Georgetown University.

Sample Essays

The breadth of Georgetown’s core curriculum means that students are required to write for a wide variety of academic disciplines. Below, we provide some student samples that exhibit the key features the most popular genres. When reading through these essays, we recommend paying attention to their 

1. Structure (How many paragraphs are there? Does the author use headers?) 

2. Argument (Is the author pointing out a problem, and/or proposing a solution?) 

3. Content (Does the argument principally rely on facts, theory, or logic?) and 

4. Style (Does the writer use first person? What is the relationship with the audience?)

Philosophy Paper

  • Singer on the Moral Status of Animals

Theology Paper

  • Problem of God
  • Jewish Civilization
  • Sacred Space and Time
  • Phenolphthalein in Alkaline Solution

History Paper

  • World History

Literature Review

Comparative Analysis 

Policy Brief

  • Vaccine Manufacturing

White Paper

Critical Analysis

  • Ignatius Seminar

essay about academic paper

Academic Essay: From Basics to Practical Tips

essay about academic paper

Has it ever occurred to you that over the span of a solitary academic term, a typical university student can produce sufficient words to compose an entire 500-page novel? To provide context, this equates to approximately 125,000 to 150,000 words, encompassing essays, research papers, and various written tasks. This content volume is truly remarkable, emphasizing the importance of honing the skill of crafting scholarly essays. Whether you're a seasoned academic or embarking on the initial stages of your educational expedition, grasping the nuances of constructing a meticulously organized and thoroughly researched essay is paramount.

Welcome to our guide on writing an academic essay! Whether you're a seasoned student or just starting your academic journey, the prospect of written homework can be exciting and overwhelming. In this guide, we'll break down the process step by step, offering tips, strategies, and examples to help you navigate the complexities of scholarly writing. By the end, you'll have the tools and confidence to tackle any essay assignment with ease. Let's dive in!

Types of Academic Writing

The process of writing an essay usually encompasses various types of papers, each serving distinct purposes and adhering to specific conventions. Here are some common types of academic writing:

types of academic writing

  • Essays: Essays are versatile expressions of ideas. Descriptive essays vividly portray subjects, narratives share personal stories, expository essays convey information, and persuasive essays aim to influence opinions.
  • Research Papers: Research papers are analytical powerhouses. Analytical papers dissect data or topics, while argumentative papers assert a stance backed by evidence and logical reasoning.
  • Reports: Reports serve as narratives in specialized fields. Technical reports document scientific or technical research, while business reports distill complex information into actionable insights for organizational decision-making.
  • Reviews: Literature reviews provide comprehensive summaries and evaluations of existing research, while critical analyses delve into the intricacies of books or movies, dissecting themes and artistic elements.
  • Dissertations and Theses: Dissertations represent extensive research endeavors, often at the doctoral level, exploring profound subjects. Theses, common in master's programs, showcase mastery over specific topics within defined scopes.
  • Summaries and Abstracts: Summaries and abstracts condense larger works. Abstracts provide concise overviews, offering glimpses into key points and findings.
  • Case Studies: Case studies immerse readers in detailed analyses of specific instances, bridging theoretical concepts with practical applications in real-world scenarios.
  • Reflective Journals: Reflective journals serve as personal platforms for articulating thoughts and insights based on one's academic journey, fostering self-expression and intellectual growth.
  • Academic Articles: Scholarly articles, published in academic journals, constitute the backbone of disseminating original research, contributing to the collective knowledge within specific fields.
  • Literary Analyses: Literary analyses unravel the complexities of written works, decoding themes, linguistic nuances, and artistic elements, fostering a deeper appreciation for literature.

Our essay writer service can cater to all types of academic writings that you might encounter on your educational path. Use it to gain the upper hand in school or college and save precious free time.

academic essay order

Essay Writing Process Explained

The process of how to write an academic essay involves a series of important steps. To start, you'll want to do some pre-writing, where you brainstorm essay topics , gather information, and get a good grasp of your topic. This lays the groundwork for your essay.

Once you have a clear understanding, it's time to draft your essay. Begin with an introduction that grabs the reader's attention, gives some context, and states your main argument or thesis. The body of your essay follows, where each paragraph focuses on a specific point supported by examples or evidence. Make sure your ideas flow smoothly from one paragraph to the next, creating a coherent and engaging narrative.

After the drafting phase, take time to revise and refine your essay. Check for clarity, coherence, and consistency. Ensure your ideas are well-organized and that your writing effectively communicates your message. Finally, wrap up your essay with a strong conclusion that summarizes your main points and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

How to Prepare for Essay Writing 

Before you start writing an academic essay, there are a few things to sort out. First, make sure you totally get what the assignment is asking for. Break down the instructions and note any specific rules from your teacher. This sets the groundwork.

Then, do some good research. Check out books, articles, or trustworthy websites to gather solid info about your topic. Knowing your stuff makes your essay way stronger. Take a bit of time to brainstorm ideas and sketch out an outline. It helps you organize your thoughts and plan how your essay will flow. Think about the main points you want to get across.

Lastly, be super clear about your main argument or thesis. This is like the main point of your essay, so make it strong. Considering who's going to read your essay is also smart. Use language and tone that suits your academic audience. By ticking off these steps, you'll be in great shape to tackle your essay with confidence.

Academic Essay Example

In academic essays, examples act like guiding stars, showing the way to excellence. Let's check out some good examples to help you on your journey to doing well in your studies.

Academic Essay Format

The academic essay format typically follows a structured approach to convey ideas and arguments effectively. Here's an academic essay format example with a breakdown of the key elements:

academic essay format

Introduction

  • Hook: Begin with an attention-grabbing opening to engage the reader.
  • Background/Context: Provide the necessary background information to set the stage.
  • Thesis Statement: Clearly state the main argument or purpose of the essay.

Body Paragraphs

  • Topic Sentence: Start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that relates to the thesis.
  • Supporting Evidence: Include evidence, examples, or data to back up your points.
  • Analysis: Analyze and interpret the evidence, explaining its significance in relation to your argument.
  • Transition Sentences: Use these to guide the reader smoothly from one point to the next.

Counterargument (if applicable)

  • Address Counterpoints: Acknowledge opposing views or potential objections.
  • Rebuttal: Refute counterarguments and reinforce your position.

Conclusion:

  • Restate Thesis: Summarize the main argument without introducing new points.
  • Summary of Key Points: Recap the main supporting points made in the body.
  • Closing Statement: End with a strong concluding thought or call to action.

References/Bibliography

  • Cite Sources: Include proper citations for all external information used in the essay.
  • Follow Citation Style: Use the required citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) specified by your instructor.
  • Font and Size: Use a standard font (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial) and size (12-point).
  • Margins and Spacing: Follow specified margin and spacing guidelines.
  • Page Numbers: Include page numbers if required.

Adhering to this structure helps create a well-organized and coherent academic essay that effectively communicates your ideas and arguments.

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How to Write an Academic Essay Step by Step

Start with an introduction.

The introduction of an essay serves as the reader's initial encounter with the topic, setting the tone for the entire piece. It aims to capture attention, generate interest, and establish a clear pathway for the reader to follow. A well-crafted introduction provides a brief overview of the subject matter, hinting at the forthcoming discussion, and compels the reader to delve further into the essay. Consult our detailed guide on how to write an essay introduction for extra details.

Captivate Your Reader

Engaging the reader within the introduction is crucial for sustaining interest throughout the essay. This involves incorporating an engaging hook, such as a thought-provoking question, a compelling anecdote, or a relevant quote. By presenting an intriguing opening, the writer can entice the reader to continue exploring the essay, fostering a sense of curiosity and investment in the upcoming content. To learn more about how to write a hook for an essay , please consult our guide,

Provide Context for a Chosen Topic

In essay writing, providing context for the chosen topic is essential to ensure that readers, regardless of their prior knowledge, can comprehend the subject matter. This involves offering background information, defining key terms, and establishing the broader context within which the essay unfolds. Contextualization sets the stage, enabling readers to grasp the significance of the topic and its relevance within a particular framework. If you buy a dissertation or essay, or any other type of academic writing, our writers will produce an introduction that follows all the mentioned quality criteria.

