“To write or not to write an essay.”
This question is running through students’ minds when it comes time to write a routine essay. If you don’t feel pleasure from writing the essay, maybe you just don’t know how to write it in the right way? Don’t be so quick to close this article! We will show you that writing an essay is not a punishment! We cannot guarantee that after reading it you will be the guru of academic writing, but some tips will definitely ease your writing.
The academic essay is an inseparable part of a student’s life. Nearly every discipline at college or university will require from students to write essays frequently or from time to time. Skills from writing academic texts will help you become a professional that will be ready to analyze and think about a certain topic or issue and come up with right answers.
An academic essay is a detailed response to a certain topic or issue. An essay, as any academic paper, requires a student to read and analyze information related to the topic, and then present this analysis in a systematic presentation and in accordance with an academic style of writing.
Those who think that the work begins with the text are deeply mistaken. The preparatory stage has crucial importance for the quality of the academic essay. The final text is written when the writer has created a plan, analyzed informational sources, and most importantly – the writer has come up with a general idea about the topic and is ready to lay it all out in written form. The preparatory stage provides the necessary tool with the help of which the text of the work will be subsequently complete.
A good essay starts with a good idea. The topic of your essay is the key to a successfully written paper. The topic that you will choose for your paper should be interesting to you and your audience and be relevant at the same time.
Structure of an Academic Essay
Traditionally, the structure of an academic essay consists of an introduction, body, paragraph, and conclusion.
The introduction to an essay consists of two parts: several general statements that intrigue or attract the reader’s interest, and a thesis statement that describes the main idea of the academic essay. The thesis statement plays the same role in the introduction as the topic sentence in the paragraph: it names the topic and gives the reader a general idea of the content.
- Define the topic and characterize its context and importance;
- Indicate a problem or contradiction, or lack of knowledge in the field of research;
- Define the topic;
- Indicate the purpose of the study;
- Give an overview of the aspects that you will be describing in the following text.
The main part of the text consists of several paragraphs. Each paragraph develops a certain point of the main topic, so the number of paragraphs will vary depending on the number of these points that the author wants to cover in his or her academic essay.
The conclusion, like the final sentence of a paragraph, contains an overview of the main ideas of the body paragraphs. A good conclusion is not the end, but the beginning. The conclusion is a very important part as it concludes the most important thought (or complex of thoughts) of the author, and the most important in thought is the goal, addressed to the reader. If you said something new, then this new information must lead us forward, open up prospects, or make us think. For the sake of this, everything is conceived: an intriguing introduction and a convenient, leading structure of the text, clear language, and consistent style.
Types of Logical Structures in Academic Writing
Logical structure is one of the most important components of every academic paper. An ideally written academic essay describes the author’s thoughts in a certain logical order, so the reader can easily understand what the author is getting at.
Chronological order. This is the order of the exposition in time, or the sequence of events or steps of the process, such as the stages of mail delivering, the sequence of developing a new project, the description of the painting process, etc. In academic essays it’s frequently used when describing a certain historical event or process. This type of order requires using certain transitional signals that will be the markers of certain events or steps.
Logical division of ideas. When applying this kind of logical order, the topic is divided into parts, and each of the parts is discussed separately. It’s like going to the supermarket: milk you can find only in the dairy section and fresh bread will be in the bakery section. The same principle you should follow in the essay and group ideas in common groups. For example, an essay on the topic about cyberterrorism can be discussed in terms of social, psychological, and political consequences for society. The sequence of presentation of these blocks of divided ideas in the text is also determined by logic (for example, priority, degree of impact, or scale).
Cause-and-effect order. Causes or consequences of any actions, events, or processes are discussed in a cause-and-effect order. The text can discuss both the causes and the consequences, or discuss causes separately from consequences or vice versa. For example, the essay can discuss the results of adopting a dog from an animal shelter, the impact of changes in employee policies on the employer, a new family member and the impact on child relationships, the analysis of the reasons for a student’s low grades, and so on.
Compare and contrast order. Comparison and contrast is a logical order in which similarities and/or differences are discussed between two or more phenomena or objects, such as the productivity of employees after implementing two 15-minute breaks in the daily schedule or a comparative analysis of two systems of management. The structure of such essay may vary according to the context. You can discuss differences and similarities in one paragraph, but you need to be attentive and group them accordingly in the text, so the reader won’t be confused by the information. Or you can discuss similarities in one paragraph and differences in another.
Principles of Academic Writing
An academic writer is partly a novelist and a researcher at the same time. That means that you need to be good at researching the topic and be able to write a clear and concise text. For a good academic essay you need to keep in mind that your academic texts should follow the principles of academic writing:
- Clarity. Ideas that you are disclosing in your text can be easily understood by the audience the text is addressed to. The reader shouldn’t be forced to read between the lines and guess what the writer has meant. Also, clarity can be referred to as the economy of words. A good academic writing quickly gets the reader to the point and eliminates redundant words.
- Evidence. Every argument in an academic text should be supported with evidence from scholarly sources or primary texts. To create a strong argument you need to provide appropriate facts and evidence that will make your text more credible.
- Completeness. The aim of academic writing is to provide essential information to the reader. Providing essential information means to eliminate text with unnecessary and repetitive information that distracts the reader from the core idea.
- Formal tone. Fair-mindedness is one of the basic principles of academic writing. You need to convey statements or arguments from an objective point of view. For this reason you are not allowed to use “I” statements in your academic papers.
- Referencing. Academic texts usually contain a reference list, works cited section or bibliography that contains original sources used while creating the text, so the reader can easily find it on their own if necessary.
All these points can be applied to any type of academic writing: essays, dissertations, term papers, reports, research papers, and other types of texts.
As you can see, it’s impossible to become a great writer after one essay. You need a lot of practice before you will be able to produce high-quality essays. Invest your time and effort to learn more about academic writing and try it in practice. If you have no assignment to begin your practice, pick any topic over the internet and don’t waste your time! The sooner you begin your practice, the greater results you will receive in future.
Become a Successful Academic Writer With GPALabs
Still have questions on how to “write an essay”? On our blog you can find a wide range of essay samples, academic writing tips, and advice. For example, here you can read a guide on how to write a well-structured essay. Our team is here to provide you with the most helpful information about academic writing. For those cases, when you have no possibility to write a paper on your own, you can ask our professional writers for help.