Welcome to Explorations of Style: A Blog about Academic Writing. In this blog, I will offer my perspective on how to meet the central challenges of academic writing. As an instructor in a program that supports graduate student writers, I spend a great deal of time looking at student writing and thinking about strategies for its improvement. In general, I do this in the classroom or in response to particular pieces of writing that students bring to me. This blog is an experiment in trying to shape this advice into a slightly more enduring form. The next three posts will present the general principles that inform all of my teaching. The subsequent posts will explore the five strategies that I turn to most often when working with students. I will then discuss the resources we can use to support academic writing. With that groundwork in place, I will turn to a discussion of common writing issues; drawing on my experience of academic writing, I will present my own approach to such issues.
Interspersed among these entries will be my reflections on the act of teaching writing and on media stories about various issues in academic life. My hope is that I will also be able to answer your questions about academic writing. Please feel free to submit questions by leaving a comment or by replying to a particular post.
The blog is called Explorations of Style because I am interested in exploring how we make sound choices about stylistic matters in our academic writing. Definitive answers about writing questions are rare; there are some rules, of course, but much of what we do when we write or revise is to make choices. I focus on stylistic choices rather than grammatical correctness because correct grammar is already the norm in academic writing. Effective writing, however, is not quite so common! This blog will focus on the stylistic choices we can all make to increase the effectiveness of our academic writing. I hope you’ll join me.