Make a Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the central anchor of the essay, encapsulating its main argument or purpose. It typically appears towards the end of the introduction, providing a concise and clear declaration of the writer's stance on the chosen topic. A strong thesis guides the reader on what to expect, serving as a roadmap for the essay's subsequent development.

Outline the Structure of Your Essay

Clearly outlining the structure of the essay in the introduction provides readers with a roadmap for navigating the content. This involves briefly highlighting the main points or arguments that will be explored in the body paragraphs. By offering a structural overview, the writer enhances the essay's coherence, making it easier for the reader to follow the logical progression of ideas and supporting evidence throughout the text.

Continue with the Main Body

The main body is the most important aspect of how to write an academic essay where the in-depth exploration and development of the chosen topic occur. Each paragraph within this section should focus on a specific aspect of the argument or present supporting evidence. It is essential to maintain a logical flow between paragraphs, using clear transitions to guide the reader seamlessly from one point to the next. The main body is an opportunity to delve into the nuances of the topic, providing thorough analysis and interpretation to substantiate the thesis statement.

Choose the Right Length

Determining the appropriate length for an essay is a critical aspect of effective communication. The length should align with the depth and complexity of the chosen topic, ensuring that the essay adequately explores key points without unnecessary repetition or omission of essential information. Striking a balance is key – a well-developed essay neither overextends nor underrepresents the subject matter. Adhering to any specified word count or page limit set by the assignment guidelines is crucial to meet academic requirements while maintaining clarity and coherence.

Write Compelling Paragraphs

In academic essay writing, thought-provoking paragraphs form the backbone of the main body, each contributing to the overall argument or analysis. Each paragraph should begin with a clear topic sentence that encapsulates the main point, followed by supporting evidence or examples. Thoroughly analyzing the evidence and providing insightful commentary demonstrates the depth of understanding and contributes to the overall persuasiveness of the essay. Cohesion between paragraphs is crucial, achieved through effective transitions that ensure a smooth and logical progression of ideas, enhancing the overall readability and impact of the essay.

Finish by Writing a Conclusion

The conclusion serves as the essay's final impression, providing closure and reinforcing the key insights. It involves restating the thesis without introducing new information, summarizing the main points addressed in the body, and offering a compelling closing thought. The goal is to leave a lasting impact on the reader, emphasizing the significance of the discussed topic and the validity of the thesis statement. A well-crafted conclusion brings the essay full circle, leaving the reader with a sense of resolution and understanding. Have you already seen our collection of new persuasive essay topics ? If not, we suggest you do it right after finishing this article to boost your creativity!

Proofread and Edit the Document

After completing the essay, a critical step is meticulous proofreading and editing. This process involves reviewing the document for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and punctuation issues. Additionally, assess the overall coherence and flow of ideas, ensuring that each paragraph contributes effectively to the essay's purpose. Consider the clarity of expression, the appropriateness of language, and the overall organization of the content. Taking the time to proofread and edit enhances the overall quality of the essay, presenting a polished and professional piece of writing. It is advisable to seek feedback from peers or instructors to gain additional perspectives on the essay's strengths and areas for improvement. For more insightful tips, feel free to check out our guide on how to write a descriptive essay .

Alright, let's wrap it up. Knowing how to write academic essays is a big deal. It's not just about passing assignments – it's a skill that sets you up for effective communication and deep thinking. These essays teach us to explain our ideas clearly, build strong arguments, and be part of important conversations, both in school and out in the real world. Whether you're studying or working, being able to put your thoughts into words is super valuable. So, take the time to master this skill – it's a game-changer!

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What Is An Academic Essay?

How to write an academic essay, how to write a good academic essay.

Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

essay about academic paper

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay

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How to Write an Academic Essay in 6 Simple Steps

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Written by  Scribendi

Are you wondering how to write an academic essay successfully? There are so many steps to writing an academic essay that it can be difficult to know where to start.

Here, we outline how to write an academic essay in 6 simple steps, from how to research for an academic essay to how to revise an essay and everything in between. 

Our essay writing tips are designed to help you learn how to write an academic essay that is ready for publication (after academic editing and academic proofreading , of course!).

Your paper isn't complete until you've done all the needed proofreading. Make sure you leave time for it after the writing process!

Download Our Pocket Checklist for Academic Papers. Just input your email below!

Types of academic writing.

With academic essay writing, there are certain conventions that writers are expected to follow. As such, it's important to know the basics of academic writing before you begin writing your essay.

Read More: What Is Academic Writing?

Before you begin writing your essay, you need to know what type of essay you are writing. This will help you follow the correct structure, which will make academic paper editing a faster and simpler process. 

Will you be writing a descriptive essay, an analytical essay, a persuasive essay, or a critical essay?

Read More: How to Master the 4 Types of Academic Writing

You can learn how to write academic essays by first mastering the four types of academic writing and then applying the correct rules to the appropriate type of essay writing.

Regardless of the type of essay you will be writing, all essays will include:

An introduction

At least three body paragraphs

A conclusion

A bibliography/reference list

To strengthen your essay writing skills, it can also help to learn how to research for an academic essay.

How to Research for an Academic Essay

Step 1: Preparing to Write Your Essay

The essay writing process involves a few main stages:

Researching

As such, in learning how to write an academic essay, it is also important to learn how to research for an academic essay and how to revise an essay.

Read More: Online Research Tips for Students and Scholars

To beef up your research skills, remember these essay writing tips from the above article: 

Learn how to identify reliable sources.

Understand the nuances of open access.

Discover free academic journals and research databases.

Manage your references. 

Provide evidence for every claim so you can avoid plagiarism .

Read More: 17 Research Databases for Free Articles

You will want to do the research for your academic essay points, of course, but you will also want to research various journals for the publication of your paper.

Different journals have different guidelines and thus different requirements for writers. These can be related to style, formatting, and more. 

Knowing these before you begin writing can save you a lot of time if you also want to learn how to revise an essay. If you ensure your paper meets the guidelines of the journal you want to publish in, you will not have to revise it again later for this purpose. 

After the research stage, you can draft your thesis and introduction as well as outline the rest of your essay. This will put you in a good position to draft your body paragraphs and conclusion, craft your bibliography, and edit and proofread your paper.

Step 2: Writing the Essay Introduction and Thesis Statement

When learning how to write academic essays , learning how to write an introduction is key alongside learning how to research for an academic essay.

Your introduction should broadly introduce your topic. It will give an overview of your essay and the points that will be discussed. It is typically about 10% of the final word count of the text.

All introductions follow a general structure:

Topic statement

Thesis statement

Read More: How to Write an Introduction

Your topic statement should hook your reader, making them curious about your topic. They should want to learn more after reading this statement. To best hook your reader in academic essay writing, consider providing a fact, a bold statement, or an intriguing question. 

The discussion about your topic in the middle of your introduction should include some background information about your topic in the academic sphere. Your scope should be limited enough that you can address the topic within the length of your paper but broad enough that the content is understood by the reader.

Your thesis statement should be incredibly specific and only one to two sentences long. Here is another essay writing tip: if you are able to locate an effective thesis early on, it will save you time during the academic editing process.

Read More: How to Write a Great Thesis Statement

Step 3: Writing the Essay Body

When learning how to write academic essays, you must learn how to write a good body paragraph. That's because your essay will be primarily made up of them!

The body paragraphs of your essay will develop the argument you outlined in your thesis. They will do this by providing your ideas on a topic backed up by evidence of specific points.

These paragraphs will typically take up about 80% of your essay. As a result, a good essay writing tip is to learn how to properly structure a paragraph.

