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Academic Writing

Technical Writing vs Academic Writing: Key Differences You Need to Know

When it comes to writing, two styles stand out in professional and academic fields: technical writing style and academic writing style. These two writing styles are closely interconnected, and hence, it is important to understand the differences between them. By understanding the unique features of these two writing styles you’ll be able to effectively communicate the information in various contexts. 

In this article, we’ll explore the intricacies of technical writing vs academic writing. Furthermore, we’ll also try to shed light on the primary purposes, audience, and stylistic differences of such writings. 

What is Academic Writing?

Academic writings are usually written in a formal style. This writing style is commonly used in research publications, journals, etc. In academic writing, you are required to report the original research findings. Moreover, you are also required to review and add existing literature and you have to engage in critical discourse on specific subjects. 

What is Technical Writing?

On the other hand, technical writing is a form of written communication that aims to convey complex information clearly and concisely. Technical writings are usually found in the fields of engineering, technology, science, and medicine. It aims to explain complex concepts to laymen without using difficult jargon and terminology

Technical Writing vs Academic Writing – An Overview:

Whether you are writing a technical manual for an application or a research paper for a scholarly journal, it is essential to learn how to write for a specific audience and purpose. Let’s have a look at what makes the two styles different:

Technical WritingAcademic Writing
Technical writings convey complex information clearly and concisely for practical use.Academic writings contribute to the scholarly discourse and improve understanding.
Have a diverse audience, including from different professions. A layman can even be an audience.Scholars, researchers, students, and academics within a discipline are the target audience.
Uses plain language, avoids jargon, and focuses on clarity and usability.Written in a formal language that uses specific terminology and follows academic practices.
Structured in a way that is practical and usable. Images and other visuals are used for better understanding. Structured for academic discourse, includes introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion.
The tone is professional, objective, and neutral.The tone is formal, objective, and authoritative.
Focuses on practical information, instructions, and solutions.Presents original research, critical analysis, and scholarly discourse.
Examples include technical manuals, reports, instructions, and product documentation.Examples include research papers, essays, dissertations, and scholarly articles.
It may include citations for sources but focuses less on formal citation styles.Uses specific citation styles, such as APA, MLA, etc., with thorough referencing.
Utilizes visuals such as diagrams, charts, and illustrations for clarity.Primarily textual, with occasional use of tables or figures for data presentation.
Often published online or in manuals, guides, or technical documents.Published in academic journals, books, and conference proceedings.

Diving Deeper: Technical vs Academic Writing with Examples:

This table provides an overview of academic vs technical writing. Let us further elaborate on some of the essential key differences and discuss them in detail with the help of examples. 

  1. Purpose of Technical vs Academic Writings:

The purpose of technical writing is to provide practical information or instruction in a clear and concise manner to the users. Technical writings are understandable and easily usable. Examples include technical manuals for operating machinery, user guides for software applications, product documentation for consumer electronics, and many more. 

On the other hand, the purpose of academic writing is to contribute to the existing knowledge within a particular field. Academic writings serve to advance understanding by uncovering new insights through rigorous research and analysis. Examples include research papers on climate change, essays on literary analysis, dissertations on psychological theories, scholarly articles on quantum physics,  and more.

  1. Technical Writing Style vs Academic Writing Style:

The style of technical writing is straightforward, clear, and concise. It focuses on the clarity and usability of the content. While writing a technical writing writers use plain language, avoiding unnecessary jargon and complex terminology. Moreover, visual aids such as diagrams, charts, and illustrations are used in technical writing to improve understanding of the concept. Additionally, it is really important to maintain an objective tone, avoiding any bias.

On the other hand, an academic article is written in a formal style, it follows a specific structure usually observed in scholarly discourses. The writer uses subject-related terminology & jargon. It is characterized by precision, objectivity, and critical analysis, and emphasizes clarity and logical coherence. Specific citation styles, such as APA, and MLA, are employed to acknowledge sources and provide evidence for the arguments. The tone is typically formal and objective, which reflects a commitment to intellectual rigor and scholarly integrity.

  1. Audience Considerations for both the Writings:

Technical writing has a diverse audience. The audience usually consists of individuals with varying levels of expertise. This is why technical writers should communicate complex ideas clearly so that they can be understood by both experts and novices. The audience may include users, stakeholders, engineers, or other professionals who might be seeking practical information or instructions. 

In contrast, the audience of academic writing consists of scholars, researchers, students, and other academics within a specific discipline. As the audience has a deep understanding of the subject matter, hence specialized jargon and terminology are used. 

  1. Structure of Technical & Academic Writing

Technical writing follows a structure that suits practicality and usability. The ideas are organized linearly or hierarchically which facilitates comprehension. For example, a technical article on cybersecurity vulnerabilities will follow a structured format including a summary, methodology, findings, and recommendations which will allow the reader to quickly access relevant information. 

In comparison, academic writing follows a strict format. Its format includes sections like introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.

  1. Citation

It is not necessary for technical writing to include citations, but it is important to give credit to any source used in your writing. Moreover, there is no strict format for adding a citation.

Academic writings, on the other hand, include citations in either MLA, APA, or Chicago format. It is necessary to give credit to avoid plagiarism. Moreover, the resources used even support and strengthen the argument. 

  1. Publication Medium

Technical writings are usually published online. These can even be published in print form such as manuals, guides, technical documents, or online documentation systems for practical use in industries, businesses, or educational settings. For example, a technical guide.

Since academic writings are scholarly works, they are published in academic journals, books, conference proceedings, or scholarly publications within specific disciplines. This sort of writing utilizes the already-existing research to contribute to the advancement of knowledge. 

  1. Example

Since technical writings are written for practicality or usability these include manuals, step-by-step guides, and more. Such writings cater to individuals with varying levels of expertise. 

Academic writings on the other hand are written for the advancement of knowledge and include scholarly articles, research papers, essays, or dissertations. These writings cater to the needs of academic experts.

Visit My Essay Writer for Online Academic Writing Services 

Although technical and academic writing are closely related there are still some essential differences that should be understood in order to effectively communicate the idea. By understanding the differences between the two writings writers can tailor strategies to effectively engage their target audience and achieve their goal. 

Are you looking to further enhance your writing skills? Explore the online academic writing services offered by My Essay Writer. They can help you with almost everything, including dissertations, essays, research papers, and more. Their team of experienced writers offers assistance around the clock.

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Q: What is the primary purpose of technical writing?

A: The purpose of technical writing is to provide practical information or instruction in a clear and concise manner to the users. Such writing avoids the use of complex jargon and terminology so that it is easily understandable by experts and novices. 

Q: How is the audience of academic writing different from the audience of technical writing?

A: Technical writing has a diverse audience including users, stakeholders, and other professionals, while on the other hand, academic writing has a limited audience. Its audience usually includes scholars, researchers, and academics within a specific discipline.

Q: What are some stylistic differences between technical writing and academic writing?

A: Technical writing is written in a straightforward and concise style that focuses on clarity and usability. While academic writing has a more formal and structured style, which adheres to the conventions of scholarly discourse and critical analysis.


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