ACADEMIC CONVENTIONS

Disciplines vary in how strictly they follow the stylistic features outlined in this course. Some fields such as medicine and biotechnology tend to demand a higher degree of formality than in many fields of engineering. Moreover, the more "relaxed" English used in newspapers and magazines is increasingly influencing the writing style in many disciplines. For example, the informal use of "And" and "But" as sentence connectors at the beginning of sentences, though still considered very informal, can be frequently seen sneaking into many academic journals. Nevertheless, this course only aims to help you to recognize which forms are formal and characteristic of academic English in its most strict form, not to dictate which language you should use.

It is hoped that an awareness of these distinctions will enable you to both decide for yourself how formal your text needs to be, as well as to give you the "tools" to continue the learning process outside the classroom. Because of this variation, it is important that you check from your own field to confirm how closely your field follows these conventions, if at all. Important sources include on-line style guides such as those provided by journals in your field. One example is provided below.

Further reading:

American Institute of Physics (AIP) Style Guide, [Online document], [cited 2003 Sept 4],
Available HTTP: http://www.aip.org/pubservs/style/4thed/sec3.pdf