Each paragraph consists of the following:

A topic sentence

Supporting sentences

A transition

Read More: How to Write a Paragraph

In learning how to revise an essay, you should keep in mind the organization of your paragraphs.

Your first paragraph should contain your strongest argument.

The secondary paragraphs should contain supporting arguments.

The last paragraph should contain your second-strongest argument. 

Step 4: Writing the Essay Conclusion

Your essay conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay and primarily reminds your reader of your thesis. It also wraps up your essay and discusses your findings more generally.

The conclusion typically makes up about 10% of the text, like the introduction. It shows the reader that you have accomplished what you intended to at the outset of your essay.

Here are a couple more good essay writing tips for your conclusion:

Don't introduce any new ideas into your conclusion.

Don't undermine your argument with opposing ideas.

Read More: How to Write a Conclusion Paragraph in 3 Easy Steps

Now that you know how to write an academic essay, it's time to learn how to write a bibliography along with some academic editing and proofreading advice.

Step 5: Writing the Bibliography or Works Cited

The bibliography of your paper lists all the references you cited. It is typically alphabetized or numbered (depending on the style guide).

Read More: How to Write an Academic Essay with References

When learning how to write academic essays, you may notice that there are various style guides you may be required to use by a professor or journal, including unique or custom styles. 

Some of the most common style guides include:

Chicago style

For help organizing your references for academic essay writing, consider a software manager. They can help you collect and format your references correctly and consistently, both quickly and with minimal effort.

Read More: 6 Reference Manager Software Solutions for Your Research

As you learn how to research for an academic essay most effectively, you may notice that a reference manager can also help make academic paper editing easier.

How to Revise an Essay

Step 6: Revising Your Essay

Once you've finally drafted your entire essay . . . you're still not done! 

That's because editing and proofreading are the essential final steps of any writing process . 

An academic editor can help you identify core issues with your writing , including its structure, its flow, its clarity, and its overall readability. They can give you substantive feedback and essay writing tips to improve your document. Therefore, it's a good idea to have an editor review your first draft so you can improve it prior to proofreading.

A specialized academic editor can assess the content of your writing. As a subject-matter expert in your subject, they can offer field-specific insight and critical commentary. Specialized academic editors can also provide services that others may not, including:

Academic document formatting

Academic figure formatting

Academic reference formatting

An academic proofreader can help you perfect the final draft of your paper to ensure it is completely error free in terms of spelling and grammar. They can also identify any inconsistencies in your work but will not look for any issues in the content of your writing, only its mechanics. This is why you should have a proofreader revise your final draft so that it is ready to be seen by an audience. 

Read More: How to Find the Right Academic Paper Editor or Proofreader

When learning how to research and write an academic essay, it is important to remember that editing is a required step. Don ' t forget to allot time for editing after you ' ve written your paper.

Set yourself up for success with this guide on how to write an academic essay. With a solid draft, you'll have better chances of getting published and read in any journal of your choosing.

Our academic essay writing tips are sure to help you learn how to research an academic essay, how to write an academic essay, and how to revise an academic essay.

If your academic paper looks sloppy, your readers may assume your research is sloppy. Download our Pocket Proofreading Checklist for Academic Papers before you take that one last crucial look at your paper.

About the Author

Scribendi Editing and Proofreading

Scribendi's in-house editors work with writers from all over the globe to perfect their writing. They know that no piece of writing is complete without a professional edit, and they love to see a good piece of writing transformed into a great one. Scribendi's in-house editors are unrivaled in both experience and education, having collectively edited millions of words and obtained numerous degrees. They love consuming caffeinated beverages, reading books of various genres, and relaxing in quiet, dimly lit spaces.

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Academic Essay Examples and Samples

Being the most important writing task for college and university students, it is important to look through samples of essays to get a clear picture of how to write one on your own.

How to Write an Academic Essay: The Full Guide

Writing an academic essay, whether for a school assignment or a scholarly publication, requires a unique set of skills. Unlike casual writing or opinion pieces, an academic paper requires the author to present a clear and well-reasoned argument on a particular topic. If you’re struggling with your work a little bit, a free literature review generator can be a useful resource. The purpose of the essay could be to inform, persuade, or describe, but regardless of the type of academic essay, the process of essay writing largely remains the same. This guide to essay writing will walk you through the process of crafting an excellent essay, from the initial brainstorming phase to the final proofreading stage.

Types of Academic Essays

There are several types of academic essays, each with its own purpose and structure. The narrative essay tells a story in a structured manner, often presented in chronological order. The descriptive essay aims to paint a vivid picture for the reader, describing an experience or an object in great detail.

An expository essay or informative essay, is designed to educate the reader about a particular topic. It’s a facts-based essay that requires thorough research and a clear, concise presentation of the information.

Lastly, a persuasive essay or argumentative essay, aims to convince the reader of a certain viewpoint. It’s essential to present clear arguments and evidence to support your stance in this type of essay.

Knowing the specific characteristics and objectives of these essay types can help you in determining the best approach for your academic writing.

Proper Format for Your Academic Writing

The structure of an academic essay is typically divided into three main sections: the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

The introduction , or opening paragraph, presents the topic of your essay and provides a glimpse of your thesis statement or central idea. This section should grab the reader’s attention and provide some context for your main argument.

The body paragraphs , or main sections of your essay, provide the bulk of your argument. Each paragraph should contain a single point or idea that supports your thesis statement. It’s important to present your points in a logical order and provide clear evidence for each of your arguments.

The conclusion of your essay, provides a wrap-up of your main argument and final thoughts on the topic. This section should not introduce any new ideas but rather summarize your key points and reaffirm your thesis statement.

Properly structuring your essay and ensuring that each section fulfills its purpose is crucial for creating a compelling and well-organized academic paper.

How to Create an Outline for Academic Essay: A Step-By-Step Approach

Creating an outline for your essay can make the writing process much smoother. It helps you organize your thoughts, keep your essay focused on your thesis statement, and ensure that each of your body paragraphs serves a distinct purpose in your argument.

Start by brainstorming ideas related to your topic and organizing them into a logical order. Once you have a general idea of what you want to cover, you can develop your thesis statement, the central idea that will guide your essay.

Next, create a list of main points or arguments that support your thesis. Each of these will become a body paragraph in your essay. For each point, consider the evidence or examples you can use to support it.

Once you have your outline, you’re ready to start writing. Begin with a draft and don’t worry about making it perfect. Focus on getting your ideas down first, then revise and edit until you have a polished academic essay.

In conclusion, writing an academic essay involves careful planning, a clear understanding of the essay type, and meticulous attention to structure and format. By following these guidelines, you can craft an academic paper that effectively communicates your ideas and meets the standards of scholarly writing. Whether you’re new to academic writing or looking to refine your skills, this guide provides a comprehensive overview to help you succeed in your academic writing endeavors.

Research and Planning for an Academic Essay

Before you begin writing an academic essay, it’s essential to do your homework. This involves understanding the essay prompt, researching the topic, and planning your essay. Research is a crucial part of academic writing. Unlike narrative or descriptive essays, where personal experience or observation can be the primary source of information, an expository or persuasive essay relies heavily on facts and evidence. Therefore, it’s vital to gather reliable and relevant sources that can provide a solid foundation for your argument. Planning, on the other hand, helps in organizing your thoughts and ideas coherently. A well-crafted outline serves as a roadmap for your essay, ensuring that you stay on topic and effectively address the thesis statement.

Crafting a Strong Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is a crucial component of an academic essay. This single sentence serves as the cornerstone of your argument, succinctly presenting the main point or central idea of your essay. A strong thesis statement is clear, concise, and specific. It makes a claim that requires support through evidence and provides a roadmap for your essay’s direction. For a persuasive essay, it’s essential to take a stance, while an expository essay would require a thesis statement that articulates the focus of your investigation.

