Facing Difficulty Writing an Academic Essay? — Here is your one-stop solution!
Academic writing is an important aspect of higher education, as it helps to develop critical thinking, research skills, and the ability to communicate complex ideas effectively. However, for many people, writing an academic essay can be a daunting task. In this blog, we will take you through the process of writing an academic essay, step by step, so that you can approach your next writing assignment with confidence.
From understanding the assignment and researching the topic to developing an outline and revising your work, we will cover all of the key elements of the academic essay-writing process. We will also provide tips and tricks for overcoming common challenges and improving your writing skills. Whether you’re just starting out in your academic career, or you’re a seasoned pro looking to refine your writing skills, this blog has something to offer.
So, if you’re ready to take your academic writing to the next level, read on and discover how to write an academic essay that will impress your readers and help you achieve your goals.
Table of Contents
Writing an Academic Essay
The introduction is one of the most important parts of an academic essay, as it sets the stage for what’s to come. The introduction should provide background information on the topic, establish the purpose of the essay, and clearly state your thesis. The purpose of the introduction is to engage your reader and make them want to continue reading.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong introduction:
1. Start with a hook
Begin your introduction with a hook that will grab the reader’s attention. This could be a quote, a statistic, or an interesting fact related to the topic.
2. Provide background information
After the hook, provide some background information on the topic to give context to the reader. This information should be relevant to the topic and help the reader understand why it’s important.
3. State your thesis
The thesis statement is a clear and concise statement of what you will argue in your essay. It should be placed near the end of the introduction and should reflect the focus of your essay.
4. Preview the main points
Preview the main points of your essay, so the reader knows what to expect. This will give your reader a roadmap for what is to come and will help you to stay focused as you write your essay.
5. Engage your reader
The introduction should engage your reader and make them want to continue reading. Avoid using too much technical language or jargon, and instead, focus on making your introduction accessible and interesting.
Writing a strong introduction to an academic essay is crucial for engaging your reader and setting the stage for what’s to come. By starting with a hook, providing background information, stating your thesis, previewing the main points, and engaging your reader, you will be well on your way to writing a strong academic essay.
2. Literature Review
The literature review is a critical component of an academic essay, as it provides a foundation for the rest of your research. The purpose of a literature review is to summarize and synthesize previous research on the topic and to identify gaps in the existing knowledge. The literature review should be more than just a list of articles and books, but rather an evaluation of the relevant literature.
Here are some key steps to writing a literature review :
1. Choose the right sources
Start by identifying relevant sources for your literature review. This may include academic journals, books, conference proceedings, and theses. Make sure to choose only the most relevant and up-to-date sources.
2. Read and take notes
Once you’ve identified your sources, it’s time to read and take notes. Use a system to keep track of the information and be sure to note the author, date, and key findings of each source.
3. Summarize the literature
In your literature review, you should summarize the key findings of each source, highlighting their relevance to your research. You should also synthesize the information, looking for patterns, similarities, and differences among the sources.
4. Evaluate the literature
A strong literature review should not just summarize the sources, but also evaluate them. This means examining their strengths and weaknesses and assessing their relevance to your research question .
5. Identify gaps in the literature
As you evaluate the sources, look for gaps in the existing knowledge and areas where further research is needed. This will help you to identify the significance of your research and justify the need for your study.
6. Organize your literature review
Once you’ve completed your evaluation, you should organize your literature review clearly and logically. This could be chronologically, thematically, or based on methodology.
By choosing the right sources, reading and taking notes, summarizing and evaluating the literature, identifying gaps, and organizing your review, you will be able to provide a thorough and well-supported foundation for the rest of your essay.
The methodology section of an academic essay is where you describe the methods you used to conduct your research. This section is an opportunity to explain the steps you took to answer your research question and to justify why you chose these methods. The methodology should be detailed, precise, and transparent so that others can understand and replicate your study if necessary.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong methodology:
1. Define your research question
Before writing your methodology, you should have a clear understanding of your research question. This will guide the choice of methods you use and the information you collect.
2. Choose the right methods
The choice of methods should be guided by the research question. For example, if you’re conducting a survey, you would use a different method than if you were conducting a case study. Consider the strengths and limitations of each method, and choose the one that is best suited to your research question.
3. Explain your methods in detail
In your methodology, you should describe your methods in detail, so that others can understand how you conducted your research. This should include information on the sample size, how you collected the data, and any instruments or techniques you used.
4. Justify your methods
You should justify why you chose the methods you used and how they are appropriate for answering your research question. This might involve a discussion of the limitations of your methods and how they affect the results.
5. Address ethical considerations
If your research involved human subjects, you must address ethical considerations in your methodology. This might include information on informed consent, data confidentiality, and any potential risks to participants.
6. Be transparent
Your methodology should be transparent and honest so that others can understand and replicate your study if necessary. Be sure to report all of the methods you used, even if the results were not what you expected.
By defining your research question, choosing the right methods, explaining your methods in detail, justifying your methods, addressing ethical considerations, and being transparent, you will be able to provide a thorough and well-supported methodology for your essay.
The results section of an academic essay is where you present the findings of your research. This section should be clear, concise, and objective, and should present the data without any interpretation or discussion. The results should be organized logically and should include tables, figures, and other visual aids as necessary.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong results section:
1. Summarize the data
The first step in writing the results section is to summarize the data you collected. This might involve calculating means, standard deviations, and other descriptive statistics , depending on the type of data you collected.
2. Organize the results
This might involve presenting the results for each hypothesis, each research question, or each variable, depending on the nature of your study.
3. Use visual aids
Visual aids, such as tables and figures , can help to clarify and simplify the results. Make sure to label each visual aid clearly, and provide a caption that explains what the visual aid is showing.
4. Be objective
The results section should be objective, presenting the data without any interpretation or discussion. The interpretation of the results should be left to the discussion section.
5. Report results accurately
The results section should report the results accurately and precisely. This might involve rounding numbers to a specified number of decimal places, or using appropriate units of measurement.
In summary, by summarizing the data, organizing the results, using visual aids, being objective, and reporting the results accurately, you will be able to present your findings in a clear and compelling manner.
The discussion section of an academic essay is where you interpret the results of your research and relate them to your research question and the broader literature. This section is an opportunity to conclude, make recommendations, and reflect on the strengths and limitations of your study. The discussion should be well-organized and should provide a clear and concise interpretation of the results.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong discussion section:
1. Interpret the results
The first step in writing the discussion section is to interpret the results of your study. This might involve comparing your results to previous research, explaining any unexpected results, and drawing conclusions about the implications of your findings.
2. Relate the results to your research question
The discussion should relate the results of your study to your research question, demonstrating how the results answer the question and providing insights into the topic.
3. Evaluate the strengths and limitations of your study
The discussion should include an evaluation of the strengths and limitations of your study, addressing any limitations that might affect the validity of the results, and suggesting areas for future research.
4. Draw conclusions
The discussion should conclude the results of the study, make recommendations based on the findings, and discuss the implications for future research.
5. Consider the broader context
The discussion should consider the broader context of the research, relating the findings to the broader literature and making connections to other related fields.
6. Write clearly and concisely
The discussion should be well-written and easy to understand, using clear and concise language. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to define any terms that may be unfamiliar to your reader.
The conclusion of an academic essay is the final section in which you summarize the key points of your argument and provide closure to your reader. This section should be concise and to the point, reiterating the main points of your essay and providing a final perspective on your topic. The conclusion should also reflect on the implications of your research, considering the broader context of your study and its contributions to the field.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong conclusion:
1. Summarize the key points
The first step in writing the conclusion is to summarize the key points of your essay. This might involve restating your research question, summarizing your findings, and reiterating your arguments.
2. Reflect on the implications of your research
The conclusion should reflect on the implications of your research, considering the broader context of your study and its contributions to the field. This might involve discussing the potential applications of your findings, considering any ethical implications, or discussing future directions for research.
3. Provide closure
The conclusion should provide closure to your reader, bringing your argument to a logical end and tying up any loose ends. This might involve suggesting a conclusion based on your research, or providing a final perspective on your topic.
4. Avoid introducing new information
The conclusion should avoid introducing new information or arguments that were not discussed in the body of your essay. This might confuse your reader and undermine the coherence of your argument.
5. Write concisely
The conclusion should be concise, using clear and concise language to summarize the key points of your essay. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to write in a way that is easy for your reader to understand.
By summarizing the key points, reflecting on the implications of your research, providing closure, avoiding introducing new information, and writing concisely, you will be able to provide a compelling conclusion to your argument.
The references section of an academic essay is a crucial component that provides a list of the sources you used in your research and writing. The purpose of the references section is to give credit to the authors whose work you have used, to provide evidence for your arguments, and to support the validity of your research.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong references section:
1. Follow a specific citation style
The first step in writing the references section is to follow a specific citation style. There are several citation styles used in academic writing, including APA , MLA , and Chicago , and it is important to choose the one that is appropriate for your discipline and the type of essay you are writing.
2. Cite all sources used in your essay
The references section should include a citation for all sources that you used in your essay, including books, journal articles, websites, and other types of sources.
3. Follow the format guidelines
The references section should be formatted according to the specific citation style that you have chosen. This might involve including information such as the author’s name, the title of the source, the publication date, and the page numbers for any direct quotes or paraphrased material.
4. Alphabetize the references
The references section should be alphabetized according to the author’s last name, or the first word of the title for sources without authors.
5. Check for accuracy
Before submitting your essay, make sure to check the references section for accuracy, verifying that all of the information is correct and that all of the sources are cited properly.
By following a specific citation style, citing all sources used in your essay, following the format guidelines, alphabetizing the references, and checking for accuracy, you will be able to provide a comprehensive and well-documented references section for your essay.
The appendices section of an academic essay is an optional component that provides additional information that supports the main argument or research findings. This section might include materials such as graphs, tables, maps, images, or other types of data or supplementary information.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong appendices section:
1. Decide what to include
The first step in writing the appendices section is to decide what to include. This might involve evaluating the relevance of different types of information and determining which information is necessary to support your argument.
2. Label and organize the appendices
The appendices should be labeled and organized clearly and consistently, making it easy for the reader to understand the information being presented. This might involve including a title or description for each appendix, and numbering the appendices in a logical order.
3. Refer to the appendices in the main body of your essay
The appendices should be referred to in the main body of your essay, helping to connect the appendices to your argument. This might involve including a reference to the appendix in your text, or including a cross-reference to the appendix in your table of contents.
4. Use clear and concise language
The appendices should be written using clear and concise language, making it easy for the reader to understand the information being presented. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to write in a way that is accessible to your reader.
Before submitting your essay, make sure to check the appendices section for accuracy, verifying that all of the information is correct and that all of the tables, graphs, and other materials are properly labeled and organized.
