Academic Essay Writing: Basic Guidelines

There is hardly any student, who was not assigned to write an academic essay at college or university. This task has to be completed anyway despite the specialty you major in. That is why it is important to learn how to write an academic essay and following these guidelines it will never become a challenge for you.

academic essay writing basic guidelines

1. Keep the structure

The structure of an essay usually consists of an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Sometimes the main body can have several key points to describe, so it can be divided into several paragraphs. Each component of an essay has its peculiarities:

  • Introduction: this part can be compared with the map that displays the key points of the whole essay. It should begin with an orientation to lead the reader into the essay topic. Then, the writer should mention the thesis statement and present a short outline of the essay argument.
  • Body: it is a part of an essay that should present a clear answer to the set question. It may include several paragraphs each of which should provide evidence to the main argument and the first sentence of every paragraph should outline its main idea. At the end of each paragraph, it is necessary to show how significant the idea of the main essay argument is.
  • Conclusion: this essay part aims at restating the main argument. It summarizes strong features of the argument as well as can focus on the significance of the findings, writer’s implications, suggestions etc.

2. Use formal writing

Academic writing is always formal, so it is important to consider the language you use. The main features of formal style are:

  • More complex sentences that introduce the point, elaborate on it and make conclusions;
  • Objectiveness of the information presented. Absence of emotive punctuation;
  • No contracted word forms. Only full words are used in formal writing;
  • Use of the third person.

Here are two examples of both styles:

Formal: In accordance with Mr. Smith they have found an interesting solution for this puzzle.

Informal: That guy told me that he’d solved the puzzle as fast as a hare.

3. Use of Examples

The argument seems much more convincing with the examples provided. It is very important to find the most suitable examples that support the argument and look highly persuasive. The number of examples must be reasonable because the essay can remind rewriting of the another source. Attention should be also paid to transitions between examples for them to make the text smooth and coherent.

4. Spelling

Writing an academic essay one should pay attention to spelling. There is nothing more disappointing to see a well-structured and interesting essay that has a variety of spelling mistakes. They only spoil the impressions about the text and are a reason to give a lower grade. That is why it is advisable to check spelling using the latest software or online tools to avoid troubles.

5. Quotations

It is always nice to support the argument using quotations of reputable people. It proves that you have researched the topic well and are able to pick up the most important phrases to provide evidence. The only thing is the fact that the number of quotes must be not big. Only 1 or 2 quotations per the whole essay are enough.

The experts suggest including quotations into an essay if:

  • The message of powerful and memorable;
  • You want to confirm your argument credibility;
  • The further analysis of the passage is required;
  • You wish to contradict or argue with the writer’s viewpoint.

In any of these cases, you should identify the source to sound convincing.

6. References

When you finish the essay, you should compile your list of references. It consists of the sources mentioned at the end of the essay that were cited in the text. It must be full and accurate as it is written with the purpose to help your readers to follow up on the works you have mentioned in your paper.

7. Originality

As soon as you complete your essay it is of utmost importance to check it for originality. Plagiarism is a very serious issue that brings about many troubles to students. To avoid being punished of plagiarizing each written essay must be checked against similarities by plagiarism detection software (for example, TurnItIn, Noplag). Even if you are more than confident that you have not plagiarized, you can still suffer from such issue as unintentional or accidental plagiarism, so a simple check is a necessity.

8. Proofreading

The final stage of essay writing is proofreading of the whole text. Reading the essay aloud to someone you can listen to one’s point of view on your creation. When you read to yourself, you can notice any spelling, punctuation or stylistic mistakes, let alone some mistyped or repeated words. It is always advisable to ask someone else to read your essay or have it checked for readability – a good way to know if your text is interesting and coherent.

Writing each academic paper it is important to learn the peculiarities that will make this paper stand out among others. Essays may seem ones of the easiest to write, but this statement is questionable. How difficult it is to present an argument and support it with several pieces of evidence on a couple of pages. You should be brief and eloquent, specific and formal, clear and topic-related! Essay writing is a painstaking and time-consuming process, so we hope that these guidelines will contribute to the quality of your essay and make the writing process easier.

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One Response to “Academic Essay Writing: Basic Guidelines”

  1. Dorthea

    Oct 14. 2017

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