Writing Engaging Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs form the meat of your academic essay. These main sections contain the supporting arguments or ideas that validate your thesis statement. Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence that presents one aspect of your argument, followed by evidence or examples to support it. It’s also crucial to provide analysis or explanation showing how the evidence supports your point. Remember, these paragraphs need to be cohesive, maintaining a logical flow of ideas from one to the next.

Mastering the Art of Introduction and Conclusion

The introduction and conclusion of your essay act as the ‘bookends’ to your argument. The opening paragraph, or introduction, sets the tone for your essay. It provides the context, introduces the topic, and presents the thesis statement. It’s crucial to make the introduction engaging to grab the reader’s interest.

The conclusion, on the other hand, brings closure to your essay. It’s your chance to revisit the main points, reinforce the thesis statement, and provide final thoughts or implications of your argument. Be careful not to introduce new ideas in the conclusion; it should merely wrap up the essay by synthesizing the information presented.

Proofreading and Editing Your Essay

After drafting your essay, the final steps are proofreading and editing. This process involves checking for grammatical errors, ensuring your arguments make sense, and verifying that you’ve adequately addressed your thesis statement. It’s a good idea to take a break before you start proofreading so you can approach your work with fresh eyes. If possible, ask a peer or mentor to review your essay, as they might catch mistakes that you’ve overlooked.

Writing an academic essay can be a challenging yet rewarding process. It requires critical thinking, thorough research, and meticulous attention to detail. By following these guidelines and tips, you’re well on your way to crafting an excellent academic essay that effectively communicates your ideas and arguments.

Putting It All Together: The Journey of Academic Essay Writing

In conclusion, academic essay writing is a systematic process that requires a blend of creativity, critical thinking, and a firm grasp of essay structure. Whether you’re crafting a narrative, expository, persuasive, or descriptive essay, understanding the unique demands of each type is crucial. Each essay type serves a distinct purpose, be it presenting a compelling story, delivering well-researched information, or asserting an argument convincingly.

From choosing a topic and crafting a robust thesis statement to structuring engaging body paragraphs and bringing your thoughts to a powerful close, each step contributes to the overall coherence and impact of your academic paper. Beyond writing, the importance of meticulous proofreading and editing cannot be overstated, as they ensure your scholarly writing meets the high standards expected of it.

With practice and dedication, you can improve your academic writing skills and deliver excellent essays consistently. Remember, writing is as much a journey as it is a destination. So, embrace the process, learn from your experiences, and strive to make each essay better than the last.

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  • If you are writing in a new discipline, you should always make sure to ask about conventions and expectations for introductions, just as you would for any other aspect of the essay. For example, while it may be acceptable to write a two-paragraph (or longer) introduction for your papers in some courses, instructors in other disciplines, such as those in some Government courses, may expect a shorter introduction that includes a preview of the argument that will follow.  
  • In some disciplines (Government, Economics, and others), it’s common to offer an overview in the introduction of what points you will make in your essay. In other disciplines, you will not be expected to provide this overview in your introduction.  
  • Avoid writing a very general opening sentence. While it may be true that “Since the dawn of time, people have been telling love stories,” it won’t help you explain what’s interesting about your topic.  
  • Avoid writing a “funnel” introduction in which you begin with a very broad statement about a topic and move to a narrow statement about that topic. Broad generalizations about a topic will not add to your readers’ understanding of your specific essay topic.  
  • Avoid beginning with a dictionary definition of a term or concept you will be writing about. If the concept is complicated or unfamiliar to your readers, you will need to define it in detail later in your essay. If it’s not complicated, you can assume your readers already know the definition.  
  • Avoid offering too much detail in your introduction that a reader could better understand later in the paper.
  • picture_as_pdf Introductions

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Facing Difficulty Writing an Academic Essay? — Here is your one-stop solution!

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Academic writing is an important aspect of higher education, as it helps to develop critical thinking, research skills, and the ability to communicate complex ideas effectively. However, for many people, writing an academic essay can be a daunting task. In this blog, we will take you through the process of writing an academic essay, step by step, so that you can approach your next writing assignment with confidence.

From understanding the assignment and researching the topic to developing an outline and revising your work, we will cover all of the key elements of the academic essay-writing process. We will also provide tips and tricks for overcoming common challenges and improving your writing skills. Whether you’re just starting out in your academic career, or you’re a seasoned pro looking to refine your writing skills, this blog has something to offer.

So, if you’re ready to take your academic writing to the next level, read on and discover how to write an academic essay that will impress your readers and help you achieve your goals.

Table of Contents

Writing an Academic Essay

1. introduction.

The introduction is one of the most important parts of an academic essay, as it sets the stage for what’s to come. The introduction should provide background information on the topic, establish the purpose of the essay, and clearly state your thesis. The purpose of the introduction is to engage your reader and make them want to continue reading.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong introduction:

1. Start with a hook

Begin your introduction with a hook that will grab the reader’s attention. This could be a quote, a statistic, or an interesting fact related to the topic.

2. Provide background information

After the hook, provide some background information on the topic to give context to the reader. This information should be relevant to the topic and help the reader understand why it’s important.

3. State your thesis

The thesis statement is a clear and concise statement of what you will argue in your essay. It should be placed near the end of the introduction and should reflect the focus of your essay.

4. Preview the main points

Preview the main points of your essay, so the reader knows what to expect. This will give your reader a roadmap for what is to come and will help you to stay focused as you write your essay.

5. Engage your reader

The introduction should engage your reader and make them want to continue reading. Avoid using too much technical language or jargon, and instead, focus on making your introduction accessible and interesting.

Writing a strong introduction to an academic essay is crucial for engaging your reader and setting the stage for what’s to come. By starting with a hook, providing background information, stating your thesis, previewing the main points, and engaging your reader, you will be well on your way to writing a strong academic essay.

2. Literature Review

The literature review is a critical component of an academic essay, as it provides a foundation for the rest of your research. The purpose of a literature review is to summarize and synthesize previous research on the topic and to identify gaps in the existing knowledge. The literature review should be more than just a list of articles and books, but rather an evaluation of the relevant literature.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a literature review :

1. Choose the right sources

Start by identifying relevant sources for your literature review. This may include academic journals, books, conference proceedings, and theses. Make sure to choose only the most relevant and up-to-date sources.

2. Read and take notes

Once you’ve identified your sources, it’s time to read and take notes. Use a system to keep track of the information and be sure to note the author, date, and key findings of each source.

3. Summarize the literature

In your literature review, you should summarize the key findings of each source, highlighting their relevance to your research. You should also synthesize the information, looking for patterns, similarities, and differences among the sources.

4. Evaluate the literature

A strong literature review should not just summarize the sources, but also evaluate them. This means examining their strengths and weaknesses and assessing their relevance to your research question .

5. Identify gaps in the literature

As you evaluate the sources, look for gaps in the existing knowledge and areas where further research is needed. This will help you to identify the significance of your research and justify the need for your study.

6. Organize your literature review

Once you’ve completed your evaluation, you should organize your literature review clearly and logically. This could be chronologically, thematically, or based on methodology.

By choosing the right sources, reading and taking notes, summarizing and evaluating the literature, identifying gaps, and organizing your review, you will be able to provide a thorough and well-supported foundation for the rest of your essay.

3. Methodology

The methodology section of an academic essay is where you describe the methods you used to conduct your research. This section is an opportunity to explain the steps you took to answer your research question and to justify why you chose these methods. The methodology should be detailed, precise, and transparent so that others can understand and replicate your study if necessary.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong methodology:

1. Define your research question

Before writing your methodology, you should have a clear understanding of your research question. This will guide the choice of methods you use and the information you collect.

2. Choose the right methods

The choice of methods should be guided by the research question. For example, if you’re conducting a survey, you would use a different method than if you were conducting a case study. Consider the strengths and limitations of each method, and choose the one that is best suited to your research question.

