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    Scholarly Voice and Writing

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    To prepare for this Discussion, consider the following:
    a. What is an effective scholarly voice?
    b. What is scholarly writing, what are its characteristics, and why does it matter?
    c. How does the intended audience affect the tone and substance in a piece of writing?
    d. What do you need to do to develop your scholarly voice and hone your scholarly writing skills?

    Do an assessment of your current strengths and weaknesses regarding your ability to locate and use a scholarly voice and succeed in scholarly writing. Explain which aspects of each you would like to more fully develop or refine and how you will go about doing that.

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    Scholarly writing is also known as academic writing. It is the genre of writing used in all academic fields. Scholarly writing is not better than journalism, fiction, or poetry; it is just a different category. Because most of us are not used to scholarly writing, it can feel unfamiliar and intimidating, but it is a skill that can be learned by immersing yourself in scholarly literature. During your studies at Walden, you will be reading, discussing, and producing scholarly writing in everything from discussion posts to dissertations. For Walden students, there are plenty of opportunities to practice this skill in a writing intensive environment.

    Read on to learn about a few characteristics of scholarly writing!

    Specialized Vocabulary

    Scholarly authors assume that their audience is familiar with fundamental ideas and terms in their field, and they do not typically define them for the reader. Thus, the wording in scholarly writing is specialized, requiring previous knowledge on the part of the reader. You might not be able to pick up a scholarly journal in another field and easily understand its contents (although you should be able to follow the writing itself).
    Take for example, the terms EMRs and end-stage renal disease in the medical field or the ideas of scaffolding and differentiation in teaching. Perhaps readers outside of these fields may not be familiar with these terms. However, a reader of an article that contains these terms should still be able to understand the general flow of the writing itself.

    Original Thought

    Scholarly writing communicates original thought, whether through primary research or synthesis, that presents a unique perspective on previous research. In a scholarly work, the author is expected to have insights on the issue at hand, but those insights must be grounded in research, critical reading, and analysis rather than personal experience or opinion. Take a look at some examples below:

    Needs Improvement: I think that childhood obesity needs to be prevented because it is bad and it causes health problems.
    Better: I believe that childhood obesity must be prevented because it is linked to health problems and deaths in adults (McMillan, 2010).
    Good: Georges (2002) explained that there "has never been a disease so devastating and yet so preventable as obesity" (p. 35). In fact, the numbers of deaths that can be linked to obesity are astounding. According to McMillan (2010), there is a direct correlation between childhood obesity and heart attacks later in their adult lives, and the American Heart Association's 2010 statistic sheet shows similar statistics: 49% of all heart attacks are preventable (AHA, 2010). Because of this correlation, childhood obesity is an issue that must be addressed and prevented to ensure the health of both children and adults.

    Notice that the first example gives a personal opinion, but cites no sources or research. The second example gives a bit of research but still emphasizes the personal opinion. The third example, however, still gives the writer's opinion (that childhood obesity must be addressed), but it does so by synthesizing the information from multiple sources to help persuade the reader.

    Careful Citation

    Scholarly writing includes careful citation of sources and the presence of a bibliography or reference list. The writing is informed by and shows engagement with the larger body of literature on the topic at hand, and all assertions are supported by relevant sources.

    Scholarly Voice

    Tone refers to the writer's voice in a written work. It is what the reader or hearer might perceive as the writer's attitude, bias, or personality. Many academic writers mistake a scholarly tone for dull, boring language or a ...

    Solution Summary

    The expert examines scholarly voice and writing effectiveness.