By deciding what to include, labeling and organizing the appendices, referring to the appendices in the main body of your essay, using clear and concise language, and checking for accuracy, you will be able to provide a comprehensive and well-documented appendices section for your essay.
Writing an academic essay is a complex and challenging task that requires careful planning, research, writing, and revision. From developing a strong thesis statement and researching the topic to writing the introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and references, each step in the essay writing process requires attention to detail and a commitment to producing a high-quality essay.
By following the guidelines and tips outlined in this blog, you will be able to write a clear and well-structured essay that effectively communicates your argument, supports your claims with evidence, and meets the expectations of your reader.
In conclusion, writing an academic essay is a multi-step process that requires time, effort, and dedication. However, by breaking the process down into manageable steps, and by focusing on the key elements of writing an effective essay, you will be able to produce a high-quality essay that meets the expectations of your reader and contributes to your academic or professional success.
The best info ever thanks keep going like this 👌 🙌 👏 👍
It’s clearly and interesting work. I will use ir for My study and work i’m education un Patagonia, Argentina. Thanks Shrutika.
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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples
An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.
There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.
The essay writing process consists of three main stages:
- Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
- Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
- Revision: Check the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.
Table of contents
Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.
The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .
For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.
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Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:
- Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
- Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
- Do your research: Read primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
- Come up with a thesis: The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
- Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.
The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.
1. Hook your reader
The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.
Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
2. Provide background on your topic
Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.
3. Present the thesis statement
Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:
As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.
4. Map the structure
In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.
The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Write your essay introduction
The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.
Length of the body text
The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.
To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.
That idea is introduced in a topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.
After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.
Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.
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The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :
- Returns to your thesis
- Ties together your main points
- Shows why your argument matters
A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.
What not to include in a conclusion
To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:
- Including new arguments or evidence
- Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
- Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”
Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.
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My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).
My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.
My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.
I use paragraphs to structure the essay.
I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.
Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.
I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.
My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.
I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.
I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.
I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.
My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .
My essay has an interesting and informative title.
I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).
Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence.
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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.
In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.
Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
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Academic Essay: A How-To Guide
Did you know that in a single academic semester, an average college student can write enough words to fill a 500-page novel? To put it in perspective, that's roughly 125,000 to 150,000 words of essays, research papers, and other written assignments. It's an astounding amount of content, and it underscores the significance of mastering the art of scholarly essay writing. Whether you're a seasoned scholar or just starting your academic journey, understanding the intricacies of composing a well-structured, well-researched essay is essential.
Delve into the intricate world of writing an academic essay with our all-encompassing guide. We'll take you on a journey through the various types of scholarly composition, demystify the essay writing process, and provide valuable insights into proper formatting. You'll also find practical examples to inspire your own work and step-by-step how-to guides to ensure your essays stand out. Whether you're a seasoned student or just starting your academic adventure, this resource will be your compass for success in the realm of scholarly endeavors.
What Is an Academic Essay
In a nutshell, an academic essay is a structured form of writing students face in school, college, and university as a part of their curricula. The most common purposes of such writing are to either present some new pieces of information or to use existing facts and knowledge to deliver specific ideas. This type of assignment allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and creativity and encourages them to develop their ideas to communicate a message.
Compared to other types of academic writing, essays are usually shorter in length and present the authors’ opinions to support their arguments. Here are some key features of an academic essay for you to keep in mind:
- Conciseness — as a rule, essays are short; the length of such papers range from 200 to 500 words.
- Topic — due to their short lengths, a perfect topic for an essay should be narrowed-down and not too broad.
- Well-structured text — although essays can be considered as one of the least formal types of writing, they still need to have a solid structure and follow the proper academic paper format.
- Clear central idea — every academic essay should deliver a specific point that should be clear and powerful (i.e. thesis statement).
- Personal motivation — unlike other types of writing, essays often imply that their authors are personally interested in the subjects they are discussing.
- Supporting facts, evidence, and examples — although essays may present an author’s personal beliefs and ideas, they should also provide arguments that support those ideas.
It helps to develop your academic writing skills early—as they are skills you will carry forward throughout your studies and lifetime. People who are good at writing academic essays also tend to be able to articulate themselves more clearly, and tend to have more confidence when speaking.
To fully understand how and when to use an academic essay, our will describe the main types of them for you.
Elevate your academic performance with EssayPro. Our experts are here to help you craft compelling academic essays that stand out. With our support, you can confidently tackle any topic and impress your professors with your insight and clarity.
Academic Essay Example
Here are the perfect academic essay examples from our research paper writer .
Academic Essay Topics
In our quest to engage and challenge the academic community, we've curated a list of unique essay topics. These topics are meticulously chosen to incite critical thinking, and reflect on the intertwining of traditional theories with modern realities. From exploring the ethical dimensions of AI in healthcare to delving into the socioeconomic aspects of upcycling trends, these topics are a gateway to insightful discussions and a profound understanding of the evolving world around us.
- The Dynamics of Human-AI Relationships: A Look into the Future.
- The Revival of Ancient Herbal Remedies in Modern Medicine.
- Bridging Historical Rifts: An Analysis of Modern Diplomacy Efforts.
- The Role of Urban Green Spaces in Promoting Mental Health.
- The Impact of Classical Literature on Modern Pop Culture.
- The Future of Cybersecurity: Preparing for Quantum Computing Threats.
- The Cultural Significance of Culinary Traditions in Nation Building.
- The Influence of Music on Cognitive Performance.
- The Changing Landscape of Privacy in the Digital Age.
- The Socioeconomic Factors Contributing to Vaccine Hesitancy.
- The Intersection of Modern Technology and Ancient Philosophies.
- Evolving Linguistic Norms: The Impact of Social Media on Language.
- The Psychological Effects of Color in Consumer Behavior.
- Ethical Implications of AI in Modern Healthcare.
- Urban Planning in Post-Pandemic World: Lessons and Preparations.
- The Role of Art Therapy in Managing Chronic Stress.
- The Influence of Space Exploration on Earth's Technological Advancements.
- The Future of Biodegradable Plastics: A Sustainable Alternative?
- A Socioeconomic Analysis of Upcycling Trends.
- The Ethical Dilemmas of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture.
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Types of Academic Writing
The process of writing an essay comes in various forms, each with its unique style and purpose. Understanding these types can be essential for tailoring your writing to suit the specific requirements of your assignments. Here, our essay writer service will explore some of the most common types of academic writing:
- Expository Writing : This type of writing is all about explaining and providing information. In expository essays, your goal is to inform your reader about a specific topic or concept. For example, if you were writing an expository essay about climate change, you would present facts and data to inform your reader about the issue's causes and effects.
- Persuasive Writing : Persuasive writing aims to convince the reader of a particular point of view or argument. In a persuasive essay, you would use logical reasoning, evidence, and well-structured arguments to persuade your audience. For instance, an essay advocating for stricter environmental regulations would be a persuasive piece.
- Descriptive Writing : In descriptive writing, your task is to create a vivid picture with words. You want the reader to feel like they are experiencing the subject firsthand. Imagine writing a descriptive essay about a picturesque countryside scene; you would use colorful language and sensory details to transport your reader there.
- Narrative Writing : Narrative essays are like storytelling. They often recount personal experiences, anecdotes, or narratives. For example, you might write a narrative essay about a life-changing event or your journey to a foreign country.
- Analytical Writing : Analytical writing involves breaking down complex ideas or issues into smaller components and then examining them critically. When analyzing a piece of literature in an essay, you would deconstruct the text, explore its themes, characters, and literary devices, and provide insights into the author's intentions.
- Research Papers : Research papers are a hallmark of academic writing. They require you to investigate a topic thoroughly, gather data, and present your findings. Whether it's a scientific research paper, a history paper, or a social science study, research papers demand rigorous research and precise citation of sources.
- Literature Reviews : These are common in humanities and social sciences. A literature review involves summarizing and critically evaluating existing research on a specific topic. It's an essential component of academic research, allowing you to place your work within the broader context of scholarly conversation.
Understanding the Essay Writing Process
The journey of understanding how to write an academic essay is characterized by distinct stages: preparation, writing, and revisions. The nature of this journey, however, is like a versatile chameleon, ever-adapting to the unique demands of each essay type.
Let's consider the scenario of a high school student tasked with writing a five-paragraph expository essay. In this case, the emphasis predominantly falls on the writing stage. Given the straightforward prompt, the student's primary focus lies in structuring and articulating their thoughts effectively within the constraints of these paragraphs. The goal is to convey information clearly, maintaining a well-organized and engaging narrative.
Now, imagine a college-level argumentative essay. Here, the bulk of your efforts shift to the preparation stage. Before a single word is written, a rigorous exploration of the essay topics is imperative. This involves extensive research, diving deep into scholarly articles, dissecting data, and developing a compelling argument. A strong thesis, underpinned by a wealth of evidence and nuanced insights, becomes the keystone of your essay.
The revising stage, a constant companion in this journey, maintains its significance across all essay types. It's during revision that you refine and perfect your work, harmonizing your arguments and ensuring the essay's overall cohesion. At this stage, you become the editor, refining grammar, enhancing clarity, and optimizing the essay's structure.
Setting the Stage for Essay Writing Success
The process of writing an academic essay typically unfolds in the following manner:
- Receiving the Assignment : Your essay journey commences when your instructor or professor hands out the assignment prompt. This prompt serves as your roadmap, detailing the essay's topic, length, and any specific requirements. It's crucial to read this prompt attentively, ensuring you comprehend the expectations.
- Understanding the Task : Once you have the assignment prompt in hand, take the time to understand it fully. Analyze the purpose of the essay. Is it meant to inform, persuade, analyze, or narrate? Determine the target audience, whether it's your instructor, peers, or a broader readership. This understanding will guide your approach to the essay.
- Research and Gathering Information : After grasping the assignment's main idea, it's time to research and collect information. Depending on the topic and type of essay, this might involve library research, online searches, or fieldwork. The quality and quantity of your research will influence the depth and credibility of your essay.
- Developing a Thesis : With the knowledge you've acquired, create a clear and concise thesis statement. This statement encapsulates the main argument or perspective you will present in your essay. It serves as the foundation upon which your essay will be built.
- Planning and Outlining : Before diving into the actual writing, it's essential to create your essay outline. This step helps you organize your thoughts and ideas, ensuring a logical and coherent structure. Consider the essay's introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, and decide on the points you will address in each section.
Academic Essay Format
The essay format is your framework for presenting ideas, but it doesn't have to stifle your creativity or individuality. Here's a practical look at the academic essay format example from a unique perspective:
- Introduction - Piquing Interest : Use your introduction as a tool to pique your reader's interest. Rather than simply stating your thesis, start with a surprising fact, a relevant question, or a brief story. Engaging your reader from the outset can make your essay more captivating.
- Body Paragraphs - Building a Logical Flow : Consider your body paragraphs as stepping stones in a logical progression. Each paragraph should naturally lead to the next, creating a seamless flow of ideas. Ensure that your points connect coherently, making your essay easy to follow.
