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The 4 Types of Academic Writing

you are to know in order to meet all the requirements for the paper you can be assigned to write There are four major types of academic writing:

  1. Descriptive;
  2. Analytical;
  3. Persuasive;
  4. Critical.

Each type has a particular style of language you are to use, as well as a specific purpose to fulfill. Depending on the type of academic writing, there are different ordering and composing rules that must be followed to prepare a sound paper. However, when dealing with some assignments, you may even combine different academic writing styles to get more organized conclusions or impress your audience better. All in all, even if these styles might seem difficult to distinguish, with our instructions you will be able to sort everything out easily.

Is this article, we offer you to:

  • Recall what the different types of academic writing are;
  • Define the main features for each particular type;
  • Know more about the strategies for preparing a good paper of a certain kind.

Let's look at the major characteristics of the writing types in detail.

Descriptive Writing - Use Vivid Images

When dealing with a descriptive type of writing, your primary aim is obvious - you are to be ready for describing. As an object, you can choose a phenomenon, event, place, emotions, results of the work done, etc. You should provide the reader with plenty of sensory images, which can immerse them in the atmosphere of your paper or help to paint a better picture using their imagination. There are two purposes of descriptive writing:

  1. Diversify usual writing (like an essay) by filling it with various adjectives, colorful images, and expressive literary means to make it more exciting to read.
  2. For example:

    Non-descriptive:A storm cloud hangs over our city.
    Descriptive:A massive storm cloud was coming closer to our small city as a tsunami that would leave only ruins standing.
  3. 2. Provide a detailed description of your work process or its results (like a research paper) to show your competence in a chosen subject.

For example (psychology research paper):

As a result of the psychodiagnostic examination conducted by using the Buss-Durkey method, the data on the expression of aggression in 8 forms as well as aggression index (the arithmetic mean of the physical, indirect, and verbal aggression rates) was obtained. These data are given in Table 1 (Appendix 1). In the first column of Table 1, the conditional number of the subjects is provided. For convenience, in both groups, the first seven numbers are girls. In the remaining columns of Table 1, numerical rates are given in scores reflecting the severity of the 8 forms of aggression expressed by the participants.

Speaking about what descriptive writing is, you can see that, depending on the assignment, it may imply both a more formal and precise or a more picturesque and artistic approach to the paper preparation.

Analytical Writing - Organize the Facts

The analytical type is more focused on the analysis and organizing the information. If you want to write an excellent analytical paper, you are to devote plenty of your time to organize all the materials you are to use to make your work more well-structured. Among the methods that you can apply in your analytical writing, there are:

  1. Analyzing;
  2. Examining;
  3. Comparing and contrasting;
  4. Relating.

Here are some tips on how to approach your assignment more analytically:

  • Plan, plan, and plan. Create an outline for your paper and think about how to group all the facts logically.
  • Don't make up a clear thesis statement - you are only to analyze the facts.
  • Use charts, diagrams, and tables. It will help your audience perceive and process the information better.
  • If you group your ideas, you should name them. For example, "Pros and Cons."
  • Make sure that each of the analytical paragraphs is related to only one aspect. Don't mix everything up.

We have also prepared an example for you to understand better what analytical writing is.

Primary information is needed in cases where the analysis of secondary sources does not provide the necessary data. To assess the overall significance of primary data, one must consider its advantages and disadvantages.


  • Is gathered according to precise goals;
  • The methodology for data collection is well-known and controlled by the company;
  • It often belongs to the company and is not available to competitors;
  • No controversial and non-relevant data;
  • Reliability degree can be determined;
  • Can be the only way to obtain the necessary information.


  • Data-gathering may be time-consuming;
  • Extra expenditures can be required;
  • Some types of information can be challenging to obtain;
  • A company can be limited in methods available;
  • The company may be unable to collect primary data.

Your primary aim while working on analytical writing is to show how certain facts, views, or aspects are interconnected. Therefore, you should pay attention to the material - they must be reliable and contain relevant information that can be a solid background for your writing.