3. Explain your methods in detail

In your methodology, you should describe your methods in detail, so that others can understand how you conducted your research. This should include information on the sample size, how you collected the data, and any instruments or techniques you used.

4. Justify your methods

You should justify why you chose the methods you used and how they are appropriate for answering your research question. This might involve a discussion of the limitations of your methods and how they affect the results.

5. Address ethical considerations

If your research involved human subjects, you must address ethical considerations in your methodology. This might include information on informed consent, data confidentiality, and any potential risks to participants.

6. Be transparent

Your methodology should be transparent and honest so that others can understand and replicate your study if necessary. Be sure to report all of the methods you used, even if the results were not what you expected.

By defining your research question, choosing the right methods, explaining your methods in detail, justifying your methods, addressing ethical considerations, and being transparent, you will be able to provide a thorough and well-supported methodology for your essay.

The results section of an academic essay is where you present the findings of your research. This section should be clear, concise, and objective, and should present the data without any interpretation or discussion. The results should be organized logically and should include tables, figures, and other visual aids as necessary.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong results section:

1. Summarize the data

The first step in writing the results section is to summarize the data you collected. This might involve calculating means, standard deviations, and other descriptive statistics , depending on the type of data you collected.

2. Organize the results

This might involve presenting the results for each hypothesis, each research question, or each variable, depending on the nature of your study.

3. Use visual aids

Visual aids, such as tables and figures , can help to clarify and simplify the results. Make sure to label each visual aid clearly, and provide a caption that explains what the visual aid is showing.

4. Be objective

The results section should be objective, presenting the data without any interpretation or discussion. The interpretation of the results should be left to the discussion section.

5. Report results accurately

The results section should report the results accurately and precisely. This might involve rounding numbers to a specified number of decimal places, or using appropriate units of measurement.

In summary, by summarizing the data, organizing the results, using visual aids, being objective, and reporting the results accurately, you will be able to present your findings in a clear and compelling manner.

5. Discussion

The discussion section of an academic essay is where you interpret the results of your research and relate them to your research question and the broader literature. This section is an opportunity to conclude, make recommendations, and reflect on the strengths and limitations of your study. The discussion should be well-organized and should provide a clear and concise interpretation of the results.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong discussion section:

1. Interpret the results

The first step in writing the discussion section is to interpret the results of your study. This might involve comparing your results to previous research, explaining any unexpected results, and drawing conclusions about the implications of your findings.

2. Relate the results to your research question

The discussion should relate the results of your study to your research question, demonstrating how the results answer the question and providing insights into the topic.

3. Evaluate the strengths and limitations of your study

The discussion should include an evaluation of the strengths and limitations of your study, addressing any limitations that might affect the validity of the results, and suggesting areas for future research.

4. Draw conclusions

The discussion should conclude the results of the study, make recommendations based on the findings, and discuss the implications for future research.

5. Consider the broader context

The discussion should consider the broader context of the research, relating the findings to the broader literature and making connections to other related fields.

6. Write clearly and concisely

The discussion should be well-written and easy to understand, using clear and concise language. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to define any terms that may be unfamiliar to your reader.

6. Conclusion

The conclusion of an academic essay is the final section in which you summarize the key points of your argument and provide closure to your reader. This section should be concise and to the point, reiterating the main points of your essay and providing a final perspective on your topic. The conclusion should also reflect on the implications of your research, considering the broader context of your study and its contributions to the field.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong conclusion:

1. Summarize the key points

The first step in writing the conclusion is to summarize the key points of your essay. This might involve restating your research question, summarizing your findings, and reiterating your arguments.

2. Reflect on the implications of your research

The conclusion should reflect on the implications of your research, considering the broader context of your study and its contributions to the field. This might involve discussing the potential applications of your findings, considering any ethical implications, or discussing future directions for research.

3. Provide closure

The conclusion should provide closure to your reader, bringing your argument to a logical end and tying up any loose ends. This might involve suggesting a conclusion based on your research, or providing a final perspective on your topic.

4. Avoid introducing new information

The conclusion should avoid introducing new information or arguments that were not discussed in the body of your essay. This might confuse your reader and undermine the coherence of your argument.

5. Write concisely

The conclusion should be concise, using clear and concise language to summarize the key points of your essay. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to write in a way that is easy for your reader to understand.

By summarizing the key points, reflecting on the implications of your research, providing closure, avoiding introducing new information, and writing concisely, you will be able to provide a compelling conclusion to your argument.

7. References

The references section of an academic essay is a crucial component that provides a list of the sources you used in your research and writing. The purpose of the references section is to give credit to the authors whose work you have used, to provide evidence for your arguments, and to support the validity of your research.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong references section:

1. Follow a specific citation style

The first step in writing the references section is to follow a specific citation style. There are several citation styles used in academic writing, including APA , MLA , and Chicago , and it is important to choose the one that is appropriate for your discipline and the type of essay you are writing.

2. Cite all sources used in your essay

The references section should include a citation for all sources that you used in your essay, including books, journal articles, websites, and other types of sources.

3. Follow the format guidelines

The references section should be formatted according to the specific citation style that you have chosen. This might involve including information such as the author’s name, the title of the source, the publication date, and the page numbers for any direct quotes or paraphrased material.

4. Alphabetize the references

The references section should be alphabetized according to the author’s last name, or the first word of the title for sources without authors.

5. Check for accuracy

Before submitting your essay, make sure to check the references section for accuracy, verifying that all of the information is correct and that all of the sources are cited properly.

By following a specific citation style, citing all sources used in your essay, following the format guidelines, alphabetizing the references, and checking for accuracy, you will be able to provide a comprehensive and well-documented references section for your essay.

8. Appendices

The appendices section of an academic essay is an optional component that provides additional information that supports the main argument or research findings. This section might include materials such as graphs, tables, maps, images, or other types of data or supplementary information.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong appendices section:

1. Decide what to include

The first step in writing the appendices section is to decide what to include. This might involve evaluating the relevance of different types of information and determining which information is necessary to support your argument.

2. Label and organize the appendices

The appendices should be labeled and organized clearly and consistently, making it easy for the reader to understand the information being presented. This might involve including a title or description for each appendix, and numbering the appendices in a logical order.

3. Refer to the appendices in the main body of your essay

The appendices should be referred to in the main body of your essay, helping to connect the appendices to your argument. This might involve including a reference to the appendix in your text, or including a cross-reference to the appendix in your table of contents.

4. Use clear and concise language

The appendices should be written using clear and concise language, making it easy for the reader to understand the information being presented. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to write in a way that is accessible to your reader.

Before submitting your essay, make sure to check the appendices section for accuracy, verifying that all of the information is correct and that all of the tables, graphs, and other materials are properly labeled and organized.

By deciding what to include, labeling and organizing the appendices, referring to the appendices in the main body of your essay, using clear and concise language, and checking for accuracy, you will be able to provide a comprehensive and well-documented appendices section for your essay.

In Conclusion

Writing an academic essay is a complex and challenging task that requires careful planning, research, writing, and revision. From developing a strong thesis statement and researching the topic to writing the introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and references, each step in the essay writing process requires attention to detail and a commitment to producing a high-quality essay.

By following the guidelines and tips outlined in this blog, you will be able to write a clear and well-structured essay that effectively communicates your argument, supports your claims with evidence, and meets the expectations of your reader.

In conclusion, writing an academic essay is a multi-step process that requires time, effort, and dedication. However, by breaking the process down into manageable steps, and by focusing on the key elements of writing an effective essay, you will be able to produce a high-quality essay that meets the expectations of your reader and contributes to your academic or professional success.