- Evidence and Analysis - Supporting Your Claims : When including evidence, don't just drop quotes or data into your essay. Instead, think of them as puzzle pieces that need critical thinking skills for explanation and integration. Analyze how the evidence supports your argument, providing context and clarity for your reader.
- Transitions - Smooth Connections : Utilize transitional words and phrases to guide your reader through your essay. These simple elements, like 'Furthermore,' 'In contrast,' or 'Conversely,' can significantly enhance the readability and comprehension of your essay.
- Conclusion - Recap and Implication : Your conclusion should summarize your main points, restating your thesis. However, take it a step further by highlighting the broader implications of your argument. What do your findings suggest or inspire the reader to consider? This adds depth to your conclusion.
- Formatting - Clear and Consistent : Follow formatting guidelines diligently. Consistency in font, margins, and citation style reflects your attention to detail and respect for academic standards.
How to Write an Academic Essay: Steps and Techniques
Crafting a Captivating Essay Introduction
The introduction of your academic essay serves as the portal through which your reader enters the realm of your ideas. Let's understand how to write an essay introduction by considering these four dynamic elements:
Engage Your Reader
Start with a thought-provoking question that sparks curiosity. For instance, in an essay about climate change, you might begin with, 'What if I told you that a single-degree change in global temperature could alter the course of humanity's future?' When learning how to write a hook for an essay , questions can be powerful entry points because they create an immediate sense of intrigue. Readers are drawn into your essay in search of answers, setting the stage for exploration.
Offer Context for Your Topic
Rather than a mere factual backdrop, transport your reader to a historical moment or an evocative setting related to your topic. For example, when discussing the history of the Eiffel Tower in an architecture essay, you could begin with, 'Imagine strolling the cobblestone streets of 19th-century Paris, where a colossal iron structure was emerging from the ground, destined to become a global icon.' Whether you write an essay yourself or use the option to buy a dissertation , remember that introducing background information immerses your reader in the context, making them feel like they've stepped back in time or been transported to a specific place.
Introduce Your Thesis Statement
Present your thesis statement with an air of revelation, as if unveiling a well-kept secret. In an essay about the impact of technology on privacy, you might say, 'Hidden in the digital shadows, a critical truth emerges: our privacy is slipping away, pixel by pixel, keystroke by keystroke.' Make it sound like a literary discovery, something that's been hidden and is now about to be revealed. This imbues it with a sense of anticipation.
Outline Your Essay's Structure
Instead of merely outlining your essay's structure, craft it like a guidebook for an adventure. Imagine your essay as a journey through uncharted territory. Present your essay's sections or main points as thrilling destinations your reader is about to explore. For instance, if your essay is about the cultural impact of a famous novel, you could say, 'Our literary expedition will begin in the author's biographical world, then traverse the novel's plot twists, and finally, unravel the web of its influence on modern culture.'
Developing the Main Body
The main body is where your ideas take shape while understanding how to write an academic essay, and it's crucial to approach this section thoughtfully. Here's how to tackle two key elements:
Exploring the Body Text's Length
The length of your body text should align with the complexity of your topic and the depth of exploration required. For instance, consider a historical analysis essay on the causes of World War I. This topic is multifaceted, requiring in-depth coverage. In such a case, it's appropriate to dedicate several pages to thoroughly examine the various factors contributing to the war. On the other hand, in a concise argumentative essay about a specific policy issue, like healthcare reform, brevity can be the key to keeping your reader engaged. In this instance, you might aim for a clear, persuasive argument within a few pages. The key is to tailor the length to your topic, ensuring you provide sufficient evidence and analysis without unnecessary elaboration.
Crafting Effective Paragraphs
Each paragraph in the main body should be a self-contained unit that contributes to your overall argument. Consider, for example, an essay on climate change.
In a paragraph discussing the consequences of rising global temperatures, you could begin with a topic sentence like, 'Rising temperatures have far-reaching effects on ecosystems.' Next, present evidence in the form of data and examples, such as statistics on melting polar ice caps and the impact on polar bear populations. Follow this with analysis, explaining the significance of these consequences for the environment.
Ensure that your ideas flow logically from one paragraph to the next, creating a seamless and coherent narrative. Vary the length and structure of your paragraphs to add dynamic variation to your essay. For instance, in a literary analysis, a short, impactful paragraph may be used to emphasize a critical point, while longer paragraphs could delve into complex themes or explore multiple aspects of your argument. By thoughtfully exploring the body text's length and crafting effective paragraphs, you create a main body that is both engaging and informative, tailored to the unique requirements of your academic essay writing.
Concluding Your Essay
The conclusion of your essay serves as the grand finale, leaving a lasting impression on your reader. However, it's not just a place to restate your thesis; it's an opportunity to add depth and resonance to your essay. Here's how to approach it effectively:
- Summarize Your Main Points with a Twist : Summarize the key points you've made throughout your essay, but do it with a twist. Instead of merely restating what you've already said, provide a fresh perspective or a thought-provoking insight.
- Revisit Your Thesis Statement : Bring your essay full circle by revisiting your thesis statement. Remind your reader of the central argument, but do it in a way that emphasizes its significance.
- Provide a Sense of Closure : The conclusion should provide a sense of closure to your essay. Like the final chapter of a captivating story, it should leave your reader with a sense of completion. Avoid introducing new ideas or even new persuasive essay topics in this section; instead, focus on the culmination of your existing points.
- Inspire Thought or Action : Go beyond summarization and inspire thought or action. Invite your reader to reflect on the implications of your essay or consider its relevance in a broader context. This can make your essay more impactful and thought-provoking.
Refining Your Academic Essay Through Editing
Once you've penned your final words, the journey is far from over. Editing is a crucial step in the essay writing process, much like it is while learning how to write a descriptive essay . It's where you refine your work to its polished best. Here's how to approach it:
- Start by proofreading your essay for clarity and errors. Check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes.
- Examine the overall structure of your essay. Is it organized logically? Are the paragraphs well-structured? Does the essay have a clear flow from the introduction to the conclusion?
- Ensure that you've cited your sources correctly and compiled your references or bibliography according to the required citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago.
- Trim unnecessary words and phrases to make your writing more concise. Check for wordiness and make sure your vocabulary is precise and appropriate for an academic audience.
In this comprehensive guide, we've covered the essential elements of crafting an academic essay, from honing your writing skills to capturing the reader's attention, from the essay's inception to achieving an A+ finish. Remember that mastering the art of essay writing is a valuable skill. It's a process that involves structure, style, and substance, and it serves as your gateway to sharing your ideas effectively. Regardless of your level of experience, this guide is designed to equip you with the tools you need to excel in your essay-writing endeavors!
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The Basics of Essay Writing
What does a good essay need.
An academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence .
- An academic essay should answer a question or task .
- It should have a thesis statement (answer to the question) and an argument .
- It should try to present or discuss something: develop a thesis via a set of closely related points by reasoning and evidence.
- An academic essay should include relevant examples , supporting evidence and information from academic texts or credible sources.
Basic steps in writing an essay
Although there are some basic steps to writing an assignment, essay writing is not a linear process. You might work through the different stages a number of times in the course of writing an essay. For example, you may go back to the reading and notetaking stage if you find another useful text, or perhaps to reread to locate specific information.
Possible steps (In no strict order)
see next: getting started, essay and assignment writing guide.
- Getting started
- Research the topic
- Organise your ideas
- Write your essay
- Reference your essay
- Edit your essay
- Hand in your essay
- Essay and assignment planning
- Answering assignment questions
- Editing checklist
- Writing a critical review
- Annotated bibliography
- Reflective writing
- ^ More support
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Six top tips for writing a great essay
An essay is used to assess the strength of your critical thinking and your ability to put that thinking into an academic written form. This resource covers some key considerations when writing an essay at university.
While reading a student’s essay, markers will ask themselves questions such as:
- Does this essay directly address the set task?
- Does it present a strong, supported position?
- Does it use relevant sources appropriately?
- Is the expression clear, and the style appropriate?
- Is the essay organised coherently? Is there a clear introduction, body and conclusion?
You can use these questions to reflect on your own writing. Here are six top tips to help you address these criteria.
1. Analyse the question
Student essays are responses to specific questions. As an essay must address the question directly, your first step should be to analyse the question. Make sure you know exactly what is being asked of you.
Generally, essay questions contain three component parts:
- Content terms: Key concepts that are specific to the task
- Limiting terms: The scope that the topic focuses on
- Directive terms: What you need to do in relation to the content, e.g. discuss, analyse, define, compare, evaluate.
Look at the following essay question:
Discuss the importance of light in Gothic architecture.
- Content terms: Gothic architecture
- Limiting terms: the importance of light. If you discussed some other feature of Gothic architecture, for example spires or arches, you would be deviating from what is required. This essay question is limited to a discussion of light. Likewise, it asks you to write about the importance of light – not, for example, to discuss how light enters Gothic churches.
- Directive term: discuss. This term asks you to take a broad approach to the variety of ways in which light may be important for Gothic architecture. You should introduce and consider different ideas and opinions that you have met in academic literature on this topic, citing them appropriately .
For a more complex question, you can highlight the key words and break it down into a series of sub-questions to make sure you answer all parts of the task. Consider the following question (from Arts):
To what extent can the American Revolution be understood as a revolution ‘from below’? Why did working people become involved and with what aims in mind?
The key words here are American Revolution and revolution ‘from below’. This is a view that you would need to respond to in this essay. This response must focus on the aims and motivations of working people in the revolution, as stated in the second question.
2. Define your argument
As you plan and prepare to write the essay, you must consider what your argument is going to be. This means taking an informed position or point of view on the topic presented in the question, then defining and presenting a specific argument.
Consider these two argument statements:
The architectural use of light in Gothic cathedrals physically embodied the significance of light in medieval theology.
In the Gothic cathedral of Cologne, light served to accentuate the authority and ritual centrality of the priest.
Statements like these define an essay’s argument. They give coherence by providing an overarching theme and position towards which the entire essay is directed.
3. Use evidence, reasoning and scholarship
To convince your audience of your argument, you must use evidence and reasoning, which involves referring to and evaluating relevant scholarship.
- Evidence provides concrete information to support your claim. It typically consists of specific examples, facts, quotations, statistics and illustrations.
- Reasoning connects the evidence to your argument. Rather than citing evidence like a shopping list, you need to evaluate the evidence and show how it supports your argument.
- Scholarship is used to show how your argument relates to what has been written on the topic (citing specific works). Scholarship can be used as part of your evidence and reasoning to support your argument.
4. Organise a coherent essay
An essay has three basic components - introduction, body and conclusion.
The purpose of an introduction is to introduce your essay. It typically presents information in the following order:
- A general statement about the topic that provides context for your argument
- A thesis statement showing your argument. You can use explicit lead-ins, such as ‘This essay argues that...’
