What is Scholarly Writing?
Scholarly writing is writing that has a comprehensible objective and a clearly stated topic. It is organized in such a way that it provides enough details that allow other scholars to repeat its results with ease (Huff, 1999). According to WUWC (2011), scholarly writing is regarded as an excellent opportunity to reveal to an audience, what has been learned. Through scholarly writing, writers are able to support their arguments by repeating the words of others (Giltrow et al, 2009).
Scholarly writing differs from other writings in two main ways. First of all, it is material that is written for a specific purpose and to a specific audience and secondly, it is based on solid evidence and is always clear, correct, and to the point (WUWC, 2011).
Effect of Audience and Evidence on Scholarly Writing
To a large extent, the quality of scholarly writing is determined by the type of audience and the evidence on which the writing is based. These two affect the choice of words as well the general style used by the writer to present his or her ideas. When writing for an academic community that is made up of scholarly people who are critical readers, a writer is expected to be very careful in writing and communicating (WUWC, 2011).
Evidence on the other hand is very critical if one is to convince his or her audience about anything. Since critical readers are known to be thorough in examining the evidence provided it helps to ensure that writing is based on strong evidence that can easily be verified.
Challenges Encountered in Finding a Scholarly Voice
One of the challenges that a writer is likely to encounter when finding a scholarly voice is how to effectively evaluate the available evidence. This is seen as a continuous learning process that requires one to grow in skills needed for searching and selecting the best literature (WUL, n.d.). Normally, evaluating evidence involves questioning the method used to gather evidence and checking whether the research method used was appropriate.
A scholarly writer is also expected to recognize and avoid bias in written material. This is usually a challenge considering that scientific literature by definition is objective (WUWC, 2011).
Strategy to Promote Critical Thinking
To succeed as a scholar, it is essential for a writer to be a critical thinker. According to Booth (2008), critical thinking is all about interacting with texts that one is reading and enables a reader to gain a deeper understanding about issues.
Various strategies may be used to promote critical thinking in scholarly writing. Among others, they include training scholars how to question as well as teaching them to link what they read with personal life experiences. Based on a study by WUWC (2011), critical thinking can be promoted by clearly identifying the author’s topic, scope, purpose, and main idea.
Closely related to the concept of critical thinking are common sense, science, personal experience, and human behaviors. Common sense is wise ruling based on views about a situation, science is about the presentation of experimental explanations in an organized manner, personal beliefs refer to the views held by a person about life, and human behaviors deals with how people act in different situations. All these affect a scholarly practitioner writes and presents his or her ideas.
Booth, D. (2008). It’s Critical!: Classroom Strategies for Promoting Critical and Creative Comprehension. Ontario, CA: Pembroke Publishers Limited.
Giltrow, J., Gooding, R., Burgoyne, D. & Sawatsky, M. (2009). Academic Writing: An Introduction. New York, NY: Broadview Press.
Huff, A. S. (1999). Writing for scholarly publication. New Delhi, India: Sage.
Walden University Library (WUL). (n.d.). Searching for evidence—Health sciences & nursing. Minneapolis, MN: Walden Library guides: Web.
Walden University Writing Center (WUWC). (2011). Critical Reading. Minneapolis, MN: Walden University Writing Center. Web.