholarly writing should be balanced, objective, accurate, and tentative (BOAT) meaning that scholars should present all sides of any argument, write without any bias understanding they may be wrong, report all research findings accurately, and understand that proof and results depend largely upon circumstances.

Scholars must also consider more than the content of their writings.  Levasseur (2009) also discusses four areas which need attention when writing scholarly papers:  content, organization, grammar, and style. When considering the organization of a work, he suggests providing clear transitions for the reader by assuming that the reader is unfamiliar with the field. He also warns scholars to use correct grammar which could result in further revisions and delays if not kept in check. Some last tips regarding style is to follow the appropriate writing guidelines for one’s field, write in the third person, and cite other works correctly. Trott (2013) supports these ideas stating that scholarly writing should be in the active voice using declarative sentences and paying close attention to language and grammar.


Levasseur, R. E.  (2009).  Scholarly Writing.  Mindfire Press Article.  Retrieved from–Scholarly_Writing.pdf

Trott, B. (2013). Thoughts on scholarly writing. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 53(1), 2-4. Retrieved from



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