Research Essentials: Dr. Hinson’s 4 Key Questions About Formal and Informal Writing

Research Essentials: Dr. Hinson’s 4 Key Questions About Formal and Informal Writing

Hey all! It’s Dr. Hinson here, and today in our final Research Essentials blog, I’m breaking down the differences between formal and informal writing. One of the most important parts of conducting research is being able to communicate the results of the research through written reports, articles, blogs, tweets, etc. I’ve devised these four basic questions to help you write up your research findings, or produce any other important piece of writing.

When you are prepared to write your research findings, you should ask these four questions:

  1. Who is the target audience?
  2. What is the subject(s)?
  3. What are the desired goals of your report?
  4. What are the potential outcomes from your report?

Though they may seem simple, these questions will help you organize your writing and also determine what kind of language you should use. For the purpose of this blog, we are discussing the difference uses for informal and formal language. On this site we often analyze the significance and impact of social media on business and research.

It goes without saying that you would describe your research or findings differently on a blog or through a series of tweets, than you would in the official academic report. Yet, being prepared and capable of articulating your research in each of these settings will increase its impact and scope. Every time that you make part of your research public, you are marketing yourself and your conclusions. Online resources can be helpful – particularly those that focus on differentiating between formal and informal language and style.

Answering the above questions will help you shape your arguments to fit each market or audience. Taking the time to craft your language will make your research more effective. Similarly, if you are intent to publish your research in an academic book or journal, your language should shift to more academic or clinical verbiage. Most academic publications have specific spelling and grammar requirements, which you should research and implement before making any submissions.

Whether building a social media presence through blogging and tweeting, or gaining a foothold in more academic publishing circles, language matters. It is possible to be professional and accessible and while so much of our lives are represented ‘online’ how you represent yourself professional and personally can impact your career. If this blog has provided more questions than answers, or you need help writing or producing research, feel free to contact us at Abbey Research!

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