Personal anecdotes in academic writing

The academic team Substantiate your claims Successful academic writing requires claims and arguments to be substantiated with evidence. This practice goes to the heart of academic writing because it reflects objectivity in your writing. This means every claim, argument or opinion you write needs to be substantiated supported or justified with credible evidence from research or other authoritative sources.

Personal anecdotes in academic writing

An anecdote is a short and interesting story taken from a person's past experience - or that of someone they know or have heard about. For your exam, of course, your own anecdotes will need to be imaginary - made up but they must still be entirely believable and relevant.

Why are anecdotes useful? It is a simple fact of life that we enjoy hearing interesting stories. No one knows why, but we do.


Certainly, we enjoy relating to and learning from stories - and we often can identify with the characters in them. If you choose to use a short anecdote in your own writing and you should give it serious considerationit will engage, involve and interest your reader in ways little else can; it will add a human and personal dimension that can be irresistible and fascinating.

But personal anecdotes in academic writing need to be believable and lively - and they can also be very emotional; and because anecdotes are 'true' stories, they can be very convincing indeed, adding authority to what you write.

A well chosen, well told anecdote is a sure fire way to involve and persuade your reader. How do you use an anecdote? In 'Writing to Persuade' For coursework or in the exam, make up a true-sounding story that shows how important your view is, or how other views are less well thought through.

Below is an example. The exam question asks you to write an article to persuade your readers that homeless people suffer and need help but you know that many people have no sympathy for the homeless, maybe thinking they are lazy and don't want work or that the government help them out enough already with social security.

So you make up an anecdote Well, of course, that might be true for some of them, but let me tell you about Dave. I went to school with Dave for three years until Year It was just before our exams when Dave's mum and dad hit problems - big-time!

From there on in life began to fall apart for Dave. He just wasn't able to cope. By the time he was eighteen, when I was sitting for my A-levels, Dave was on the streets These need not be wholly truthful - they can be simplified and dramatised to make them more interesting and engaging.

Going into your final exam with a repertoire of, say, four stories is an amazingly clever way to be well prepared for the exam. The chances are you will be able to adapt one of your stories to suit whatever titles are offered in the exam itself.

Anecdotes can be very useful here. For example, you could relate two short anecdotes, each of which shows a different aspect of whatever you are informing your reader about.

Then you can add in your own view to add even more balance by giving a third viewpoint.

personal anecdotes in academic writing

Giving balanced opinions and facts is a key aspect of writing to inform. In 'Writing to Explain, Analyse, Review or Comment' This kind of writing often needs to simplify and make clear a complex issue.

By relating a personal story that might act as a useful analogy, you can make your writing more interesting and useful. In 'Writing to Advise' Advice needs care, but an anecdote can show how someone else faced up to or managed a particular situation.Jokes, personal anecdotes, and colloquial expressions are not appropriate.

The purpose of professional writing is to convey information in a clear, succinct, fluid way. Avoid using exclamation points, contractions (such as "can't"), emoticons (smiley faces), or .

“You helped me edit my personal statement for my fellowship application a few months ago. Today I am writing to happily tell you that I have matched at one of the best programs in the U.S.

Substantiate your claims - Writing Academically

WRITING ASSIGNMENTS. In a First-Year Seminar or a writing-intensive course, it is best to have several writing assignments and a variety of types of writing, usually integrated with course readings, rather than one long assignment at the end of the course. Turnitin provides instructors with the tools to prevent plagiarism, engage students in the writing process, and provide personalized feedback.

Mar 28,  · Working at the Writing Center, I’ve read my share of personal statements—some good, some bad. Whether the statement belongs to a business school application or a scholarship application to study abroad, I’ve noted that the format is generally the same for each and every one.

In personal writing, you must state your position or opinion on an issue and support your point of view with reasons, examples, personal anecdotes (a short, personal story about an incident or an event), illustrations, or stories.

Below is an example of a paragraph from a .

personal anecdotes in academic writing
Ashford Writing