a Good Academic Essay
The requirements are always specific on every particular course, but there are a few criteria that determine a good essay:
- Without plagiarism;
- Strong argument;
- Reliable references;
- Logically related thoughts;
- Strong thesis statement;
- Balanced structure.
Getting On With the Writing
Your approach to one of the most important challenges of your academic career will determine the quality of your final work.
Planning and Research
To gain a good grade, the actual writing of a good essay is probably the smallest part of the process. Much more important to the writing of a good essay is the preliminary stages, here are some points to consider.
Research – The most important part of an essay it its content, before putting pen to paper research the subject thoroughly. Making a list of references and notes will help to maintain flow at the writing stage.
Inclusion – Whatever the length of an essay, the word count will ultimately be a limiting factor. As such, after conducting initial research the writer will need to decide what falls in scope of the essay. Giving the essay too wide a scope will lead to superficial analysis of subject matter, it is better to focus on a small number of areas and to state why these areas have been included.
Structure – There are many structures that can be used in writing an essay, the old adage however, “tell them what your going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you have told them” provides as good a structure as any. In other words a clear introduction, main body and conclusion will provide an acceptable structure for most academic essays.
The Structure and Steps
It is important to check with a supervisor what the required structure is, as there may be some variations. Here is the structure that is commonly used:
Instruction. Define your topic. At this point, you can be broad. You will narrow your ideas later. Decide what the focus of your essay will be.
Brainstorm everything you know about the topic. Write down your ideas and don't limit. Make lists or diagrams with your thoughts.
Narrow your focus to one thought, idea, fact, or viewpoint. One mistake writers often make is being too broad and writing too much.
Dig deeper. Find research that supports your idea, fact or viewpoint. Identify resources that can contribute to the essay.
Body. Make a brief but concise outline of your essay.
Thesis. Imagine your reader in front of you. Now tell him or her what you're trying to say in your essay -- in one sentence. This sentence, written with a specific reader in mind, is your thesis.
Outline. Using your outline or diagram, write down each main idea in a "topic sentence" -- a sentence that introduces or summarizes the section topic.
Discussion. Imagine your reader in front of you. Now tell him or her what you're trying to say in your essay -- in one sentence.
Conclusions. The conclusion should do two things, summarize the content and provide a final comment to the reader. The summary should not merely repeat words from the body of the essay, but briefly summarize with different words.
References. All the references that appear in the text should be included into the reference list.
Revision. Be sure your verb tenses are consistent, as well as your point of view.
Content and Style of Academic Essay
Once the preliminary research has been conducted there are a number of considerations which need to be considered in the writing of an academic essay.
Language – Most institutions will require an academic essay to be written in the third person. This is to say that “I” and “You” should be expressly excluded from an essay. This can be tricky at first, but considering the use of words and phrases such as “one” and “the researcher” can be a helpful tool.
Argument – The objective of an essay will usually be to provide a logical argument on a subject. As such, after reading the essay one should come away with a clear view of what the writers argument was on a given subject.
Balance – In writing an academic essay, a writer will often be required to argue for or against a given opinion. In doing so it is important that the writer acknowledges both sides of the argument, before putting forward a reason for why one side of the argument should be considered more powerful. If both sides of the argument are not analysed then the essay writer risks being accused of bias.
Flow – In general the main body of an essay should flow, with paragraphs having a clear link. Were “jumps” are required between different subject areas consider the use of a subheading to indicate to the reader that this is intentional.
Referencing – A key part of writing a good academic essay is to reference one’s sources. A reference should be given, wherever a reference is made to someone else’s ideas, not only will this help the reader to access materials of greater detail. Referencing will also protect a writer from any accusations of plagiarism or academic deceit. It is better to risk over-referencing, than to miss a key reference and become involved in a dispute.
How to Work Smart and
Where to Get Advice
Creative writing ideas don't always come easily or naturally. When stuck, a creative writing prompt can be fun and incredibly useful. You can always seek advice from Write My Essay paper writing service.
Try each one of these when the opportunity presents itself. Take them as far as they can go, or to the point they start to lose steam.
- Write about a place where you can escape, inside your mind. Be sure to use all of your senses (smell, touch, taste, sight, sounds) to describe everything.
- Make a list of 5 foreign words (make sure you know their meanings).
- Use the famous opener from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Avoid Plagiarism: Use APA or MLA Style
One of the best reasons to use APA or MLA style is to avoid plagiarism. Both styles protect the scholarly borrowing of information through extensive in-text citations, referencing, or works citing. People who consistently use either style decrease the likelihood of plagiarizing other literary works. Therefore, APA and MLA styles for scientific and academic writing reinforce the integrity of the educational community.