The emphasis within academic writing is arguably placed on form: judging by the wide-range of academic disciplines, from critical animal studies to ethics, academic writing is not restricted in terms of theme. Instead, any theme can be treated “academically”, inasmuch as it adheres to the standards of academic discourse. This entails that methods appropriate to the sub-disciplines of academic writing are used. When writing history texts, there are methodological requirements to be adhered to, i.e., the proper citation of historical sources required to support a thesis.
Hence, what defines academic writing is rigorousness regarding the application of the genre standards. Simultaneously, however, academic writing does not exclude creativity. Rather, creativity emerges through the basic structure given by the forms and conventions of academic writing.
To clarify, a comparison can be made with popular forms of writing, such as editorials: these pieces are often pure opinion designed to communicate the viewpoint of the author. Academic writing is also made up of viewpoints, but the support of the viewpoint in an objective/scientific manner is here crucial. In academic writing, one’s audience is almost exclusively academics (i.e., professors, independent researchers and students) and therefore the academic writer must subscribe to the norms of this community.