Difference Between Academic and Technical Writing

Key Difference – Academic vs. Technical Writing
 

 

Academic and technical writing are two forms of writing between which a key difference can be identified. Most people assume that a technical writer is, in fact, an academic writer as well. This, however, is a false assumption. Although both academic writing and technical writing require excellent writing skills, the key differences between these two types of writing are the audience and purpose of writing. Academic writing is a form of writing that is used in academic disciplines. On the other hand, technical writing is a form of writing that is mostly used in technical disciplines. As you can see, the contexts of the two forms of writing differ from one another. Also, the target audience for academic writing is mostly scholars, but in the case of technical writing this is not the case. Even a lay person can be the target audience. Through this article let us examine the differences between academic and technical writing.

What is Academic Writing?

Academic writing is a form of writing that is used in academic disciplines. This includes both the natural sciences as well as the social sciences. Scholars use academic writing for many reasons. They can use it to present the findings of a new research that they conducted or even to present a new point of view. The target audience of academic writing is usually scholars that belong to a particular discipline.

For academic writing, the writer uses a special jargon. If you go through journal articles, research papers, dissertations, you will notice that not only the jargon but even the style of writing is quite different to what we see every day because the style is very impersonal. You can also notice inter-textuality, or else the quoting of previous works to support or oppose certain arguments. Developing the ability to write academic articles is not an easy task, it requires an extensive knowledge of the subject as well as excellent writing skills.

Difference Between Academic and Technical Writing

What is Technical Writing?

Technical writing is a form of writing that is mostly used in technical disciplines such as engineering, computer technology, electronics, etc. The purpose of technical writing is to inform the reader in an effective and concise manner. Nowadays, the term technical communication is used extensively to refer to technical writing as it encompasses the assistance provided to the user or reader to accomplish a particular goal through information.

Since information can often be difficult to comprehend, one of the main objectives of the writer is to simplify the information for the user. Technical writing can appear in many forms such as manuals, proposals, resumes, reports, websites, descriptions, etc.

Key Difference - Academic vs Technical Writing

What is the difference between Academic and Technical Writing?

Definitions of Academic and Technical Writing:

Academic Writing: Academic writing is a form of writing that is used in academic disciplines.

Technical Writing: Technical Writing is a form of writing that is mostly used in technical disciplines.

Features of Academic and Technical Writing:

Purpose:

Academic Writing: The purpose can be to express a point of view, present findings of a new research, etc.

Technical Writing: The purpose is to inform and clarify something to the audience.

Audience:

Academic Writing: Academic writing is aimed at scholars of a particular discipline.

Technical Writing: Technical Writing can be aimed at a particular group of individuals or even a lay person.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Urval av de bocker som har vunnit Nordiska radets litteraturpris under de 50 ar som priset funnits (3)” by Johannes Jansson  [CC BY 2.5 dk] via Commons

2. “Schreiben mit Kugelschreiber” by Mummelgrummel – Own work. [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Commons