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4.5 Any false assumptions?

As well as knowing how to convey your message clearly, you'll need to be aware of both stated and unstated rules around writing at university. But how much do you already know about academic writing conventions?

Complete the following activity to spot false assumptions some students hold before they start their studies.

  • 1. Academic writing needs to be highly sophisticated and complex.

  • 2. Academic writing is factual; therefore, referring to personal opinion or experience should be avoided.

  • 3. Personal pronouns (e.g., “I” or “we”) should not be used in academic writing.

  • 4. Academic writers often use the passive voice to achieve objectivity in their writing.

  • 5. Academic writing avoids making inappropriate judgements and assumptions by using inclusive (e.g., gender-neutral) language.

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Were you surprised about what you believed?

It’s very common to think about writing in this way before coming to university. Your beliefs were probably based on the advice you had received and your previous writing experience. Now you'll need to be flexible: there is no single, strict set of rules for writing at university.

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