Difference between academic writing and technical writing

difference between academic writing and technical writing
What are the difference between academic writing and technical writing

Most students and even professional writers are unable to understand the difference between academic writing and technical writing. These are two very different types of writing and they differ in style of writing however there are two or three similarities. In this article, we are going to compare technical writing vs academic writing and understand what it entails writing each of the papers.

What is technical writing

 Technical writing is a form of writing that involves documenting processes in occupational and technical fields like software engineering, computer hardware; robotics, etc. A technical writer who communicates to another person in a clear way does this type of writing.

Experienced technical writers make sure their writing is concise, easy to comprehend, audience targeted and contain no errors. The writer is also supposed to be aware of the target audience’s existing knowledge before he/she can begin writing a technical document. Below are some of the characteristics of technical writing.

Characteristics of technical writing

  • Target certain audience-Every technical writing has a target audience that the writer focuses on. The audience’s knowledge determines the writer’s content and phrases to be used.
  • Solves audience problems-All technical papers tend to answer certain questions or explain the process that the audience seeks to know or understand.
  • Focuses on the company culture and goals-Technical papers are custom made for a certain organization depending on the goals they want to achieve and the culture.
  • Can involve several technical writers-The fact that technical documents focus on enlightening a large audience base, several technical writers can chip in to produce a document that is clear to the target audience.
  • Incorporates design to make it readable-Graphs and other forms of information representation make the technical documents more understandable. Images and words can also be used for visual representation.
  • Clear, informative and straightforward-Technical writers should always stick to the subject. Avoidance of technical words and the use of direct language makes it easy for the readers to understand.
  • It is a structured type of writing-Technical writing should be structured to make it easy for the target audience to access the information they need.

Types of technical writing

There are different types of technical writing depending on the information and the target readers. Below are examples of technical writing.

  • Software manuals-These are end-user instructions that come along with new software. They use user-friendly language to explain how the software works and troubleshooting guides.
  • Project proposals-Before a company can begin working on any project, there must be a project proposal. The proposal details project work, tasks that project will do and implementation method. The proposal includes the cost of the project and the timeline for completing it.
  • Websites-Technical writers are tasked with writing about us page when developing a company website.
  • White papers-These are papers written by experts in the field describing how to solve certain business problems. They can include marketing strategies or ways of preventing a company from cyber-attacks.
  • Case studies-These are reports about peoples or a certain situation after studying it for a specified period of time, which is indicated in the report. At the end of the case study, the report has a solution to the problem.
  • Datasheets-They are documents that detail key features and specifications in a machine, software, etc.

What is academic writing

Academic writing is also known as scholarly writing is a clear, concise type of writing that is backed up with a reference for aiding the reader to understand the paper content. This type of writing uses formal style and tone and uses short sentences.

Each type of academic writing has certain writing structures that every writer should follow to deliver a good academic paper. Academic writing is a requirement for completing college courses.

Types of academic writing

  • Book reviews.
  • Movie reviews.
  • Custom essays.
  • Research papers.
  • Term papers.
  • Dissertation writing.
  • Personal statement.
  • Thesis statement.
  • Abstract.
  • Coursework

Characteristics of academic writing

Before you can begin any form of academic writing, keep the following in mind:-

  • Plan-Make sure you plan what you are going to write about. Gather all the required information and research to ensure it is current.
  • Draft outline-For any form of academic writing you need to define your outline. The outline will help you in formulating your content ideas.
  • Determine your tone-Avoid use of slangs and hard vocabularies so that your reader can understand you well.
  • Type of language-When writing academic paper, your words should be clear and well-chosen.
  • Use of evidence-Use evidence and reference materials to support your opinions.

Structure of academic writing

Any academic writing has three distinct key structures. These are the introduction, body, and conclusion. However, it is important to note that the structure of academic paper depends on the type of writing.

  1. Introduction

When writing an introduction, the writer has the chance to grab the reader’s attention by use of a popular phrase, statistics or use of questions. The introduction also details topic background information and gives an outline of the content in the paper.

  1. Body

The body of any academic paper is where the writer states his/her argument and goes ahead to give supportive evidence. All the information gathered analyzed for the reader to understand.

  1. Conclusion

The conclusion is the last and very important part of any academic paper. A good conclusion should do the following:-                                          

  1. Summarizes the key points in the paper.
  2. Connects and relates all the ideas in the paper.
  3. Answers critical questions and shows how.
  4. Can call for action by recommending more research on the topic.
  5. The conclusion can also pose a question to the reader for more research.


Now that we have written all the key features of academic and technical writing it is now time to compare these two types of writing.

Comparing Technical vs academic writing

We are now going to list similarities and differences between technical and academic writing.

Difference between technical and academic writing

There is a major difference between these two forms of writing based on their style of writing.

  1. Goal-oriented vs theory proving

Academic writing is all about proving a certain writer’s idea or theory by use of supportive evidence whereas technical writing tends to explain how to solve certain tasks or problems.

  1. Process vs results

Technical writing tends to explain steps by step explaining a certain process whereas academic writing is result-driven based on certain data or research.

  1. Target readers

Technical writing targets end-users in a company that wants to know how to solve certain tasks or problems whereas academic writing targets scholars who have expertise in a specific field.

  1. Writing styles

Academic and technical writing have different writing styles. They cannot be mixed therefore an academic writer cannot write a technical paper.


  1. Structure

In both academic and technical writing, the writer has to write an introduction. In technical papers, the writer mentions the need for the paper or research and lists the methodologies used. Same to academic writing where the writer has to grab the reader’s attention and state the topic.

  1. They are all formal writing

Technical writing and academic writing can be grouped into one category of formal writing. They both have certain writing tone and vocabulary. However for one to shift from academic writing to technical writing there are practices that one has to understand first especially the writing styles.


It is my hope that this article has enlightened you on the differences between technical and academic writing. If you cannot be able to write a technical or academic paper, there are companies that offer these services at affordable prices. For example, Speedy writer has a pool of professional writers who are capable of writing any form of academic work. Contact us today for a quote or submit your assignment on our order page. Speedywriters is the last minute essay writing services that will better your grades.