8 Types of Academic Writing

A person writes in a notebook with a pencil. Pencil shavings are on the notebook page.
Taking Notes with a Pencil” by Thought Catalog on Unsplash


Identifying the keywords in your assignment instructions can help you understand the type of writing that you are expected to do.

Lined paper with two coloumns, 'A' and 'B.' A yellow pencil rests on the paper.

If you are a beginning academic writer, in your first semester of university studies, you will likely start with some descriptive writing.

By the end of your first semester, you may be expected to include analysis, persuasion, and critique in your writing. Most of the academic writing you will do as a university student will include a combination of these different types of writing.


Pencil crayons lay on a piece of paper. Each pencil crayon has been used to draw on stripe of a rainbow.Blue and green pencil crayons are arranged on top of green and blue shavingsIf you are an intermediate or experienced academic writer, you may already be familiar with these type of writing.

Below, we’ll look more closely at the four different types of writing (descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical)  and consider strategies for developing ideas.


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  1. Description and discussion of types of writing reproduced, with permission, from "Types of Academic Writing" by University of Sydney Learning Centre https://sydney.edu.au/students/writing/types-of-academic-writing.html


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