Academic writing is a formal writing style adopted by universities and scholarly publications to transmit knowledge. It has to be clear, focused, well-structured, and unbiased. Academic writing consists of three main steps; comprehending and digesting what has been already written in the literature, coming up with a unique hypothesis, and conveying it through writing in line with predefined rules of academia to persuade the reader. So, in other words, academic writing is more than just a mere expression of literacy skills, rather it is a reflection of the author’s critical thinking capacity and his self-expression uniquely. As a result, lack of academic literacy and lack of critical thinking skills can be regarded as the main problems of academic writing which in the long run have the potential to cause ethical issues like plagiarism. To avoid them, lots of students use college essay writing services to assist with writing and avoid fails and missing deadlines.
The lingua franca or the official language of academic writing is English. On the other hand, the majority of students contributing to academia are from non-native-speaking parts of the world in which case the language can be a barrier. Before meeting the requirements of academic writing, the student has to be able to comprehend the literature. The language barrier not only intervenes in students’ ability to convey their thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely but also prevents their ability to understand the literature thoroughly. As the problems due to the language barrier arise, students’ writing apprehension increases, and their self-esteem along with writing motivation drops (Hassan, 2001).
Lack of critical thinking skills
On the contrary, being a native of English is not enough for capturing the essence of academic literacy as it is not just about comprehension, writing, grammar, and punctuation. Academic writing is closely tied with critical thinking which is not an attribute innately possessed. Critical thinking requires epistemic cognition which is the ability to construct, evaluate and use knowledge. Students need their teachers’ guidance to excel in their epistemic cognition, however, previously conducted studies indicate that teachers themselves need support and training in doing so (Greene & Yu, 2015). On the other hand, Rahmat et al. (2020) underline that academic writing itself mirrors the critical thinking process that needs to be deployed by students, therefore writing can be used to promote critical thinking in undergraduates. As a result, critical thinking and academic writing skills need to be promoted in schools with trained teachers.
Moreover, recent studies on plagiarizing indicate that as the pressure on the authors increases, their chances of plagiarizing increase accordingly (Hattingh et al., 2020) whether the source of stress is the language barrier or lack of critical thinking skills. Furthermore, some theoreticians claim that academic writing has deeper humane purposes. For instance, Norton (1997) perceives academic writing as a representation of the writer’s desire for affiliation and recognition. In this case, some authors become more preoccupied with their academic writing success and more stressed which in turn makes them more prone to misconduct.
In conclusion, academic writing is less about the lexicon, grammar, or punctuation but more about digesting a piece of knowledge, organizing thoughts and ideas in a way to come up with a unique hypothesis, and conveying it through writing to contribute to the academic community. Not surprisingly main problems in academic writing accumulate around these essential steps of academic writing like lack of academic literacy and lack of critical thinking skills which in turn have the potential of causing misconduct like plagiarizing.