how to write a good academic essay
how to write a good academic essay
Next, you should define your central argument or thesis statement. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. An example of a thesis statement from an essay on Braille could look like this:
The essay starts with a hook that grabs your reader’s interest.
The paragraph goes on. But as you can see, Chopin’s novel (the topic) is introduced in the context of the critical and moral controversy its publication engendered.
Does the business of the beginning have to be addressed in a particular order? No, but the order should be logical. Usually, for instance, the question or statement that focuses the essay comes at the end of the beginning, where it serves as the jumping-off point for the middle, or main body, of the essay. Topic and context are often intertwined, but the context may be established before the particular topic is introduced. In other words, the order in which you accomplish the business of the beginning is flexible and should be determined by your purpose.
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 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.
Academic essay writing is a style that anyone can learn to produce, once they know the basics of writing an essay. An academic essay should provide a solid, debatable thesis that is then supported by relevant evidence—whether that be from other sources or from one’s own research. Most research follows a standard set of guidelines. Remembering some basic principles for academic essay writing will allow you to create valuable, persuasive papers, even if you’re under a time crunch.
Grammar, style, and punctuation are incredibly important if you want your research to be understood and taken seriously. Before writing an essay, make sure you have a solid understanding of basic grammar. Grammar basics include verb and subject agreement, proper article and pronoun usage, and well-formed sentence structures. Make sure you know the proper uses for the most common forms of punctuation. Be mindful of your comma usage and know when a period is needed. Finally, in academic essay writing, voice is important. Try to use the active voice instead of the passive whenever possible (e.g., “this study found” instead of “it was found by this study”). This will make the tone of your essay stronger. Ensure your language is concise. Avoid transition words that don’t add anything to the sentence and unnecessary wordiness that detracts from your argument.
Instead, you should exchange essays with each other once you are both done with the first draft. It is immensely difficult to proofread your own work – one goes blind to minor grammatical issues in a text after reading it repeatedly for days on end. It is similarly easy to overlook gaps in flow and logic of argument. Having a friend read through the work will address both of these issues, assuming that they, too, are high achieving.
To some, essay writing comes naturally. But for many, knowing how to answer an essay question in a way that will score high marks is something that must be learnt, and practised regularly. You can take comfort in knowing too that, once you learn how to write a great essay, you can apply the same techniques and formulas to almost any piece of academic writing, whether it’s a standard essay, a reflective essay, a dissertation or thesis, a course assignment, coursework or something else.