parent nodes: [academic writing] | [new ideas] | [review of the literature]

originality

The value of academic writing does not depend upon being original, but upon representing a synthesis of material. There are well-established varieties of academic writing that have no originality at all, such as the review article, whose central purpose is present a review of the literature rather than say anything startlingly new.

It is entirely possible for a student to get very good marks for an essay that has little originality in terms of its content, but shows a convincing design for the reader and a secure sense of the rhetorical situation - and it's also possible for an essay which is highly original to get very bad marks, if it is not properly referenced, and is hard to understand. In a university context, it's hardly ever worth while for a student to worry about whether they are being original.