- A ‘road map’ of the essay, telling the reader how it is going to present and develop your argument.
"To what extent can the American Revolution be understood as a revolution ‘from below’? Why did working people become involved and with what aims in mind?"
Historians generally concentrate on the twenty-year period between 1763 and 1783 as the period which constitutes the American Revolution [This sentence sets the general context of the period] . However, when considering the involvement of working people, or people from below, in the revolution it is important to make a distinction between the pre-revolutionary period 1763-1774 and the revolutionary period 1774-1788, marked by the establishment of the continental Congress(1) [This sentence defines the key term from below and gives more context to the argument that follows] . This paper will argue that the nature and aims of the actions of working people are difficult to assess as it changed according to each phase [This is the thesis statement] . The pre-revolutionary period was characterised by opposition to Britain’s authority. During this period the aims and actions of the working people were more conservative as they responded to grievances related to taxes and scarce land, issues which directly affected them. However, examination of activities such as the organisation of crowd action and town meetings, pamphlet writing, formal communications to Britain of American grievances and physical action in the streets, demonstrates that their aims and actions became more revolutionary after 1775 [These sentences give the ‘road map’ or overview of the content of the essay] .
The body of the essay develops and elaborates your argument. It does this by presenting a reasoned case supported by evidence from relevant scholarship. Its shape corresponds to the overview that you provided in your introduction.
The body of your essay should be written in paragraphs. Each body paragraph should develop one main idea that supports your argument. To learn how to structure a paragraph, look at the page developing clarity and focus in academic writing .
Your conclusion should not offer any new material. Your evidence and argumentation should have been made clear to the reader in the body of the essay.
Use the conclusion to briefly restate the main argumentative position and provide a short summary of the themes discussed. In addition, also consider telling your reader:
- What the significance of your findings, or the implications of your conclusion, might be
- Whether there are other factors which need to be looked at, but which were outside the scope of the essay
- How your topic links to the wider context (‘bigger picture’) in your discipline.
Do not simply repeat yourself in this section. A conclusion which merely summarises is repetitive and reduces the impact of your paper.
Although, to a large extent, the working class were mainly those in the forefront of crowd action and they also led the revolts against wealthy plantation farmers, the American Revolution was not a class struggle [This is a statement of the concluding position of the essay]. Working people participated because the issues directly affected them – the threat posed by powerful landowners and the tyranny Britain represented. Whereas the aims and actions of the working classes were more concerned with resistance to British rule during the pre-revolutionary period, they became more revolutionary in nature after 1775 when the tension with Britain escalated [These sentences restate the key argument]. With this shift, a change in ideas occurred. In terms of considering the Revolution as a whole range of activities such as organising riots, communicating to Britain, attendance at town hall meetings and pamphlet writing, a difficulty emerges in that all classes were involved. Therefore, it is impossible to assess the extent to which a single group such as working people contributed to the American Revolution [These sentences give final thoughts on the topic].
5. Write clearly
An essay that makes good, evidence-supported points will only receive a high grade if it is written clearly. Clarity is produced through careful revision and editing, which can turn a good essay into an excellent one.
When you edit your essay, try to view it with fresh eyes – almost as if someone else had written it.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you clearly stated your argument in your introduction?
- Does the actual structure correspond to the ‘road map’ set out in your introduction?
- Have you clearly indicated how your main points support your argument?
- Have you clearly signposted the transitions between each of your main points for your reader?
- Does each paragraph introduce one main idea?
- Does every sentence in the paragraph support that main idea?
- Does each paragraph display relevant evidence and reasoning?
- Does each paragraph logically follow on from the one before it?
- Is each sentence grammatically complete?
- Is the spelling correct?
- Is the link between sentences clear to your readers?
- Have you avoided redundancy and repetition?
See more about editing on our editing your writing page.
6. Cite sources and evidence
Finally, check your citations to make sure that they are accurate and complete. Some faculties require you to use a specific citation style (e.g. APA) while others may allow you to choose a preferred one. Whatever style you use, you must follow its guidelines correctly and consistently. You can use Recite, the University of Melbourne style guide, to check your citations.
- Germov, J. (2011). Get great marks for your essays, reports and presentations (3rd ed.). NSW: Allen and Unwin.
- Using English for Academic Purposes: A guide for students in Higher Education [online]. Retrieved January 2020 from http://www.uefap.com
- Williams, J.M. & Colomb, G. G. (2010) Style: Lessons in clarity and grace. 10th ed. New York: Longman.
* Example introduction and conclusion adapted from a student paper.
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How to write an academic essay
Writing an academic essay can be intimidating if you’ve never written one before or haven’t written one in a long time. by following the five steps listed below, you can develop a topic and write an essay without experiencing undue stress or anxiety., develop a topic, research and take notes, create an outline, write your essay, edit your work.
The first step in academic essay writing is to determine your topic and develop a thesis statement, which is simply a concise statement of your essay’s main idea (for example, “Dogs are better than cats.”).
When you are given an assignment to write an academic essay, your instructor may give you a specific topic or ask you to write about a specific thesis statement. Sometimes, your instructor may ask you to write one of four specific types of essays:
- Narrative essays tell a story about something that happened in the author’s life.
- Descriptive essays are used to describe something, such as a location, person, or piece of art.
- Expository essays present information about a topic.
- Persuasive essays are used to make an argument or persuade the reader to feel a certain way or believe something specific.
If your instructor asked you to choose your own topic, think about what kinds of topics interest you. Are you a movie buff who has been asked to write a descriptive essay? Describe the way watching your favorite movie makes you feel. Have you been asked to write a narrative essay?
Think about an important experience, such as your most memorable vacation, and write a story about what happened during that vacation.
Once you determine your thesis statement, it’s time to begin your research, if necessary. If you’re writing an essay describing a personal experience or your feelings about a certain topic, research may not be necessary. For other types of essays, though, it’s important to find information from reputable sources to bolster your argument or present accurate information.
When considering how to write an academic essay, don’t wait until the last minute to begin your research. You may find that the information you need isn’t readily accessible online, so you might need to visit your local library or conduct more in-depth searches online. The staff at your local public library or the library at your school are happy to help, but it’s never a good idea to go in the night before your essay is due expecting to quickly find all the information you need.
Find the right sources
When you’re searching for reputable sources, look for academic journals, newspapers, government or organizational websites, or websites written by someone with expertise and credentials in the topic you’re researching. In general, the information on wiki sites (including Wikipedia) isn’t trustworthy because anyone can change that information at any time. However, visiting the sources linked at the bottom of a wiki page is a great way to find reputable sources.
Once you’ve gathered your information, take notes of important dates, numbers, names, etc. so you have all the information you need on hand when you begin writing. You can also print out articles and webpages and highlight the important information to find it easily when you start writing.
It’s vital to write down or save the bibliographic information for all your sources, including websites. This information includes the author’s name, the title of the article or webpage, the page numbers (for printed material), the date on which the source was published, and the URL (for websites). When you write your essay , you will likely need to refer back to this information and include it at the end of your paper.
After you gather your research, think about how you want to organize it. A simple five-paragraph essay should begin with an introductory paragraph, include three paragraphs presenting information or arguments, and end with a concluding paragraph. If your essay is longer than five paragraphs, it should still begin with an introductory paragraph and end with a concluding paragraph.
Each paragraph in the body of the essay should focus on one separate idea. When you are creating your outline, you can arrange the ideas in these paragraphs in a number of ways, such as chronologically or from least important to most important. It’s important that the paragraphs flow from one to the next to form a cohesive essay.
Now that you have your outline, it’s time to flesh out the text and start writing your academic essay. Begin with your introduction. This paragraph should include your thesis statement and some general text explaining your thesis statement. This text can include background information for your argument, the context in which you have approached your examination of the thesis, and how the rest of your essay is organized.
The body paragraphs of your essay are where you present your arguments, descriptions, or ideas. Each of these paragraphs should begin with an introductory statement to let the reader know the main idea for that paragraph. The next 3–5 sentences should present further information related to that idea. This is where you will use the research you conducted earlier. You can present facts, statistics, or other people’s thoughts to back up the point you are making in each paragraph. If you use information or ideas you got from another essay writer service source, though, you should always provide a citation to acknowledge that the information came from somewhere else; not doing so is plagiarism, and academic institutions have strict policies against plagiarism.
The style of these citations is usually determined by the style guide your instructor has asked you to use (e.g., APA , MLA , or Chicago ). The final sentence should provide a transition to the next paragraph (e.g., mentioning how the idea discussed in that paragraph relates or doesn’t relate to the idea discussed in the next paragraph).
Once you have completed your body paragraphs, it’s time to write your conclusion. In this paragraph, you should restate your thesis and summarize your ideas that support your thesis.
If you cited other sources in your essay, you should include a bibliography or works cited list at the end of your essay. Like the citations, the style used to present the references in this list is determined by the style guide your instructor wants you to use.
Once you have completed your first draft, it’s important to edit your work . Academic essay writing almost always requires several revisions. When you edit your work, you will check for a number of different things, including the following:
- Make sure all your grammar, spelling, and punctuation are correct (the spell check in your word processing software can help with this, but note that spell check doesn’t always catch everything!).
- Try to avoid using passive voice (e.g., “I will be discussing”) where possible and use active voice (e.g., “I will discuss”) instead.
- Use formal English, and avoid using slang or contractions.
- Avoid using biased or sexist language.
- Don’t be too long-winded; instead, be concise.
In addition, make sure you haven’t presented any incorrect information (e.g., double check numerals in dates and numbers to make sure they are correct), and make sure you’ve provided citations for all information you obtained from other sources.
That’s it! By following these steps, you can write a well-thought-out, well-organized academic essay!
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Showing your understanding of and critical arguments relating to a topic.
What are essays?
Most degree programmes include essays. They are the most common form of written assignment and so for most students, being good at essays is essential to gaining good marks, which lead to good grades, which lead to the degree classification desired. Essays are both a particular method of writing and a collection of sub-skills that students need to master during degree studies.
Find out more:
Essays: a Conceptual and Practical Guide [interactive tutorial] | Essays: a Conceptual and Practical Guide [Google Doc]
General essay writing
You have an essay to write... what next .
- Read the assessment brief carefully to find out what the essay is about, what you are required to do specifically. What instructions are you given (discuss, explain, explore)? What choices do you need to make?
- Work through the practical guide to essays above. This will help you to think about what an essay is and what is required of you.
- Look at the assignment writing process . How will you produce your essay?
- Make a plan for when, where, and how you will research, think, draft, and write your essay.
- Execute your plan .
- Finish early. Leave a couple of spare days at the end to edit and proofread .
- Hand it in and move on to the next challenge!
Features of essay writing
Essays vary lots between disciplines and specific tasks, but they share several features that are important to bear in mind.
