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How to Write an Academic Essay

May 29, 2019

If there is one thing that student life cannot be imagined without, it’s the variety of academic assignments you will need to complete on a daily basis. You will get assignments of every possible length and difficulty level for almost any subject you ever study, which is why it’s so important to understand exactly how to write an academic paper.

How to Write an Academic Essay

Creating an academic essay requires top-notch writing skills, but even brilliant writers often fail when it comes to academic papers. It also requires outstanding research skills, an ability to adapt to new topics and guidelines, and a creative approach to writing and formatting. Want to have an academic paper written for you by professional authors with decades of experience in scientific writing? Order a custom essay from our service! If you still want to try your hand at writing an academic essay, here is our complete guide.

How to Write a Good Introduction

We are used to thinking of the introduction as the way to introduce your topic to your audience. It’s true that before your readers can dive deeper into the subject of the essay, they first need to get acquainted with the topic. However, the introduction also establishes the context for the topic, which is equally important for a better understanding of the subject.

Moreover, an introduction is helpful for the writer, not only for the reader. With a well-written introduction, the writer can sufficiently narrow down the topic of the essay and stay focused on its most important aspects. That is why so much effort goes into creating a strong introduction for your essay.

Even though an introduction is the first part of any essay structures example, most students admit that they actually write the introduction after they have finished the rest of the paper. In order to provide a good foundation for your essay, your introduction needs to contain the following information:

  • Background on the subject, which will help the readers understand the context and the specifics of your topic.
  • A thesis statement, where you will specify your main point of the work that you will later prove with the remaining parts of the paper.
  • Information on how you plan to research the topic and how you will approach proving the thesis statement.

While the whole introduction is important for the success of your essay, the opening sentence matters even more. With the opening statement, you can either stimulate your audience to read the paper until the very last word or close it and never open it again.

According to the most successful essay writers, the most effective way to open an introduction for an academic paper is to use a hook. It can be a question, an anecdote, a surprising fact, some statistics, or even an image. The choice of the opening sentence depends on the subject of the essay and the audience you imagine for your paper.

Read the Instructions Carefully

When you are given an assignment for an academic essay by your professor, the first thing you should do is carefully read the assignment details and make sure you fully understand them. If necessary, read the assignment several times until you have a 100% understanding of what you are asked to do.

The objectives for an academic paper can be very different. In some cases, you will be asked to perform a critical analysis of a concept. In others, your job will be to do a comparison and contrast essay. Sometimes, you will be given a work of art and analyze it. Only when you know for a fact what you should do in your paper, you can move on to the next stages of the writing process.

Formatting Requirements

The assignment details will often also contain information on how you need to format your paper. Stick to those requirements, since they will be detrimental for your final grade. Formatting details can include everything from the text length to the cover page formatting. If the assignment does not contain any formatting requirements, you can use the most commonly accepted ones:

  • Double-spaced text
  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • 12pt font
  • A legible font like Times New Roman

If you are not sure how to format the cover page or organize other details of your future essay, you can look for an academic goals essay example written by someone from your school to not down the formatting details that you can later use in your paper.

Citation and Citation Styles

There is a good chance that the upcoming academic essay assignment isn’t the first one you ever complete, which means that by now you should already be familiar with various citation styles. There can be one citation guide accepted in your school, but the choice of the style also depends on the specifics of the paper.

For example, MLA and Chicago styles are often used in papers on literature, history, and other humanities. APA citations are frequently used in papers on social studies, while the AMA style is often seen in the paper from the medical field. There are also several less common citation styles used in various disciplines, so if you want to make sure you are using the right one, better ask your instructor.

There is no point in explaining every citation style here, as they are widely available in detail on the internet. However, it’s worth noting that with some citation styles, every comma and period matter, which means you should be very attentive.

Asking for Clarification

Whenever you have doubts about the specifics of the assignment or ran into trouble while writing your academic essay, don’t hesitate to contact your instructors. They will gladly explain to you the details, give you a helping hand if you are struggling, and will be generally impressed that you take the assignment very seriously.

Narrowing a Topic Idea

Sometimes you are given a specific assignment, in which case all that is left for you to do is begin working on the paper. However, sometimes you will be given a bit of creative freedom and asked to choose your own topic for the essay. Pick a topic that is not only easy to write about but also interests you personally — only when you are sufficiently passionate about the topic, you will be motivated enough to do a fantastic job with your writing.

The Structure of Your Future Work

While there are some types of academic papers that have very specific structures, in most cases you will need to work with the standard structure. The standard structure of an academic essay includes:

  1. An introduction, which explains the topic of the essay and motivates the reader to finish your essay without giving away too much information.
  2. Body paragraphs, where you explain the subject of the essay in details. The typical number of body paragraphs in an essay is three, although you can go with more or less depending on the topic and level of the paper. Keep in mind that in order to keep the readers interested, your paragraphs shouldn’t be too long.
  3. A conclusion, where you briefly sum up everything you have written before and reinstate the validity of your thesis statement. Make sure not to include any brand new information in your essay conclusion.

Researching Your Topic

No matter how much you know about the topic, you can’t write a complete essay based only on your knowledge. In order to create a strong academic paper, you will need a significant number of credible sources. There are several ways to look for the sources for your paper:

  • Your instructor may suggest some scientific literature to help you with your writing.
  • Find a Wikipedia entry for your topic and look at the list of references — some of them can be successfully used for your own paper.
  • Use your school resources to locate relevant books and publications.

Construct an Essay

If you look at any favorite academic subject essay example, you will see that it has a neat, concise look that can only be achieved through thoughtful work on the paper. Your work on an academic essay will include the following stages:

  1. Devise a thesis statement that you will put at the end of your introduction and will refer to at several points of the essay. The thesis is the main argument of your work, but it shouldn’t be too long — a 1-2 thesis statement works best.
  2. Create an outline for your paper. An outline will help you organize your ideas and always know which stage of the writing process you are currently at. Follow the classic structure of an academic essay or ask your instructor for their preferred essay structure.
  3. Introduce your arguments. Each argument should be explained in a separate paragraph. Start the paragraph with a topic sentence and then offer evidence that supports your arguments.
  4. Create smooth transitions from one part of the essay to the other with the help of transitional words and phrases. They will make reading the essay easier and will give the paper a polished, scientific look.
  5. Include counterarguments in your paper. Acknowledging the potential objections of your opponents and offering a strong rebuttal for each one of them is a sign of a true scholar.

Concluding Remarks

The conclusion to your academic essay may be the shortest part of the paper, but it’s also the part that your readers will remember the most. The point of the conclusion is to summarize and synthesize everything that has been said earlier without offering any new ideas or evidence. Use the conclusion as another opportunity to remind why your thesis statement is true.

Editing an Academic Paper

Editing and proofreading an academic essay is the only way to make sure that you don’t submit a paper filled with logical and grammatical mistakes and ruin your grade. Here are some tips for editing your work like a pro:

  • Read the paper out loud to see any misused words, overly long or short sentences, and any other problems that may prevent the reader from having a smooth reading session.
  • Check the spelling and punctuation of the paper using one of the many spell checking tools online.
  • Wait for a day or two before giving your paper a final read and see anything you may have missed at the previous stages.

Essay Examples

An academic essay example is the best way to understand the writing format and the nature of the assignment. We have prepared some quality academic paper examples below that you can use for your study needs. Click here for getting custom academic essay for any academic level and budget and discover a new, stress-free way to complete assignments for school.

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