Persuasive Writing - Stand Your Ground

Persuasive type of academic writing is quite close to the analytical one but has one crucial difference. Here, presenting your viewpoint is a must. Persuasive writing makes you convince the audience that your certain idea or position on a particular issue is the right one. You collect various materials from trustworthy sources and consider which facts can support your thoughts in the best way. One of the most significant challenges is not to build your persuading based on your prejudices. Simple "because I think so" won't be enough here, and you should approach the evidence gathering appropriately:

  • Read previous research on your topic and study different views on it.
  • Look through your paper's organization. How are the paragraphs structured? How is the evidence built?

Then, think about what methods of persuasion in different writings are the most powerful.

And, while working on the persuasive writing itself, follow the rules below:

  • Explain why your idea is reasonable and worth being noticed.
  • Try to predict the reader's possible doubts and think about how to avoid or dispel them.
  • Study your main ideas from different aspects and indicate its weak points, if any.
  • If it is possible, divide your viewpoints into sections to make the whole writing more understandable.

If the "what is persuasive writing" question is still not entirely clear to you - take a look at our example.

Nicotine is a drug - it causes addiction to tobacco and is one of the most dangerous plant poisons. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) reports, for a human, a lethal dose of nicotine is 50 to 100 mg, or 2 to 3 drops, which is exactly the dose that goes into the blood after smoking 20 to 25 cigarettes. The smoker does not die from such a dose because it enters the body gradually - about 20,000 cigarettes over 30 years, absorbing approximately 800g of nicotine, and each of its particles harms the smoker's health irreparably.

That is a good example since precise figures give the reader a feel of formality and reliability, and the WHO as a source of information makes people doubt the data less. Here are the 3 tips you should keep in mind if you want to be persuasive in your writing:

  1. State your own reasonable viewpoint.
  2. Pick only reliable and trustworthy supporting evidence.
  3. Present your arguments logically and clearly.

Stick to these three points and rest assured that persuasive writing won't be much of a challenge for you.

Critical Writing - Analyze Different Ideas

The critical type of writing has much in common with a persuasive one except for one thing - you are to consider other viewpoints. When you deal with critical writing, you are not limited by only your ideas. You can and should look at things through the prism of other aspects and people, for example, a researcher who has studied your subject matter. You can go through different suggestions, doubts or thoughts in detail and present your interpretation. At the same time, you should back your viewpoint with enough evidence as well, and remember about the structure of your writing. Here, you will be faced with:

  • Debate
  • Evaluation
  • Disagreement
  • Critique

If you know what critical writing is and can do it well, you probably have excellent skills in preparing papers since that is one of the main requirements for this particular type. However, even if you aren't confident enough in your writing skills, you may use our short tips:

  • All the body paragraphs of your paper should be well-summarized. Identify the key questions, methods, and assumptions.
  • Formulate a clear viewpoint concerning the subject. You can analyze its advantages or come up with more effective approaches to problem-solving, etc.
  • Prepare a list of reliable facts that could support your own thoughts well.

Here is a good example of critical writing (paper on Ardi):

The point is that this conclusion was made mainly on the basis of the creature's skeleton structure. The researchers did not take into account the phenomenon of convergence: organisms with body parts that have a similar structure are not necessarily congruent genetically, as the structure is often determined by the environment specificity. A good example of convergence is the wings of a butterfly, bird, and a bat. Speaking about Ardie's, there is a belief that researchers might have made a mistake in their interpretations, and Ardipithecus is not an ancestor of Homo sapiens at all.

How often you encounter a particular type of academic writing depends on your specialty and the chosen courses. However, we hope that with our detailed instructions and recommendations, it will be easier for you to determine the type of paper and prepare your assignments easily.

Our professionals are always ready to help you with any types of writing and prepare original papers. Order your assignments from us and rest assured that the writing style requirements will be entirely met.

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