Explicitness

Academic writing is explicit.

In academic writing, the author is responsible for ensuring that the meaning of the text is clear and free from ambiguity. In other words, there is an expectation that the writing will be explicit. This is best achieved by anticipating the reader's questions. When revising your work before submission, try to think what questions your reader might want answers to if reading your assignment at this stage; for example:

  • What is the purpose of this work?
  • What does the author mean by this?
  • How do these two ideas (or these two paragraphs) link together?
  • Where is the evidence for this?
  • What is the author's view about this issue?

If the answers to questions such as these cannot be found in the appropriate place in the text, your writing lacks explicitness.

Here are some tips to help you make your writing explicit:

  • Explain what you intend to achieve/demonstrate/argue.
  • Define key concepts. If you find different definitions for the same term in the literature, explain which one you will adopt or what the word means to you.
  • Make sure that links between ideas are clear. Use linking words and phrases if necessary.
  • Ensure that every claim is supported by evidence.
  • Take a position in relation to the issues being discussed. In other words, make sure that your viewpoint is clear to the reader.