- They are an argument towards a conclusion. The conclusion can be for or against a position, or just a narrative conclusion. All your writing and argumentation should lead to this conclusion.
- They have a reader. It is essential that you show the logic of your argument and the information it is based on to your reader.
- They are based on evidence . You must show this using both your referencing and also through interacting with the ideas and thinking found within the sources you use.
- They have a structure. You need to ensure your structure is logical and that it matches the expectations of your department. You should also ensure that the structure enables the reader to follow your argument easily.
- They have a word limit. 1000 words means 'be concise and make decisions about exactly what is important to include' whereas 3500 words means 'write in more depth, and show the reader a more complex and broad range of critical understanding'.
- They are part of a discipline/subject area, each of which has conventions . For example, Chemistry requires third person impersonal writing, whereas Women's Studies requires the voice (meaning experiential viewpoint) of the author in the writing.
Types of essay
Each essay task is different and consequently the information below is not designed to be a substitute for checking the information for your specific essay task. It is essential that you check the assessment brief, module handbook and programme handbook, as well as attend any lectures, seminars and webinars devoted to the essay you are working on.
Essays in each subject area belong to a faculty (science, social sciences, arts and Humanities). Essays within the same faculty tend to share some features of style, structure, language choice, and scholarly practices. Please click through to the section relevant to your faculty area and if you want to be curious, the other ones too!
Arts & Humanities essays
Arts and Humanities is a faculty that includes a huge range of subject areas, from Music to Philosophy. Study in the arts and humanities typically focuses on products of the human mind, like music, artistic endeavour, philosophical ideas, and literary productions. This means that essays in the arts and humanities are typically exploring ideas, or interpreting the products of thinking (such as music, art, literature).
There are a range of essay writing styles in arts and humanities, and each subject area has its own conventions and expectations, which are explained and built into modules within each degree programme. Typically, each essay explores an idea, using critical engagement with source material, to produce an argument.
There is typically more reliance on the interpretation of ideas and evidence by the student than in the sciences and social sciences. For the student, the challenge is to understand and control the ideas in each essay, producing a coherent and logical argument that fulfils the essay brief. As with all essays, careful structure, word choices, and language use are essential to succeeding.
Department-specific advice for essays in Arts and Humanities
Some departments provide web-based advice:
- English and Related Literature essay writing advice pages
- Philosophy essay writing advice pages
- Music Department 'House Style' guidance for essay writing
- Language and Linguistic Science style guide
If your department does not appear above, do ask your supervisor or other academic staff what specific guidance is available.
Key Features of Arts and Humanities essays
- They are based on evidence . It is important that ideas used in essays are derived from credible and usable sources to root your essay in the scholarly materials of the subject that you are writing about.
- There is usually a thesis statement. This appears towards the end of your introductory paragraph, concisely outlining the purpose and the main argument of the essay. It is short (once sentence), concise, and precise. Though the essay may have multiple sub-arguments, all must tie into the thesis statement. This means it is important to know, state and stick to the primary focus set out in your thesis statement.
- They require you to interpret evidence. It is unlikely that you will find a source that directly answers the essay question set. You will typically be required to interpret primary and secondary evidence. Primary evidence includes the manuscript of a novel, or a letter describing an historical event. Secondary evidence includes academic books and peer reviewed articles.
- They require you to apply ideas. Many essays will ask you to apply an abstract idea to a scenario, or interpretation of something. For example, you could be asked to apply a Marxist ideology upon Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights or Post-Colonialist theories upon Shakespeare's The Tempest.
- Essays vary greatly in terms of length, required depth of thinking and purpose. You must carefully read the assessment brief and any supporting materials provided to you. It is also important to complete formative tasks that prepare you for an essay, as these will help you to become use to the requirements of the summative essay.
- They must show criticality. When interpreting evidence, or applying ideas in your essay you must be aware that there is more than one possible understanding. Through exploring multiple sources and showing the limits and interconnectedness of ideas you show criticality. More information on criticality can be found on the Criticality page of this guide .
Example extract of an arts and humanities essay
Essay Title: Liturgical expression and national identity during the reign of Æthelred the Unready
This essay is from English studies and shows typical features of an arts and humanities essay. It is examining two ideas, namely 'national identity' and 'liturgical expression' and applying them both to a period of history. The essay does this by analysing linguistic choices, using interpretation from the literature base to create an argument that addresses the essay title.
It also has the feature of the student using sources of evidence to offer an interpretation that may disagree with some published sources. This use of evidence to create an argument that is novel to the student and requires interpretation of ideas is typical of arts and humanities writing. '"engla God", these liturgical verses themselves both signify and enact a ritualised unity with God.' is an example from the essay extract that shows the careful language choices used to create a concise and precise argument that clearly conveys complex thought to the reader from the author.
One way of thinking about a good arts and humanities essay is that it is like you are producing a garment from threads. The overall piece has a shape that people can recognise and understand, and each word, like each stitch, builds the whole piece slowly, whilst some key threads, like core ideas in your argument, run through the whole to hold it all together. It is the threading together of the strands of argument that determines the quality of the final essay, just as the threading of strands in a garment determine the quality of the final piece.
Good arts and humanities essay writing is...
- Based on evidence sources,
- built on the interpretation and application of ideas, evidence and theories,
- a clearly expressed, logical argument that addresses the essay question,
- carefully constructed to guide the reader in a logical path from the introduction to the conclusion,
- filled with carefully chosen language to precisely and accurately convey ideas and interpretations to the reader,
- built on rigorous, careful and close analysis of ideas,
- constructed using careful evaluation of the significance of each idea and concept used,
- readable, meaning it is clear and logical, using clearly understandable English,
- rewarded with high marks.
Common mistakes in arts and humanities essay writing
- Not answering the question posed. It is very easy to answer the question you wished had been asked, or drift away from the question during your writing. Keep checking back to the question to ensure you are still focussed and make a clear plan before writing.
- Moving beyond the evidence. You are required to interpret ideas and evidence that exist, this requires some application and novelty, but should not be making up new ideas/knowledge to make your argument work; your writing must be rooted in evidence.
- Using complex and long words where simpler word choices would convey meaning more clearly. Think of the reader.
- Leaving the reader to draw their own conclusion s, or requiring the reader to make assumptions. They must be able to see your thinking clearly on the page.
- Using lots of direct quotes . There are times when using quotes is important to detail lines from a novel for example, but you need to use them carefully and judiciously, so that most of your writing is based on your use of sources, for which you gain credit.
Social Science essays
Social Sciences, as the name suggests, can be thought of as an attempt to use a 'scientific method' to investigate social phenomena. There is a recognition that applying the strict rules of the level of proof required in science subjects is not appropriate when studying complex social phenomena. But, there is an expectation of as much rigour as is possible to achieve in each investigation.
Consequently, there is a huge variation in the types of essays that can be found within the social sciences. An essay based on the carbon dating of human remains within Archaeology is clearly very different from an essay based on the application of an ethical framework in Human Resources Management. The former is likely to be much more like a science essay, whilst the latter may edge towards a Philosophy essay, which is part of arts and humanities.
Key features of social science essays
- They are evidence-based. It is crucial to use the evidence in a way that shows you understand how significant the evidence used is.
- They require interpretation of evidence . By its nature, evidence in social sciences may be less definite than in sciences, and so interpretation is required. When you interpret evidence, this too must be based on evidence, rather than personal opinion or personal observation.
- They often require the application of abstract theories to real-world scenarios . The theories are 'clean and clear' and the real world is 'messy and unclear'; the skill of the student is to make plausible judgements. For example,
- The level of detail and breadth of knowledge that must be displayed varies greatly, depending on the length of the essay. 1000 word essays need concise wording and for the student to limit the breadth of knowledge displayed in order to achieve the depth needed for a high mark. Conversely, 5000 word essays require both breadth and depth of knowledge.
- They should show criticality. This means you need to show uncertainty in the theories and ideas used, and how ideas and theories interact with others. You should present counter-facts and counter-arguments and use the information in the literature base to reach supported conclusions and judgements.
Example extract of a social science essay
Essay Title: Who Gets What in Education and is that Fair?
Education in the western world has historically favoured men in the regard that women were essentially denied access to it for no other reason than their gender (Trueman,2016) and even though it would seem there is certainly “equality on paper” (Penny, 2010,p1.) when looking at statistics for achievement and gender, the reality is that the struggles facing anyone who does not identify as male require a little more effort to recognise. An excellent example of this can be found in the 2014 OECD report. In the UK women significantly outnumbered men in their application for university places- 376,860 women to 282,170 men (ICEF,2014)- but when observed closer men are applying for places at higher ranking universities and often studying in fields that will eventually allow them to earn better salaries. The same report praised women for the ability to combine their studies with family life and having higher aspirations than boys and therefore likely as being more determined to obtain degrees (ICEF, 2014), yet in reality women have very little choice about coping with the stressful burdens placed on them. The concepts of double burden and triple shift where women are expected to deal with housework and earning an income, or housework, raising children and earning an income (Einhorn, 1993) could in this case relate to the pressure for women to work hard at school to allow them to be able to provide for their families in future. Even women who do not necessarily have their own families or children to care for must face the double burden and triple shift phenomenon in the workplace, as women who work in the higher education sector almost always have the duty of a more pastoral and caring role of their students than male counterparts (Morley,1994).
Education is a social science subject. Some studies within it follow a scientific method of quantitative data collection, whilst others are more qualitative, and others still are more theoretical. In the case of this extract it is about gendered effects in university applications. This is an inevitably complex area to write about, intersecting as it does with social class, economic status, social norms, cultural history, political policy... To name but a few.
The essay is clearly based on evidence, which in places in numerical and in places is derived from previously written papers, such as 'triple shift where women are expected to deal with housework and earning an income, or housework, raising children and earning an income (Einhorn, 1993)', where the concept of triple shift is derived from the named paper. It is this interleaving of numerical and concrete facts with theoretical ideas that have been created and/or observed that is a typical feature in social sciences. In this case, the author has clearly shown the reader where the information is from and has 'controlled' the ideas to form a narrative that is plausible and evidence-based.
When compared to science writing, it can appear to be more wordy and this is largely due to the greater degree of interpretation that is required to use and synthesise complex ideas and concepts that have meanings that are more fluid and necessarily less precise than many scientific concepts.
Good social science essay writing is...
- filled with clearly articulated thinking from the mind of the author,
- well structured to guide the reader through the argument or narrative being created,
- focussed on answering the question or addressing the task presented,
- filled with carefully chosen evaluative language to tell the reader what is more and less significant,
- readable - sounds simple, but is difficult to achieve whilst remaining precise,
Common mistakes in social science essay writing
- Speculating beyond the limits of the evidence presented . It is important to limit your interpretation to that which is supported by existing evidence. This can be frustrating, but is essential.
