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How To Write An Academic Essay

How To Write An Academic Essay

Writing An Academic Essay

An academic essay is a document that has a defined structure, an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

Main Types Of Academic Essays

We can define three main types:

  • Descriptive – describes a subject, e.g.; a person, place, or event.
  • Expository – explains a concept or theory.
  • Argumentative – presents an argument through reasoning and the use of evidence.

Essay Structure

Your essay will need the following:

An introduction which:

  • Sets out the context/background of your argument;
  • Introduces the content of the essay;
  • Introduces the theoretical perspectives you will be using;
  • May define key terms (alternatively you can do the work of definition in the second paragraph;
  • Sets out your thesis statement/line of argument/central contention; and
  • Explains how the essay will be organized (order of points).

A body containing a number of paragraphs each of which will:

  • Present a topic sentence or central idea supporting your thesis statement/line of argument/central contention;
  • Contain developing sentences which extend on or amplify the topic sentence;
  • Give evidence/examples/references which support/relate to your topic sentence; and
  • Provide a concluding/linking sentence;

A conclusion which:

  • Restates your thesis statement/line of argument/central contention;
  • Summarizes the points and evidence you provided to support your thesis; and
  • May suggest areas for further research/ investigation

Style

You should follow a number of academic stylistic conventions when writing:

  • Use Standard English avoiding American spelling
  • Write in the third person unless otherwise directed
  • Avoid slang terms, clichés and colloquial expressions
  • Avoid gender bias and sexist language
  • Avoid emotive language
  • Be direct – use the active rather than the passive voice
  • Be concise

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