Did you get an academic essay writing assignment? Are you finding it difficult to pen down your thoughts? Writing a formal essay can be scary. Considering the amount of research and the number of rules, it can be challenging to start the article. And also tough to complete it within the deadline.
However, essays are one of the common assignments that students regularly receive across various topics. Essay writing is something that students are aware of since schooling. However, an academic essay that is part of university education is more structured and concise.
Given the complexities of this form of essay writing, it is also used as a selection criterion to provide admissions. Therefore, we can safely state that learning to write this type of article is crucial for every student, irrespective of their study area.
But before you learn about academic essay writing, you must have the knowledge of how to write an essay. So check out the below vlog
Do not fear if you have no clue how to write an academic essay. This article will cover the step-by-step procedure on how to write an essay in easy-to-follow steps. But before that, let us know what academic essay writing is.
What is an academic essay?
An academic essay is basically a structured form of writing that is part of the school and university curriculum. It is used to present new information or use existing facts to deliver particular ideas.
Why are academic essay writing assignments given to students?
Generally, this type of assignment is given to strengthen the student’s analytical thinking. It serves as a communication tool that conveys the knowledge acquired by the student on the given topic. It is used to test the student’s ability to analyze and interpret complex information.
Now that you know the importance of academic essays, let us guide you through writing them.
Determine the Essay type
Before you start writing, determine what type of essay you want to write unless otherwise specified by your professor.
Types of academic essay writing
There are various types of essays that are in practice. Nevertheless, we have five main categories that are widely in use. They are:
- Expository: You can use this type of essay when you want to analyze or explain something. This essay type requires massive time because of the significant volume.
- Descriptive: This type of essay is well-suited for the literature topic, wherein the writer makes use of analogies, metaphors, similes, allegories, and personifications to describe the subject vividly.
- Narrative: Use this essay type to present an overview of the subject. It is perfect for narrating a personal experience, an event, or a situation, as it is akin to storytelling. Ensure you have a creative approach when choosing this type.
- Compare and contrast: Use this type of essay to explore the differences/similarities between various subjects/events. And also to explain more than one topic at a time.
- Persuasive/Argumentative: You may use a persuasive essay when you want to convince your point of view to the reader. Meanwhile, you can use it when you want to state the thesis and defend it with arguments and evidence.
Apart from the above four categories, there are other types – Admission/Scholarship essay, informative essay, process analysis essay, and cultural identity essay.
A step-by-step guide to writing an academic essay
Writing an essay can be time-consuming and distressing. However, with the correct information and tips, preparing and writing the article becomes a lot easier.
4 stages of the academic essay writing process
We can divide the academic essay writing process into four main stages, such as
Both research and planning are done before writing, and it can be further divided into four steps:
- Topic selection: Select a topic of your interest if it is not given. Once you select a topic, narrow it down to make your article more specific since narrowing the issues keeps your research and ideas focused.
For example, The impact of social media is a broad topic. However, The impact of social media on today’s teenagers is a narrower version of the previous one.
- Writing a thesis statement: A thesis statement conveys the main point you must prove in your essay. Therefore, develop a thesis statement so that it provides a preview of your essay topic.
Ensure your thesis statement is crisp, concise, and collates all your ideas and arguments together in one or two sentences.
For example, the thesis statement for the topic – Impact of social media on today’s teenagers, will be – Even though social media has revolutionized the way people socialize online, it has both positive and negative impacts on teenagers.
Tips for writing a solid thesis statement
- Question yourself about what the topic is all about and what is it trying to prove?
- Formulate the ideas behind the thesis in a few sentences.
- Provide insight and direction to the reader regarding what your topic is all about in the thesis statement. Introduce the reader to your subject—a hint about your arguments.
- Ensure you have enough supporting evidence/facts that can back up your thesis statement.
- Find credible sources: Once you have finalized the thesis statement, start researching. Collect data and facts from credible sources to back up the points that you present in your essay. It is better to have 2-3 credible sources unless your instructor says otherwise.
Your sources can include – books, articles, academic journals, online information (websites)
- Create an outline: Start planning how you are going to present your views after sufficient research. Create an outline that acts as a map to your writing process and helps you organize and structure your thoughts sensibly.
Formulate at least three arguments to support your article while writing an outline. Note that these arguments will form the body of the article.
For example, for the thesis statement – Even though social media has revolutionized the way people socialize online, it has both positive and negative impacts on teenagers. The possible arguments will include the positive and negative effects of social media on teenagers.