- Using complex words where simpler ones will do. It is tempting to try to appear 'clever' by using 'big words', but in most cases, the simplest form of writing something is clearer. Your aim is to clearly communicate with the reader.
- Giving your personal opinion - this is rarely asked for or required.
- Not answering the question or fulfilling the task . This is possibly the most common error and largely comes from letting one's own ideas infect the essay writing process.
- Not being critical. You need to show the limits of the ideas used, how they interact, counter-arguments and include evaluation and analysis of the ideas involved. If you find yourself being descriptive, ask why.
- Using lots of direct quotes, particularly in first year writing . Quotes should be rare and used carefully because they are basically photocopying. Use your words to show you have understood the concepts involved.
Science essays are precise, logical and strictly evidence-based pieces of writing. They employ cautious language to accurately convey the level of certainty within the scientific understanding that is being discussed and are strictly objective. This means that the author has to make the effort to really understand the meaning and significance of the science being discussed.
In a science essay, your aim is to summarise and critically evaluate existing knowledge in the field. If you're doing your own research and data collection, that will be written up in a report instead.
The skill of the student is to thread together the ideas and facts they have read in a logical order that addresses the task set. When judgements are made they must be justified against the strength and significance of the theories, findings, and ideas being used. Generally, the student should not be undertaking their own interpretation of the results and facts, but instead be using those of others to create a justifiable narrative.
Example extract of a science essay
Essay title: To what extent has Ungerleider and Mishkin’s notion of separate ‘what’ and ‘where’ pathways been vindicated by neuropsychological research?
Van Polanen & Davare (2015) showed that the dorsal stream and ventral streams are not strictly independent, but do interact with each other. Interactions between dorsal and ventral streams are important for controlling complex object-oriented hand movements, especially skilled grasp. Anatomical studies have reported the existence of direct connections between dorsal and ventral stream areas. These physiological interconnections appear to gradually more active as the precision demands of the grasp become higher.
However, cognition is a dynamic process, and a flexible interactive system is required to coordinate and modulate activity across cortical networks to enable the adaptation of processing to meet variable task demands. The clear division of the dorsal and ventral processing streams is artificial, resulting from experimental situations, which do not reflect processing within the natural environment (Weiller et al., 2011). Most successful execution of visual behaviours require the complex collaboration and seamless integration of processing between the two systems.
Cloutman (2013) had stated that dorsal and ventral streams can be functionally connected in three regards: (1) the independent processing account – where they remain separate but terminate on the same brain area, (2) the feedback account – where feedback loops from locations downstream on one pathway is constantly providing input to the other and (3) the continuous cross-talk account – where information is transferred to and from the system constantly when processing.
Indeed, the authors found that there were numerous anatomical cross-connections between the two pathways, most notably between inferior parietal and inferior temporal areas. For example, ventral regions TE and TEO have been found to have extensive connectivity with dorsal stream areas, demonstrating direct projections with areas including V3A, MT, MST, FST and LIP (Baizer et al., 1991; Disler et al., 1993).
The first obvious comment is that it is not going to win a prize for literary entertainment! The writing is what one might call 'dry'. This is because it is good scientific writing. It is clearly evidence-based, and is explaining complex interrelationships in a way that is clear, leaves little for the reader to assume and that uses carefully graded language to show the significance of each fact.
The language choices are carefully aligned with the strength of the evidence that is used. For example, 'have been found to have extensive interconnectivity' is graded to convey that many connections have been detailed in the evidence presented. Similarly, 'Most successful execution of visual behaviours require the complex collaboration' is graded carefully to convey meaning to the reader, derived from the evidence used. The sample displays many examples of controlled word choices that leave the reader in no doubt regarding the meaning they are to take from reading the piece. This concise, controlled, evidence-based and carefully considered writing is typical of that found in the science essays.
Good science essay writing is...
- cohesive due to language choices,
- well-structured to help the reader follow the ideas,
- carefully planned,
- filled with carefully chosen evaluative and analytical language,
- rewarded with high grades.
Common mistakes in science essay writing
- The most common mistake is a lack of accuracy in the language used to convey meaning. This can be due to inadequate reading or a lack of understanding of the subject matter, or alternatively, due to not giving sufficient care to word choice. 'Increased greatly' is different to 'increased', which is different again to 'increased significantly'; it is very important that you understand what you are writing about in enough detail that you can accurately convey an understanding of it accurately to the reader.
- Trying to put 'you' into the essay. It is highly unlikely that you will be required to refer to your own viewpoints, opinions or lived experience within scientific essay writing. Science is impersonal, it deals in fact, and so you are a third person, impersonal author who is interpreting and curating facts and knowledge into an essay that makes sense to the reader.
- Going beyond the facts. It is rare that you will be asked to speculate in a science essay. When you are, you will be asked to extrapolate from known understanding in the relevant literature. Stick to the facts and to their meaning and significance.
- Not placing understanding in context . Each scientific idea sits within a bigger discipline and interacts with other ideas. When you write about ideas, you need to acknowledge this, unless you are specifically told to only focus on one idea. An example would be genomics of viral pathogens, which is currently a much discussed area of activity. This sits within public health, virology, and genomics disciplines, to name a few. Depending on how it is to be written about, you may need to acknowledge one or more of these larger areas.
Using evidence in essays
Sources of evidence are at the heart of essay writing. You need sources that are both usable and credible, in the specific context of your essay.
A good starting point is often the materials used in the module your essay is attached to. You can then work outwards into the wider field of study as you develop your thinking, and seek to show critical analysis, critical evaluation and critical thought in your essay.
Discover more about using evidence in your assignments:
Structuring an essay
Clear structure is a key element of an effective essay. This requires careful thought and you to make choices about the order the reader needs the information to be in.
These resources contain advice and guides to help you structure your work:
You can use these templates to help develop the structure of your essay.
Go to File > Make a copy... to create your own version of the template that you can edit.
Structuring essay introductions
Play this tutorial in full screen
- Explain the different functions that can be fulfilled by an introduction.
- Provide examples of introductions from the Faculties of Social Sciences, Sciences, and Arts and Humanities.
- Evaluating your own introductions.
- Matching elements of an introduction to a description of their purpose.
- Highlighting where evidence is used to support elements of the introduction.
- Highlighting how introductions can make clear links to the essay question.
In this section, you will learn about the functions and key components of an essay introduction.
An introduction can fulfill the functions below. These often move from a broad overview of the topic in context to a narrow focus on the scope of the discussion, key terms and organisational structure.
Click on each function to reveal more.
- It can establish the overall topic and explain the relevance and significance of the essay question to that topic
- What is the topic?
- Why is the essay question worth exploring? Why is the essay worth reading?
- How is it relevant to wider / important / current debates in the field?
- It can briefly explain the background and context and define the scope of the discussion
- Is it helpful to mention some background, historical or broader factors to give the reader some context?
- Is the discussion set in a particular context (geographical; political; economic; social; historical; legal)?
- Does the essay question set a particular scope or are you going to narrow the scope of the discussion?
- It can highlight key concepts or ideas
- Are the key concepts or ideas contentious or open to interpretation?
- Will the key concepts need to be defined and explained?
- It can signpost the broad organisational structure of the essay
- Indicate what you will cover and a brief overview of the structure of your essay
- points made should be supported by evidence
- clear links should be made to the question
Note: Introductions may not cover all of these elements, and they may not be covered in this order.
Useful Link: See the University of Manchester’s Academic Phrasebank for useful key phrases to introduce work.
In this activity, you will review and evaluate introductions you have written, identifying areas for improvement.
Find some examples of introductions you have written for essays.
- Which of the features do they use?
- Are any elements missing?
- How might you improve them?
For the following tasks, you will be using an example introduction from one of the following three faculties. Select a faculty to use an introduction from a corresponding subject.
In this activity, you will look at examples of introductions, identifying key features and their purpose.
Here is an example question:
Sociology: Examine some of the factors that influence procrastination in individuals, exploring and evaluating their impact. Identify an area(s) for future research, justifying your choice.
And here is a sample introduction written for this question:
Procrastination is a complex concept which manifests itself in different types of behaviour yet is experienced by individuals universally. A useful definition of procrastination is ‘the voluntary delay of important, necessary, and intended action despite knowing there will be negative consequences for this delay’ (Ferrari and Tice, 2000, Sirois and Pychyl, 2013 cited in Sirois and Giguère, 2018). The influences on procrastination are multi-faceted, which makes their study incredibly challenging. Researchers are now producing a body of work dedicated to procrastination; including meta-analyses such as those by Varvaricheva (2010) and Smith (2015). Influences on procrastination can be considered in two categories, factors with external, environmental, sources and factors with internal sources due to individual differences. However, these external and environmental categories are not completely independent of one another and this essay will seek to explore the complexities of this interdependence. This essay will discuss how different factors influence individual procrastination, by first examining how gender, age and personality affect the procrastination trait under internal factors, before discussing the external factors; how task aversiveness, deadlines and the internet affect procrastination behavioural outcomes. This will be followed by a brief exploration of how the two interact. Finally there a number of gaps in the literature, which suggest avenues for future research.
Click on the Next arrow to match each section of this introduction with a description of its purpose.
Procrastination is a complex concept which manifests itself in different types of behaviour yet is experienced by individuals universally.
Signposts the broad organisational structure of the essay
Narrows the topic and explains its relevance or significance to current debates
Defines the scope of the discussion
Establishes the topic and explains its broad significance
Defines key concepts
That's not the right answer
Have another go.
Yes, that's the right answer!
A useful definition of procrastination is ‘the voluntary delay of important, necessary, and intended action despite knowing there will be negative consequences for this delay’ (Ferrari and Tice, 2000, Sirois and Pychyl, 2013 cited in Sirois and Giguère, 2018).
The influences on procrastination are multi-faceted, which makes their study incredibly challenging. Researchers are now producing a body of work dedicated to procrastination; including meta-analyses such as those by Varvaricheva (2010) and Smith (2015).
Influences on procrastination can be considered in two categories, factors with external, environmental, sources and factors with internal sources due to individual differences. However, these external and environmental categories are not completely independent of one another and this essay will seek to explore the complexities of this interdependence.
This essay will discuss how different factors influence individual procrastination, by first examining how gender, age and personality affect the procrastination trait under internal factors, before discussing the external factors; how task aversiveness, deadlines and the internet affect procrastination behavioural outcomes. This will be followed by a brief exploration of how the two interact. Finally there a number of gaps in the literature, which suggest avenues for future research.
In this activity, you will identify how introductions make links to the question.
Here is the question again:
Click to highlight the places where the introduction below links closely to the question.
Have another go. You can remove the highlighting on sections by clicking on them again.
Those are the parts of the introduction that link closely to the question.
In this activity, you will consider how introductions make use of supporting evidence.
- Define key concepts
- Establish the topic and explain its relevance or significance
Click to highlight the places where the introduction below supports points with evidence .