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Essay and dissertation writing skills

Planning your essay

Writing your introduction

Structuring your essay

  • Writing essays in science subjects
  • Brief video guides to support essay planning and writing
  • Writing extended essays and dissertations
  • Planning your dissertation writing time

Structuring your dissertation

  • Top tips for writing longer pieces of work

Advice on planning and writing essays and dissertations

University essays differ from school essays in that they are less concerned with what you know and more concerned with how you construct an argument to answer the question. This means that the starting point for writing a strong essay is to first unpick the question and to then use this to plan your essay before you start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).

A really good starting point for you are these short, downloadable Tips for Successful Essay Writing and Answering the Question resources. Both resources will help you to plan your essay, as well as giving you guidance on how to distinguish between different sorts of essay questions. 

You may find it helpful to watch this seven-minute video on six tips for essay writing which outlines how to interpret essay questions, as well as giving advice on planning and structuring your writing:

Different disciplines will have different expectations for essay structure and you should always refer to your Faculty or Department student handbook or course Canvas site for more specific guidance.

However, broadly speaking, all essays share the following features:

Essays need an introduction to establish and focus the parameters of the discussion that will follow. You may find it helpful to divide the introduction into areas to demonstrate your breadth and engagement with the essay question. You might define specific terms in the introduction to show your engagement with the essay question; for example, ‘This is a large topic which has been variously discussed by many scientists and commentators. The principal tension is between the views of X and Y who define the main issues as…’ Breadth might be demonstrated by showing the range of viewpoints from which the essay question could be considered; for example, ‘A variety of factors including economic, social and political, influence A and B. This essay will focus on the social and economic aspects, with particular emphasis on…..’

Watch this two-minute video to learn more about how to plan and structure an introduction:

The main body of the essay should elaborate on the issues raised in the introduction and develop an argument(s) that answers the question. It should consist of a number of self-contained paragraphs each of which makes a specific point and provides some form of evidence to support the argument being made. Remember that a clear argument requires that each paragraph explicitly relates back to the essay question or the developing argument.

  • Conclusion: An essay should end with a conclusion that reiterates the argument in light of the evidence you have provided; you shouldn’t use the conclusion to introduce new information.
  • References: You need to include references to the materials you’ve used to write your essay. These might be in the form of footnotes, in-text citations, or a bibliography at the end. Different systems exist for citing references and different disciplines will use various approaches to citation. Ask your tutor which method(s) you should be using for your essay and also consult your Department or Faculty webpages for specific guidance in your discipline. 

Essay writing in science subjects

If you are writing an essay for a science subject you may need to consider additional areas, such as how to present data or diagrams. This five-minute video gives you some advice on how to approach your reading list, planning which information to include in your answer and how to write for your scientific audience – the video is available here:

A PDF providing further guidance on writing science essays for tutorials is available to download.

Short videos to support your essay writing skills

There are many other resources at Oxford that can help support your essay writing skills and if you are short on time, the Oxford Study Skills Centre has produced a number of short (2-minute) videos covering different aspects of essay writing, including:

  • Approaching different types of essay questions  
  • Structuring your essay  
  • Writing an introduction  
  • Making use of evidence in your essay writing  
  • Writing your conclusion

Extended essays and dissertations

Longer pieces of writing like extended essays and dissertations may seem like quite a challenge from your regular essay writing. The important point is to start with a plan and to focus on what the question is asking. A PDF providing further guidance on planning Humanities and Social Science dissertations is available to download.

Planning your time effectively

Try not to leave the writing until close to your deadline, instead start as soon as you have some ideas to put down onto paper. Your early drafts may never end up in the final work, but the work of committing your ideas to paper helps to formulate not only your ideas, but the method of structuring your writing to read well and conclude firmly.

Although many students and tutors will say that the introduction is often written last, it is a good idea to begin to think about what will go into it early on. For example, the first draft of your introduction should set out your argument, the information you have, and your methods, and it should give a structure to the chapters and sections you will write. Your introduction will probably change as time goes on but it will stand as a guide to your entire extended essay or dissertation and it will help you to keep focused.

The structure of  extended essays or dissertations will vary depending on the question and discipline, but may include some or all of the following:

  • The background information to - and context for - your research. This often takes the form of a literature review.
  • Explanation of the focus of your work.
  • Explanation of the value of this work to scholarship on the topic.
  • List of the aims and objectives of the work and also the issues which will not be covered because they are outside its scope.

The main body of your extended essay or dissertation will probably include your methodology, the results of research, and your argument(s) based on your findings.

The conclusion is to summarise the value your research has added to the topic, and any further lines of research you would undertake given more time or resources. 

Tips on writing longer pieces of work

Approaching each chapter of a dissertation as a shorter essay can make the task of writing a dissertation seem less overwhelming. Each chapter will have an introduction, a main body where the argument is developed and substantiated with evidence, and a conclusion to tie things together. Unlike in a regular essay, chapter conclusions may also introduce the chapter that will follow, indicating how the chapters are connected to one another and how the argument will develop through your dissertation.

For further guidance, watch this two-minute video on writing longer pieces of work . 

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How to Write an Academic Essay

Last Updated: February 27, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Megaera Lorenz, PhD . Emily Listmann is a Private Tutor and Life Coach in Santa Cruz, California. In 2018, she founded Mindful & Well, a natural healing and wellness coaching service. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. Emily also received her Wellness Coach Certificate from Cornell University and completed the Mindfulness Training by Mindful Schools. There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 772,901 times.

Being able to write a strong academic essay is a critical skill for college and university students. It is also a skill that will continue to serve you if you plan to go into an academic career, or any field that involves persuasive or analytical writing. In order to write a successful essay, start by following any assigned instructions carefully. Before you start writing, research your topic using good, reputable sources. Organize your essay clearly, and support your arguments with strong examples and evidence. Once your essay is drafted, make sure you’re handing in your best possible work by checking it over thoroughly and making any necessary edits.

Following the Instructions for Your Assignment

Step 1 Read the instructions carefully.

  • Does your essay need to answer a specific question or questions?
  • Is your essay supposed to present a critical analysis of a source , such as a book, poem, film, or work of art?
  • Is the objective to demonstrate your ability to present an original argument based on research ?
  • Have you been asked to compare and contrast two ideas, events, or literary or artistic works?

Step 2 Make note of any formatting requirements.

  • If the formatting requirements aren’t on your assignment sheet, check the course syllabus or ask your instructor.

Step 3 Pay attention to citation style requirements.

  • Essays on subjects in the social sciences usually use APA-style citations .
  • Essays on subjects in the humanities, such as literature or history, typically use MLA or Chicago Style .
  • Essays on medical or health-related topics may use the AMA style, while other sciences have their own discipline-specific styles.
  • The basic rules for most common citation styles are readily available online. For more detailed information, look for a style guide in your school library or bookstore.

Step 4 Ask for clarification if you don’t understand something.

Researching Your Topic

Step 1 Take advantage of your school’s resources to build your bibliography.

  • You may need to log in with your student ID or institutional ID to get access to many online scholarly databases, or access them through a school or library computer.
  • Another good way to start building your bibliography is to look at the reference list on an introductory overview of your subject, such as an encyclopedia entry.
  • Your instructor, or your school’s reference librarian, may also be able to recommend some good sources on your topic.

Step 2 Choose appropriate sources.

  • While Wikipedia is often unreliable and is not considered an appropriate source for most academic writing, it can be a good starting point for research. Check the “References” section of the Wikipedia article on your topic for useful sources.

Step 3 Read your sources...

  • Where is the author getting their information? Do they provide credible sources?
  • Does the author provide convincing evidence to back up their arguments?
  • Does the author have any obvious biases or agendas that affect the way they present or interpret their information?

Step 4 Incorporate primary sources, if applicable.

  • When you look at secondary sources, such as scholarly papers or news articles, you are seeing the data filtered through someone else’s perspective. Looking at primary data allows you to interpret the evidence for yourself.
  • Your instructor should specify whether you need to incorporate primary sources into your research, and if so, how to find and utilize them. If you’re not sure, ask.

