What is Academic Writing Essay Example

The essay “What is Academic Writing?” written by L. Lennie Irvin was published in 2010 by Parlor Press. In this essay, Irvin breaks down and simplifies a college level essay for his readers and displays how to properly analyze and respond to any given writing prompt. “This chapter is designed to introduce you to what academic writing is like, and hopefully ease your transition as you face these daunting writing challenges.” Irvin starts by relating to and expressing empathy towards the reader about the transition process from a high school student to a college student.

The essay goes on to express the common misconceptions a student entering the thirteenth grade believes about college-level writing and shows that more of them are fiction than fact. “The paint by numbers myth...Perfect first drafts...good grammar is writing...Never Use I,” the author notes the most commonly believed misconceptions about a well-written essay and breaks down why many of them are false claims. By doing this, Irvin takes away a lot of the fears students have towards writing an essay and shows that writing isn't as troublesome as we make it out to be.

The essay states that there are three different types of essays: closed, semi-open, and open writing assignments. Irvin goes on to break down each type and give real-world metaphors to compare to the prompt to help the reader better understand what type of essay the prompt is asking for. By doing this, Irvin is helping the student depict which type of question they are answering and giving specific examples of how to answer each type of prompt. Dumbing these down and giving real-life similes allows the readers to better relate to what is being asked of them, allowing them to write a clearer essay that specifically answers the questions asked.

Irvin shares what it means to truly “analyze” a writing assignment by breaking it down into parts and studying each part separately. “Your interpretation of how these parts fit together constitutes your claim or thesis...” It states that by separating the prompt and taking a closer look at the different parts, writing ideas emerge because we now understand the smaller pieces and begin to paint the bigger picture.

The essay gives the three main characteristics of academic writing, “Clear evidence in writing that the writer(s) have been persistent, open-minded, and disciplined in study. The dominance of reason over emotions or sensual perception. An imagined reader who is coolly rational, reading for information, and intending to formulate a reasoned response.” Lastly, Irvin sums up the characteristics and guidelines of a well-written writing assignment in eight small points. By doing this, Irvin is able to give a clear description of each of the eight parts and give the writer a clear understanding of the key components a satisfactory writing assignment must contain.

This essay provides a much simpler explanation as to how to understand, analyze, and complete a college-level writing assignment. Irvin does an amazing job of relating to the reader and the amount of stress and confusion they experience when given a writing assignment in a college level class. Personally, comprehending exactly what a prompt is asking of me and being able to completely answer the question with relative supporting ideas is not my strong suit, so I found the information Irvin gave in this essay extremely helpful in the way that I now know how to simplify a writing assignment and easily find a place to start when beginning an essay. Overall, this excerpt successfully broke down and explained the college writing assessment on a level that a confused and inexperienced college-level freshman would be able to understand and apply for future use.


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