The possible arguments could be –
Social media can impact education in a positive manner.
Social media affects the mental health of teenagers negatively.
Social media supports instant communication and helps in spreading the news.
Social media is a medium to propagate false news.
Writing the academic essay
It is natural to follow a structure or format while writing content. However, there is no rigid structure or form that is common to all types of essays. Nevertheless, a basic academic essay format is followed by all writers that include three essential sections. And they are the same regardless of the length of the essay.
The three sections are:
Each of these parts serves a distinct purpose in the essay.
The introduction is the first and foremost section of the essay. It plays a critical role in shaping the entire article and provides an overview of the topic. As a first paragraph, it is used to spark interest in the minds of readers. The thesis statement, a crucial element, is also part of the introductory paragraph with arguments.
Tip: Include the thesis statement in the last part of the introduction to blending it with the essay’s body. Do not add any evidence or findings in the first paragraph.
The body section of the article is where you present the arguments/evidence to back up the thesis. The number of paragraphs in this section will depend on the word length and the article’s scope.
The most common form of academic writing essay comprises three body paragraphs. However, there is no restriction on the number of paras. Nonetheless, each section must be meaningful and include:
- Topic sentence: This is a sentence that expresses the main idea of the paragraph. Anything you want to convey or prove in the paragraph acts as the basis for the topic sentence.
- Supporting sentences: As the name says, the supporting sentences provide support and sources to back up the topic sentence.
- Concluding or transition sentence: This is the ending sentence of the paragraph. You may include transition words or phrases here to ensure a smooth flow between paragraphs. If there is no subsequent paragraph, end the paragraph with a proper conclusion.
Tip: 1) Place your strongest argument in the first and last paragraph.
- Every paragraph must have a unique claim/argument that supports the thesis, thus, never repeat the arguments.
- Structure your paragraphs in such a way that there is a smooth transition between paragraphs and proper links. Make sure there is no confusion to the reader while transiting between paragraphs.
The last section of the essay is the conclusion, where you wrap everything up to give a proper and meaningful ending. It would be best to summarize all your findings and arguments here.
Start your paragraph by restating the thesis in different words. However, do not present any new ideas in the concluding section. Finally, wrap up your findings in one final sentence.
Tip: Your final sentence must convince the reader that you have proved the thesis well.
Take a break after completing your essay to clear your mind and come back to revise the article.
Revision is an essential step that provides crucial insights which you missed while writing. Moreover, revision helps to make effective edits and modifications. Changes that improve the paper are done in this step. Things such as adding extra information, reordering sentences, or deleting sentences that add no value are mainly done.
Check the spellings and punctuation to ensure they are correct. Take the help of a friend to revise and review your work.
Tip: Read your essay aloud to make sure there is clarity and flow in your writing.
Avoid phrases like, ‘To sum it up’ or ‘In conclusion’ in this section.
Academic essay checklist
Once you have written and revised your essay, give a final once-over to your article. So that you can be sure that have covered everything essential to the paper. Please check whether you have the following in place:
- The title of the essay is informative and catchy.
- The essay abides by the word length.
- The Introduction section is exciting and informative.
- The thesis statement is enclosed in the introduction.
- Each paragraph has a topic sentence.
- There is a clear transition between paragraphs.
- The concluding section of the article has no new ideas or arguments.
- The conclusion connects arguments well and summarizes the entire essay succinctly.
- Citations are provided for every quote used from an external source.
- A bibliography or reference page is added at the end that lists all the references used.
- Citations and references are formatted according to citation style (APA, MLA, etc.)
- The essay follows all formatting guidelines (numbering format, spacing, etc.)
- Ensure that your academic writing style is formal throughout the article.
- Keep your writing objective.
- Avoid contractions and colloquial words or phrases.
- Do not plagiarise and give credit where it is due.
- Go for multiple revisions to ensure your writing is clear, crisp, and concise.
- Do not force yourself to write the essay in order. It is alright to start your essay from the middle.
Writing an academic essay may seem intimidating, as a lot goes into writing a successful article. With the help of our writing tips and essay writing guide, it will be easier to write the essay. First and foremost, spend time on sound research, so you have everything required when you start writing.
Also, follow the writing rules to avoid possible errors. The academic essay format is different from business essay writing and other writing formats. Maintain an appropriate academic writing style throughout the article and make sure that you abide by the rules.
Research, plan, write and revise. Always start working on your essay well before the due date. That way, you have enough time to make the required corrections before submission.