Step 5 Evaluate online sources carefully.

  • Are the author’s credentials given? Is the author qualified to write on the subject?
  • Does the author state where they got their information? Are you able to verify the sources?
  • Is the article written in an objective, unbiased manner?
  • Is the article written for an academic audience? Is the content intended to be educational?
  • How does the URL end? Generally, sites that end in .edu, .org, or .gov are more reputable than sites that end in .com.

Constructing Your Essay

Step 1 Create a clear...

  • The thesis should be included toward the end of your introduction along with a brief outline of the evidence you will use to support your thesis.
  • An example of a thesis statement is, “A growing body of evidence suggests that ‘Ode to a Tufted Titmouse’ may in fact have been written by Huffbottom’s lesser-known contemporary, Georgina Roodles. In addition to the poem’s numerous stylistic parallels to Roodles’ known works, private letters between Roodles and her brother demonstrate that she was keenly interested in ornithology at the time that ‘Tufted Titmouse’ was published.”

Step 2 Make an outline...

  • Introduction
  • Point 1, with supporting evidence
  • Point 2, with supporting evidence
  • Point 3, with supporting evidence
  • Counter-argument(s)
  • Your refutation of the counter-argument(s)

Step 3 Present your argument in detail.

  • Each paragraph should include a “topic sentence” that clearly states the main point of the paragraph. For example: “The poem is characterized by several stylistic features that occur in numerous examples of Roodles’ work, including alliteration, humorous synecdoche, and malapropisms.”

Step 4 Support each statement with examples, evidence, and an analysis.

  • For example, “Compare the alliterative phrase ‘timid and tremulous twittering,’ which appears in the first stanza of ‘Ode to a Tufted Titmouse,’ with ‘mild and melodious meowing,’ which appears in the second stanza of Roodles’ 1904 poem, ‘Sadie: A Cat.’ By contrast, alliteration is almost completely absent from the contemporary works of Reginald Huffbottom.”

Step 5 Write an introduction...

  • “In 1910, an anonymous poem entitled ‘Ode to a Tufted Titmouse’ appeared in the Winter issue of Bertram’s Bogus Ballads Quarterly . The poem was eventually republished in a compilation edited by D. Travers (1934, p. 13-15), where it was attributed to Reginald Huffbottom. Several literary critics have since questioned Huffbottom’s authorship of the poem. This essay will utilize a combination of stylistic analysis and evidence from private correspondence to attempt to identify the true author of ‘Tufted Titmouse.’”

Step 6 Use transitional sentences.

  • “In addition to alliteration, ‘Ode to a Tufted Titmouse’ contains several examples of synecdoche, another stylistic device that occurs in several of Roodles’ earlier works.”

Step 7 Cite your sources clearly and correctly.

  • Always make a clear distinction between paraphrasing (putting someone else’s statement into your own words) and quoting directly (using someone else’s exact words).
  • If you are paraphrasing, rephrase your source’s statement or idea using your own words, but identify the source with a footnote or in-text citation. E.g.: Percival Bingley states that ‘Ode to a Tufted Titmouse’ was most stylistically similar to Roodles’ earliest work, and was unlikely to have been written later than 1906 (2015, p. 357).
  • For short direct quotations, put the passage you’re quoting in quotation marks (“”), and identify the source immediately after the quote with a footnote or in-text citation. E.g.: In May 1908, Roodles stated in a letter to her brother that she found it “quite impossible to get a good rhyme for Bay-breasted Warbler” (Twistleton, 2010, p. 78).
  • Longer “block quotations” (of 3 lines or more) should not be put in quotes. Instead, every line of the quote should be indented from the left-hand side.

Step 8 Address counterarguments.

  • “Vogle has argued against Roodles as a likely author of ‘Tufted Titmose’ based on the fact that none of her known works contain references to birds (2007, p. 73). However, several of Roodles’ letters to her brother, written between 1906 and 1909, refer to ‘those blasted bird poems I’ve been working on’ (Twistleton, 2010, pgs. 23-24, 35, and 78).”

Step 9 Write a concluding...

  • Don’t just rehash what you wrote in your introduction. Use a few sentences to reflect on the significance of your argument, and how it might affect future studies of this topic.

Step 10 Create a bibliography...

  • The name of the author.
  • The title of the work.
  • The name of the publisher, and (usually) the place of publication.
  • The date of the publication.

Polishing Your Essay

Step 1 Take a break.

  • Is your writing concise? Are there any words or sentences that you could cut out?
  • Is your writing clear? Does everything make sense?
  • Is the essay well-organized? Is there anything that would flow better if it was arranged in a different order?
  • Do you need to make the transitions between sections flow more smoothly?

Step 3 Check the language and tone of your essay.

  • For example, “Roodles’ early work is pretty awful compared to her later stuff!” would not be appropriate in an academic paper.
  • Instead, write something like, “Roodles’ poems published before 1910 show a less nuanced understanding of verse and meter than her later poems.”

Step 4 Edit your essay

  • Make sure to save a copy of your previous draft separately, in case you make any major revisions and then change your mind.

Step 5 Proofread your essay

  • Reading out loud can help you catch problems that your eye might miss when you’re reading silently.

Step 6 Have someone else check your work.

Sample Essays

essay about academic paper

Expert Q&A

Emily Listmann, MA

  • Do not mess with the font and/or margins to make your paper look longer. Some instructors may actually deduct points for attempts to make the paper look longer. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Use formal English. Slang, colloquialisms, and chatty language are not appropriate for an academic paper. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Manage your time. Unless you are good at writing quick papers under stress, give yourself plenty of uninterrupted time to complete your assignment. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

essay about academic paper

  • Do not plagiarize. If you use the words or ideas of others and don't indicate where they came from, you're misleading your readers. It's dishonest, a form of cheating, and it's usually easy to see. Plagiarism can have serious consequences for your academic career. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1
  • If you’re concerned about accidental plagiarism, use a website like Turnitin.com to check your work before you hand it in. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

You Might Also Like

Write a Good College Essay

  • ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/how-read-assignment
  • ↑ https://pitt.libguides.com/citationhelp
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/research_papers/choosing_a_topic.html
  • ↑ https://www.easybib.com/guides/students/writing-guide/ii-research/a-finding-sources/
  • ↑ https://www.utep.edu/extendeduniversity/utepconnect/blog/march-2017/4-ways-to-differentiate-a-good-source-from-a-bad-source.html
  • ↑ https://www.library.georgetown.edu/tutorials/research-guides/evaluating-internet-content
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/thesis_statement_tips.html
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/essay-outline/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
  • ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/using-evidence.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/introductions-conclusions
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/transitions/
  • ↑ https://www.plagiarism.org/article/how-do-i-cite-sources
  • ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/counterarguments
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/conclusions/
  • ↑ https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/taking-breaks/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
  • ↑ https://opentextbc.ca/buildingblocks/chapter/tone-and-style/
  • ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/writingforsuccess/chapter/8-4-revising-and-editing/
  • ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/editing-and-proofreading-techniques

About This Article

Emily Listmann, MA

To write an academic essay, start by coming up with a 1-2 sentence thesis statement that will be the main topic or argument in your essay. Then, find a variety of scholarly sources that support your thesis and disprove any counterarguments. Once you've found sources, include quotes, facts, and statistics from them in your essay. Make sure you cite any sources you use and create a bibliography at the end of your paper. For tips on researching your essay topic, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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What Is Academic Writing?

Lindsay Kramer

You learn a lot in college, and not all of it can be found in the course catalog. A lot of the skills you acquire you find yourself having to master on your own: managing your time, researching efficiently, and making ramen noodles in a coffee pot. 

Another one of the skills you need to master is academic writing . Academic writing isn’t like other types of writing; it’s formal , it’s objective, and for a lot of students just starting college or grad school, it can be daunting. 

