What is research writing?

The prominent socio-linguist and educator, Ken Hyland (as cited in Epting, 2018) stated that in academia, “we are what we write” (p. 561). As new researchers preparing to join the research community we learn that writing both communicates particular content and embodies the “routines of [our] social communities” (Hyland as cited in Epting, 2018, p. 561). This means that writing for research is an act of ‘becoming’ a researcher and a crucial step in take an esteemed place in a research community.

Research Cartoon
Cartoon by Studio tdes on thedailyenglishshow


It is important that as an aspiring research writer, you too engage in the norms and conventions that define research in your field. This includes but is not limited to writing and publishing and involves any other form of communicating and disseminating your work.



As Kamler & Thomson (2006) state in a well-known book titled, Helping Doctorial Students Write: Pedagogies for Supervision:

“We see research writing as an institutionally-constrained social practice. It is about meaning making and learning to produce knowledge in particular disciplines and discourse communities” (p. 5).

In joining your own research community and establishing yourself as a researcher within that field, you too will be following the cultural norms and behaviours that are well-established in that field.    


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Research and Writing Skills for Academic and Graduate Researchers Copyright © 2022 by RMIT University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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