Those are the parts of the introduction that use evidence to support points.
Congratulations! You've made it through the introduction!
Click on the icon at the bottom to restart the tutorial.
Nursing: Drawing on your own experiences and understanding gained from the module readings, discuss and evaluate the values, attributes and behaviours of a good nurse.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) (2015) Code states that a nurse must always put the care of patients first, be open and honest, and be empathic towards patients and their families. Student nurses are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the need for these key skills even at the interview stage and then gain the experiences to develop certain fundamental attributes, values and behaviours in order to advance through the stages of nursing. This assignment will highlight a variety of values, attributes and behaviours a good nurse should have, focusing on courage in particular. Views of courage from political, professional, and social perspectives will be considered, alongside a comparison between the attribute courage and a student nurse’s abilities. This will be demonstrated using observations from practice, appropriate theorists such as Sellman (2011), Lachman (2010) and philosophers including Aristotle and Ross (2011).
The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) (2015) Code states that a nurse must always put the care of patients first, be open and honest, and be empathic towards patients and their families.
Explains the context to the discussion, with reference to the workplace
Defines the scope of the discussion by narrowing it
Defines relevant key concepts or ideas
Student nurses are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the need for these key skills even at the interview stage and then gain the experiences to develop certain fundamental attributes, values and behaviours in order to advance through the stages of nursing.
This assignment will highlight a variety of values, attributes and behaviours a good nurse should have, focusing on courage in particular.
Views of courage from political, professional, and social perspectives will be considered, alongside a comparison between the attribute courage and a student nurse’s abilities. This will be demonstrated using observations from practice, appropriate theorists such as Sellman (2011), Lachman (2010) and philosophers including Aristotle and Ross (2011).
- Define relevant key concepts or ideas
- Signpost the broad organisational structure of the essay, making a clear link to the question
Archaeology: Explain some of the ways in which Star Carr has been re-interpreted since the initial discovery in the 1940s. Briefly evaluate how the results of recent excavations further dramatically affect our understanding of this site.
Star Carr has become the ‘best known’ Mesolithic site in Britain (Conneller, 2007, 3), in part because of its high levels of artefact preservation due to waterlogging, as the site was once on the Eastern edge of the ancient Lake Flixton, close to a small peninsula (Taylor, 2007). First excavated by Grahame Clark in 1949-51, there was a further invasive investigation in 1985 and 1989, again in 2006-8, and 2010. An impressive haul of artefacts have been excavated over the years, including bone and antler tools, barbed points, flint tools and microliths, and enigmatic red deer frontlets (Milner et al., 2016). Since Clark’s first published report in 1954 there have been numerous re-examinations of the subject, including by Clark himself in 1974. Resulting interpretations of the site have been much debated; it has been classified as ‘in situ settlement, a refuse dump, and the result of culturally prescribed acts of deposition’ (Taylor et al., 2017). This discussion will explore the ways in which the site has been variously re-interpreted during this time period, and consider how more recent study of the site has prompted new perspectives.
Star Carr has become the ‘best known’ Mesolithic site in Britain (Conneller, 2007, 3), in part because of its high levels of artefact preservation due to waterlogging, as the site was once on the Eastern edge of the ancient Lake Flixton, close to a small peninsula (Taylor, 2007).
Explains the background to the discussion and its significance
Establishes the topic
Explains the scope of the topic and highlights key interpretations
First excavated by Grahame Clark in 1949-51, there was a further invasive investigation in 1985 and 1989, again in 2006-8, and 2010. An impressive haul of artefacts have been excavated over the years, including bone and antler tools, barbed points, flint tools and microliths, and enigmatic red deer frontlets (Milner et al., 2016).
Since Clark’s first published report in 1954 there have been numerous re-examinations of the subject, including by Clark himself in 1974. Resulting interpretations of the site have been much debated; it has been classified as ‘in situ settlement, a refuse dump, and the result of culturally prescribed acts of deposition’ (Taylor et al., 2017).
This discussion will explore the ways in which the site has been variously re-interpreted during this time period, and consider how more recent study of the site has prompted new perspectives.
- Establish the topic, explains the background and significance
- Explains the significance of the topic
- Highlights key interpretations
Structuring essay conclusions
In this section you will consider the different functions a conclusion can fulfil, look at examples of conclusions, and identify key features and their purpose.
A conclusion can fulfil the functions below. These often move from a narrow focus on the outcomes of the discussion to a broad view of the topic's relevance to the wider context.
Summary of the main points in relation to the question
- This might involve restating the scope of the discussion and clarifying if there any limitations of your discussion or of the evidence provided
- This may include synthesising the key arguments and weighing up the evidence
Arrive at a judgement or conclusion
- Having weighed up the evidence, come to a judgement about the strength of the arguments
Restate the relevance or significance of the topic to the wider context
- Make it clear why your conclusions - which are based on your discussion through the essay - are important or significant in relation to wider/current debates in the field
Make recommendations or indicate the direction for further study, if applicable
- Recommendations may be for further research or for practice/policy
- What further research/investigation would be necessary to overcome the limitations above?
- What are the implications of your findings for policy/practice?
Note: Conclusions may not cover all of these elements, and they may not be covered in this order.
- Clear links should be made to the question
- Do not make new points in the conclusion
Useful Link: See the University of Manchester’s Academic Phrasebank for useful key phrases to conclude work.
In this activity, you will look at an example conclusion, identifying key features and their purpose.
In this task, you will be using an example conclusion from one of the following three faculties. Select a faculty to use a conclusion from a corresponding subject.
And here is a sample conclusion written for the question:
In conclusion procrastination is a complex psychological phenomenon that is influenced by a number of factors, both internal and external. However it has a hugely multifaceted nature and the factors that influence it are not truly independent of one another. Character traits and the environmental impact on behaviour are interrelated; for example similar procrastination outcomes may arise from a highly conscientious individual in a distracting environment and an individual low in conscientiousness in a non-distracting setting. This means that future studies need to be very considered in their approach to separating, or controlling for, these factors. These further studies are important and urgently needed as the impact of procrastination on society is far-reaching. For instance: individuals delay contributing to a pension, meaning that old age may bring poverty for many; couples put off entering into formal contracts with each other, potentially increasing disputes over child custody and inheritance; and indeed women delay starting a family and increasing age leads to decreased fertility, thus leading to higher societal costs of providing assisted fertilisation. Furthermore one could expand the scope to include the effects on children of being born to older parents (such as risks of inherited genetic defects). These are themselves wide fields of study and are mentioned merely to illustrate the importance of further research. Until the nature of influences on procrastination is fully understood, our development of approaches to reduce procrastination is likely to be hindered.
Click on the Next arrow to match each section of the conclusion with a description of its purpose.
In conclusion procrastination is a complex psychological phenomenon that is influenced by a number of factors, both internal and external.
Synthesises the key arguments and weighs up the evidence
Restates the scope of the discussion
Indicates the direction and significance for further study
Summary of the main point in relation to the question
However it has a hugely multifaceted nature and the factors that influence it are not truly independent of one another.
Character traits and the environmental impact on behaviour are interrelated; for example similar procrastination outcomes may arise from a highly conscientious individual in a distracting environment and an individual low in conscientiousness in a non-distracting setting.
This means that future studies need to be very considered in their approach to separating, or controlling for, these factors. These further studies are important and urgently needed as the impact of procrastination on society is far-reaching. For instance: individuals delay contributing to a pension, meaning that old age may bring poverty for many; couples put off entering into formal contracts with each other, potentially increasing disputes over child custody and inheritance; and indeed women delay starting a family and increasing age leads to decreased fertility, thus leading to higher societal costs of providing assisted fertilisation. Furthermore one could expand the scope to include the effects on children of being born to older parents (such as risks of inherited genetic defects). These are themselves wide fields of study and are mentioned merely to illustrate the importance of further research.
Until the nature of influences on procrastination is fully understood, our development of approaches to reduce procrastination is likely to be hindered.
Opportunities for nurses to display courage occur every day, although it is at the nurse’s discretion whether they act courageously or not. As discussed in this assignment, courage is likewise an important attribute for a good nurse to possess and could be the difference between good and bad practice. It is significantly important that nurses speak up about bad practice to minimize potential harm to patients. However nurses do not need to raise concerns in order to be courageous, as nurses must act courageously every day. Professional bodies such as the RCN and NMC recognise that courage is important by highlighting this attribute in the RCN principles. The guidelines for raising concerns unite the attribute courage with the RCN’s principles of nursing practice by improving nurses’ awareness of how to raise concerns. Lachman’s (2010) CODE is an accessible model that modern nurses could use as a strategy to help them when raising concerns. Although students find it difficult to challenge more senior nursing professionals, they could also benefit from learning the acronym to help them as they progress through their career. For nursing students, courage could be seen as a learning development of the ability to confront their fear of personal emotional consequences from participating in what they believe to be the right action. On the whole a range of values, attributes and behaviours are needed in order to be a good nurse, including being caring, honest, compassionate, reliable and professional. These qualities are all important, but courage is an attribute that is widely overlooked for nurses to possess but vitally fundamental.
Opportunities for nurses to display courage occur every day, although it is at the nurse’s discretion whether they act courageously or not. As discussed in this assignment, courage is likewise an important attribute for a good nurse to possess and could be the difference between good and bad practice. It is significantly important that nurses speak up about bad practice to minimize potential harm to patients. However nurses do not need to raise concerns in order to be courageous, as nurses must act courageously every day.
Arrives at an overall judgement or conclusion
Make recommendations for practice
Professional bodies such as the RCN and NMC recognise that courage is important by highlighting this attribute in the RCN principles. The guidelines for raising concerns unite the attribute courage with the RCN’s principles of nursing practice by improving nurses’ awareness of how to raise concerns. Lachman’s (2010) CODE is an accessible model that modern nurses could use as a strategy to help them when raising concerns.
Although students find it difficult to challenge more senior nursing professionals, they could also benefit from learning the acronym to help them as they progress through their career. For nursing students, courage could be seen as a learning development of the ability to confront their fear of personal emotional consequences from participating in what they believe to be the right action.
On the whole a range of values, attributes and behaviours are needed in order to be a good nurse, including being caring, honest, compassionate, reliable and professional. These qualities are all important, but courage is an attribute that is widely overlooked for nurses to possess but vitally fundamental.
Star Carr is one of the most fascinating and informative Mesolithic sites in the world. What was once considered to be the occasional winter settlement of a group of hunter-gatherer families, now appears to be a site of year-round settlement occupied over centuries. Since its initial discovery and excavation in the late 1940s and early 1950s, a great deal of further data has been collected, altering interpretations made by the primary excavators who pioneered analysis of the site. What once was considered a typical textbook Mesolithic hunting encampment is now theorized to be a site of ritual importance. The site has produced unique findings such as a multitude of barbed points, twenty one antlered headdresses and the earliest known example of a permanent living structure in Britain. These factors will combine to immortalise the site, even when its potential for further research is thoroughly decayed, which tragically could be very soon (Taylor et al. 2010).
