Writing academic papers and/or research-based papers is an acquired skill.  It is a process that students will have a varied degree of experience with when arriving at the Erikson Institute.  Whether you have written many academic papers in the past, or not at all, please refer frequently to the Academic Success Center to read about the support available to you and most importantly, ask for help when needed!  Below are some main ideas to consider during the process of academic writing.

Academic writing is writing done by scholars for other scholars.  Now that you are in graduate school you are part of a community of scholars. As an Erikson student, you will embark on a journey that child development scholars have been engaged in for centuries: reading, thinking, arguing and writing about profound and compelling information regarding children and families.  Of course, being a scholar requires that you read, think, argue, and write in certain ways. Your instructors will make clear the expectations they have in terms of specific assignments and requirements for academic papers, but please refer frequently to the Academic Success Center for support before, during and after all academic writing that you compose!  The Academic Success Center fully intends to offer as many resources to you as possible on your scholarly journey.

Academic writing requires critical thinking about the issues that are of interest to our academic community. Remember that academic writing must be more than a personal response, and though at Erikson there will be ample time for personal reflection, there is a clear dichotomy that exists between reflecting/journaling/discussions and academic writing.  In other words, you will want to write papers that help your reader to better understand your topic, or to see it in a new way, but based on research (almost always from the course readings) as opposed to anecdotal evidence.  In academic writing, critical thinking takes the place of opinion based thoughts and ideas.   Critical thinking is essential to the process of both writing and being a student.  Critical thinking clarifies goals, examines assumptions, evaluates evidence and assesses conclusions.  You’ll discover as an Erikson student that you engage in critical thinking on a regular basis which should be evident in your academic papers. In other words, your writing must show that your associations, reactions, and experiences have been framed in a critical, rather than a personal, way and are fully supported with evidence from the readings.