How to present academic papers?

Reference & EducationWriting & Speaking

  • Author Taillor Maizer
  • Published September 21, 2020
  • Word count 1,109


A fundamental aspect in the realization of the different works that, throughout our studies, will be raised to us is that of their presentation. Although it may seem that it is a minor matter, the reality is very different since very often a good presentation makes a difference.

All things being equal, a poorly structured and poorly presented work is more difficult to read and will almost always make a worse impression on the person examining it, making them more likely to view it more negatively. On the other hand, a good presentation, both from a conceptual and formal point of view, will make the result of our work more convincing.

The use of a clear and direct language, a precise wording and a logical structuring of the information will facilitate the reading and understanding of the text.


Usually the teachers will have given us practical indications on the presentation of the work. If not, we will have to follow a logical structure that must have, at least, the following sections:

• introduction

• development of the different aspects of the subject matter

• conclusions

To this basic structure we will have to add a series of elements that make up the document itself: cover, content index, bibliography used, as well as the entire apparatus of bibliographic citations on which our exhibition is based. Furthermore, if, as is highly advisable, we accompany the texts with the presentation of graphics, diagrams, tables or images, these must be accompanied by a small explanatory text that favors their understanding.

We are going to examine each of these parts in more detail below:

Cover: where the title of the work, the name of the author, course, subject, group, etc. must appear. It is the source that allows to identify the work.

Summary: in the case of articles for publication, thesis, etc. A short summary (between 50 and 250 words) should be included, where the content and nature of the document being presented and the conclusions are reported, which will be very useful for the reader.

Summary or table of contents: includes the different sections that are dealt with in the document, with their corresponding subdivisions, if any, in the order in which they appear in the text and with mention of the page where they begin.

List of abbreviations and symbols: it is recommended that all elements that are not immediately and universally understood by any potential reader be detailed in it.

Introduction: describes the purpose and objectives of the work, the scope (chronological, geographical, typological, etc.), as well as the methodology used. Body of work: it must be structured in clearly marked and prominent headings.

Conclusions: in them the results of our work should be presented. Annexes: this part contains complementary information that facilitates the understanding of the text, such as graphics, photographs, glossaries, data samples, etc.

Bibliography: is the set of documents used to prepare the work, even if they have not been cited. It is usually presented in alphabetical form. To carry it out, you have to adhere to very precise rules.

Alphabetical indexes: names, subjects, etc. allow you to search the text for specific entries. They are only recommended for extensive jobs. Today, thanks to the use of word processors, its realization is much less expensive.


Regarding the writing, in addition to a correct use of language, it is advisable to use a clear and direct style, which facilitates communication and understanding of what we want to express. For this we must:

• be consistent in our presentation, avoiding leaving pending and undeveloped issues in our discourse

• look for variation in the general use of the language, so as not to incur repetitions, but avoid it in the use of specialized terminology, so as not to create confusion

• avoid excessively long sentences with subordinate constructions

• be precise and concrete in the language, making correct use of the terminology used

• use depersonalized speech

• use simple expressions, avoiding far-fetched phrases

• avoid the use of colloquial expressions

• link the sentences by using the correct words or expressions to do so

• avoid the repetition of terms and the use of recurring and unnecessary fillers

• decipher acronyms

On the other hand, written texts are structured in the form of paragraphs, each of which must deal with and develop a specific idea. In turn, each paragraph should function as a whole in which the ideas are related to each other in a natural way.

In addition, two other very important aspects to take into account are the care of spelling and the correct use of punctuation. For the first, we can help ourselves from the spelling and grammar checkers of word processors, although we must never blindly trust them. In any case, the most useful thing is to aspire to have a correct command of the spelling and punctuation rules. To try to achieve this and to clarify doubts in the matter, the various manuals and existing spelling and style books are always very useful.

We must not forget that college assignment writing also means reviewing and correcting, so we will have to be careful and reread the text until we achieve a perfect construction.

Formal aspects

The visual presentation of a text is important, so much so that, in many cases, a bad presentation can ruin a good job. Proper text configuration makes it easier to read and understand. Here are some recommendations: All the sheets must be paged, except for the cover and the respect sheets, and the sequence must be reviewed when we have made changes, both in the pagination and in the index the text must be organized into chapters, sections and subsections, each of them clearly highlighted with capital or bold letters. They must be ranked among themselves through proper use of typography and Arabic numerals Notes and observations that complement the text should be included at the foot of the page or at the end of each chapter It is convenient to present the body of the justified text, with single spacing or with space and a half and adequate margins It is recommended to use a single family of letters, avoiding too exotic fonts, which can make reading difficult and not be suitable for academic work, by reducing seriousness It is advisable to be sober in the presentation and avoid falling into visual excesses that could hinder the reading the system of presentation of citations and bibliographic references must be unique and consistent in all the work graphs, tables, etc. They must carry an explanatory text and a mention of the source from which they were taken, and must also be numbered in different sequences for each one (figures, tables, etc.)

Taillor Maizer is the digital marketing manager on A writer by day and a reader by night, he's an expert in academic writing.

Taillor Maizer is an associate professor at the Graduate Centre for Academic Communication.

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