Star Carr is one of the most fascinating and informative Mesolithic sites in the world.
Synthesise the main points
Limitations and implications for future research
Restate the significance of the topic to the wider context
What was once considered to be the occasional winter settlement of a group of hunter-gatherer families, now appears to be a site of year-round settlement occupied over centuries. Since its initial discovery and excavation in the late 1940s and early 1950s, a great deal of further data has been collected, altering interpretations made by the primary excavators who pioneered analysis of the site. What once was considered a typical textbook Mesolithic hunting encampment is now theorized to be a site of ritual importance. The site has produced unique findings such as a multitude of barbed points, twenty one antlered headdresses and the earliest known example of a permanent living structure in Britain.
These factors will combine to immortalise the site, even when its potential for further research is thoroughly decayed, which tragically could be very soon (Taylor et al. 2010).
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Other support for essay writing
The general writing pages of this site offer guidance that can be applied to all types of writing, including essays. Also check your department guidance and VLE sites for tailored resources.
Other useful resources for essay writing:
Appointments and workshops
There is lots of support and advice for essay writing. This is likely to be in your department, and particularly from your academic supervisor and module tutors, but there is also central support, which you can access using the links below.
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How to Write an Academic Essay
Last Updated: August 17, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Megaera Lorenz, PhD . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 769,240 times.
Being able to write a strong academic essay is a critical skill for college and university students. It is also a skill that will continue to serve you if you plan to go into an academic career, or any field that involves persuasive or analytical writing. In order to write a successful essay, start by following any assigned instructions carefully. Before you start writing, research your topic using good, reputable sources. Organize your essay clearly, and support your arguments with strong examples and evidence. Once your essay is drafted, make sure you’re handing in your best possible work by checking it over thoroughly and making any necessary edits.
Following the Instructions for Your Assignment
- Does your essay need to answer a specific question or questions?
- Is your essay supposed to present a critical analysis of a source , such as a book, poem, film, or work of art?
- Is the objective to demonstrate your ability to present an original argument based on research ?
- Have you been asked to compare and contrast two ideas, events, or literary or artistic works?
- If the formatting requirements aren’t on your assignment sheet, check the course syllabus or ask your instructor.
- Essays on subjects in the social sciences usually use APA-style citations .
- Essays on subjects in the humanities, such as literature or history, typically use MLA or Chicago Style .
- Essays on medical or health-related topics may use the AMA style, while other sciences have their own discipline-specific styles.
- The basic rules for most common citation styles are readily available online. For more detailed information, look for a style guide in your school library or bookstore.
Researching Your Topic
- You may need to log in with your student ID or institutional ID to get access to many online scholarly databases, or access them through a school or library computer.
- Another good way to start building your bibliography is to look at the reference list on an introductory overview of your subject, such as an encyclopedia entry.
- Your instructor, or your school’s reference librarian, may also be able to recommend some good sources on your topic.
- While Wikipedia is often unreliable and is not considered an appropriate source for most academic writing, it can be a good starting point for research. Check the “References” section of the Wikipedia article on your topic for useful sources.
- Where is the author getting their information? Do they provide credible sources?
- Does the author provide convincing evidence to back up their arguments?
- Does the author have any obvious biases or agendas that affect the way they present or interpret their information?
- When you look at secondary sources, such as scholarly papers or news articles, you are seeing the data filtered through someone else’s perspective. Looking at primary data allows you to interpret the evidence for yourself.
- Your instructor should specify whether you need to incorporate primary sources into your research, and if so, how to find and utilize them. If you’re not sure, ask.
- Are the author’s credentials given? Is the author qualified to write on the subject?
- Does the author state where they got their information? Are you able to verify the sources?
- Is the article written in an objective, unbiased manner?
- Is the article written for an academic audience? Is the content intended to be educational?
- How does the URL end? Generally, sites that end in .edu, .org, or .gov are more reputable than sites that end in .com.
Constructing Your Essay
- The thesis should be included toward the end of your introduction along with a brief outline of the evidence you will use to support your thesis.
- An example of a thesis statement is, “A growing body of evidence suggests that ‘Ode to a Tufted Titmouse’ may in fact have been written by Huffbottom’s lesser-known contemporary, Georgina Roodles. In addition to the poem’s numerous stylistic parallels to Roodles’ known works, private letters between Roodles and her brother demonstrate that she was keenly interested in ornithology at the time that ‘Tufted Titmouse’ was published.”
- Point 1, with supporting evidence
- Point 2, with supporting evidence
- Point 3, with supporting evidence
- Your refutation of the counter-argument(s)
- Each paragraph should include a “topic sentence” that clearly states the main point of the paragraph. For example: “The poem is characterized by several stylistic features that occur in numerous examples of Roodles’ work, including alliteration, humorous synecdoche, and malapropisms.”
- For example, “Compare the alliterative phrase ‘timid and tremulous twittering,’ which appears in the first stanza of ‘Ode to a Tufted Titmouse,’ with ‘mild and melodious meowing,’ which appears in the second stanza of Roodles’ 1904 poem, ‘Sadie: A Cat.’ By contrast, alliteration is almost completely absent from the contemporary works of Reginald Huffbottom.”
- “In 1910, an anonymous poem entitled ‘Ode to a Tufted Titmouse’ appeared in the Winter issue of Bertram’s Bogus Ballads Quarterly . The poem was eventually republished in a compilation edited by D. Travers (1934, p. 13-15), where it was attributed to Reginald Huffbottom. Several literary critics have since questioned Huffbottom’s authorship of the poem. This essay will utilize a combination of stylistic analysis and evidence from private correspondence to attempt to identify the true author of ‘Tufted Titmouse.’”
- “In addition to alliteration, ‘Ode to a Tufted Titmouse’ contains several examples of synecdoche, another stylistic device that occurs in several of Roodles’ earlier works.”
- Always make a clear distinction between paraphrasing (putting someone else’s statement into your own words) and quoting directly (using someone else’s exact words).
- If you are paraphrasing, rephrase your source’s statement or idea using your own words, but identify the source with a footnote or in-text citation. E.g.: Percival Bingley states that ‘Ode to a Tufted Titmouse’ was most stylistically similar to Roodles’ earliest work, and was unlikely to have been written later than 1906 (2015, p. 357).
- For short direct quotations, put the passage you’re quoting in quotation marks (“”), and identify the source immediately after the quote with a footnote or in-text citation. E.g.: In May 1908, Roodles stated in a letter to her brother that she found it “quite impossible to get a good rhyme for Bay-breasted Warbler” (Twistleton, 2010, p. 78).
- Longer “block quotations” (of 3 lines or more) should not be put in quotes. Instead, every line of the quote should be indented from the left-hand side.
- “Vogle has argued against Roodles as a likely author of ‘Tufted Titmose’ based on the fact that none of her known works contain references to birds (2007, p. 73). However, several of Roodles’ letters to her brother, written between 1906 and 1909, refer to ‘those blasted bird poems I’ve been working on’ (Twistleton, 2010, pgs. 23-24, 35, and 78).”
- Don’t just rehash what you wrote in your introduction. Use a few sentences to reflect on the significance of your argument, and how it might affect future studies of this topic.
- The name of the author.
- The title of the work.
- The name of the publisher, and (usually) the place of publication.
- The date of the publication.
Polishing Your Essay
- Is your writing concise? Are there any words or sentences that you could cut out?
- Is your writing clear? Does everything make sense?
- Is the essay well-organized? Is there anything that would flow better if it was arranged in a different order?
- Do you need to make the transitions between sections flow more smoothly?
- For example, “Roodles’ early work is pretty awful compared to her later stuff!” would not be appropriate in an academic paper.
- Instead, write something like, “Roodles’ poems published before 1910 show a less nuanced understanding of verse and meter than her later poems.”
- Make sure to save a copy of your previous draft separately, in case you make any major revisions and then change your mind.
- Reading out loud can help you catch problems that your eye might miss when you’re reading silently.
- Do not mess with the font and/or margins to make your paper look longer. Some instructors may actually deduct points for attempts to make the paper look longer. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Use formal English. Slang, colloquialisms, and chatty language are not appropriate for an academic paper. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Manage your time. Unless you are good at writing quick papers under stress, give yourself plenty of uninterrupted time to complete your assignment. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Do not plagiarize. If you use the words or ideas of others and don't indicate where they came from, you're misleading your readers. It's dishonest, a form of cheating, and it's usually easy to see. Plagiarism can have serious consequences for your academic career. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1
- If you’re concerned about accidental plagiarism, use a website like Turnitin.com to check your work before you hand it in. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/how-read-assignment
- ↑ https://pitt.libguides.com/citationhelp
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/research_papers/choosing_a_topic.html
- ↑ http://www.easybib.com/guides/students/writing-guide/ii-research/a-finding-sources/
- ↑ https://www.utep.edu/extendeduniversity/utepconnect/blog/march-2017/4-ways-to-differentiate-a-good-source-from-a-bad-source.html
- ↑ https://www.library.georgetown.edu/tutorials/research-guides/evaluating-internet-content
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/thesis_statement_tips.html
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/essay-outline/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
- ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/using-evidence.html
- ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/introductions-conclusions
- ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/transitions/
- ↑ http://www.plagiarism.org/article/how-do-i-cite-sources
- ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/counterarguments
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/conclusions/
- ↑ https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/taking-breaks/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
- ↑ https://opentextbc.ca/buildingblocks/chapter/tone-and-style/
- ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/writingforsuccess/chapter/8-4-revising-and-editing/
- ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/editing-and-proofreading-techniques
About This Article
To write an academic essay, start by coming up with a 1-2 sentence thesis statement that will be the main topic or argument in your essay. Then, find a variety of scholarly sources that support your thesis and disprove any counterarguments. Once you've found sources, include quotes, facts, and statistics from them in your essay. Make sure you cite any sources you use and create a bibliography at the end of your paper. For tips on researching your essay topic, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Writing an Academic Essay
The essay is an extremely common type of writing in academic English. Essays are viewed as having a crucial role in developing critical thinking and writing skills. Its organization and structure are different from that of other common types of writing such as reports. Additionally, it has features which are different from those expected in academic writing in other languages. If you are being asked to write an essay, it is important that you understand what a reader of academic English expects.
Writing an Academic Essay Luke Bailey, lecturer in English, Karlstad University
You'll need a cover sheet for your essay and you can find it here.
More on Academic Writing
Academic Writing: A Guide to Tertiary Level Writing (Massey University) A complete guide that provides an in-depth discussion of essay writing and, additionally, an excellent overview of the differences between academic writing and writing in other contexts as well as a detailed discussion of report writing.