But once you break down the fundamentals of academic writing and examine them piece by piece, you’ll see they’re nothing to be afraid of. There are rules you need to follow, but once you’ve got those rules down, you’re on your way onto the dean’s list. 

Give your papers extra polish Grammarly helps you improve your academic writing Write with Grammarly

Table of contents

Characteristics of academic writing, types of academic writing, academic writing structure, academic writing tips, score top marks on your writing every time.

Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of academic writing is the emphasis on adhering to a style guide . While nearly all content and media outlets use a specific style guide—which is either an already established guide or one of their own creation—correct adherence to a chosen style guide is nonnegotiable with academic writing. In most cases, you’ll lose credit if you don’t adhere to the style guide in your writing. 

Two of the main style guides for academic writing are the Modern Language Association (MLA) guide and the American Psychological Association (APA) guide. Others include the American Medical Association (AMA) style guide, the American Chemical Society (ACS) style guide, and the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) . Each of these style guides maintains specific rules for how to format and punctuate your writing as well as how to cite the sources you use. 

Beyond the style guide, these are the key characteristics that define academic writing:

Academic writing should be formal, clear, and concise

Academic writing uses formal language. It’s also optimized for clarity and conciseness , which can initially seem contradictory to the use of formal language. 

Many writers confuse formal language with flowery language . Generally, flowery language uses elaborate words, lengthy sentences (sometimes to the point of being run-on), and metaphors so drawn-out that they obfuscate the point the writer is trying to make. 

Actual formal language is much different. Formal language uses the most accurate, non-colloquial verbiage available to communicate the author’s points, and this verbiage may include jargon. Sentences are only as complex as they need to be in order to express coherent thoughts and positions; you should use literary devices like metaphor sparingly. In instances where literary devices are appropriate, they’re used differently than in other types of writing. Overall, clarity and conciseness are your main goals. 

Academic writing takes an objective, detached stance from the subject being discussed. Because this type of tone is essential, the passive voice is sometimes necessary in academic writing, particularly in the sciences. 

Academic writing uses prescriptive grammar

When it comes to grammar, academic writing is prescriptive. By that, we mean there are specific grammar and style rules that your writing must adhere to in order to be correct. These rules come from two sources: the style guide for the piece you’re working on and generally established conventions for academic writing. Style guides provide granular requirements, such as instructions on whether to hyphenate certain compound words and when to spell out numbers versus use numerals. Broader academic writing conventions, like writing in the third person and maintaining an objective tone , apply to all academic writing. 

In contrast, other, more casual types of writing are not as strict about “proper grammar” versus “improper grammar.” In fact, in certain other types of writing, like blogging and ad copywriting, it’s often necessary to break established grammar rules in order to hook readers’ attention and communicate with them effectively. 

Using ellipses to build suspense, ending sentences with prepositions , and using exclamation points to make your sentences exciting are great strategies for catchy, conversational writing—but they have no place in academic writing.  

Formatting will depend on your style guide

Beyond adhering to specific grammar and style rules, your academic writing also needs to be formatted according to the style guide for your assignment. Formatting includes how you number your pages, what’s included in your header and footer, how the contents of your cover page are ordered, and how your citations and references are formatted. For example, if you’re writing a humanities paper, you’re most likely going to write it according to the MLA style guide. According to this style guide, the source page is titled “Works Cited” and each reference’s author is named by their last name followed by their first name. For a social sciences paper, you’d typically use the APA style guide, which instead says to title the sources page “References” and lists authors by their last names followed by their first initials.

Academic writing covers a variety of types of work. These include:

An essay is a relatively short piece of writing that, like a research paper, makes and supports a specific point. 

Theses and dissertations

A thesis and a dissertation are two types of capstone projects. Generally, the term thesis refers to the culminating project of a master’s program (and some bachelor’s programs) while the term dissertation is used for a project that culminates in a doctoral program. 

These projects are lengthy works that demonstrate the author’s candidacy for the degree they are seeking by posing an intellectual question, a persuasive argument , or a thought-provoking position. Both are created through the candidate’s research, under the guidance of their academic advisor. 

Research proposals

A research proposal is a document formally requesting sponsorship or funding to support the author’s academic research. A research proposal outlines how the author plans to conduct their research, why they want to conduct this specific research, and what they aim to accomplish through the research.

Research papers

A research paper is a comprehensive work that thoroughly demonstrates the author’s understanding of the subject they researched. Every research paper is formulated around a thesis statement—the statement in the opening paragraph that states the author’s position and summarizes their supporting arguments. 

Literature reviews

A literature review is a piece of academic writing that summarizes, describes, and evaluates a topic through analysis of other authors’ works. A literature review examines a topic through two or more works, and these works can be books, scholarly articles, presentations, dissertations, or other published materials. 

As much as academic writing uses formal language and conforms closely to style guides, it also follows a clear structure. This specific structure depends on the type of writing being produced, but generally follows this type of outline:

1 Introduction that clearly states the thesis and aims of the work

2 Position/finding/challenge supporting the thesis

a. Supporting content

b. Supporting content

3 Position/finding/challenge supporting the thesis

4 Position/finding/challenge supporting the thesis

5 Conclusion

The length of the work and the number of sections included depend on the specific assignment and the topic being covered. While an essay may only be five to seven paragraphs or so and span just a few pages, a dissertation generally clocks in around 150–300 pages. 

Another area where academic writing differs greatly from other types of writing is that in an academic paper, you always have to cite your sources. How to format your citations depends on the style guide you’re using.

Although the citation format for each style guide varies a bit, they all include the same key information about the sources you cite. This information includes the author’s name, the name of the work you’re citing, the work’s copyright date, and the work’s publisher. Take a look at how the most commonly used academic style guides advise on format:

Don’t overlook the importance of properly citing your sources—all of them. Each formatting style has specific guidelines for citing just about  any  kind of source, including  TV shows , PDFs , Wikipedia articles , and  YouTube videos . Although you probably won’t face plagiarism consequences for an incorrectly formatted citation when you clearly made an attempt to attribute the work properly, an incomplete or missing citation may be deemed plagiarism, as this article explains. Possible consequences for plagiarism include:

  • A lowered grade
  • Automatic failure of the assignment 
  • Failure of the course
  • Removal from the academic program
  • Suspension or expulsion from your university

Always refer to the style guide

In academic writing, there’s no gray area concerning whether something is grammatically correct or not. It’s either correct or it isn’t. The style guide for your assignment covers all the rules regarding what is and isn’t correct, so if you’re ever not sure, refer to the style guide. And if you’re ever not sure which style guide to follow, ask your instructor. 

Actively avoid plagiarism

By this, we mean it isn’t enough to simply avoid stealing others’ words when you’re writing. We mean you should consciously choose to differentiate your writing from your sources as much as possible so you don’t inadvertently plagiarize another writer’s work—and so your work really shines as a unique piece. 

As we mentioned above, even unintentional plagiarism can mean failing your assignment and other consequences. Grammarly’s plagiarism checker can help you avoid unintentional plagiarism while making your writing more engaging. It’s easy: Just run a plagiarism check using the Grammarly Editor and your work will be immediately compared against billions of other pieces available online. If there are any pieces of text that appear to need citations, Grammarly will flag them and you can cite them accordingly.  

Do not use contractions

Academic writing never uses contractions. This is one of the biggest differences between formal and informal writing. 

Do not take it personally

When you’re writing an academic paper, always write it in the third person. The first person (I, me) and the second person (you) are not appropriate for academic writing because they undermine the author’s objectivity. 

Academic writing is black-tie writing

Think of an academic paper as a formal event. Your writing needs to show up “dressed appropriately.” This means: conforming to the style guide, using formal language, and absolutely avoiding slang and colloquial expressions. In contrast, think of an email to your professor as business casual and messages with your friends as casual. If the language you use with your friends is shorts and sandals and the language you use with your professor is khakis and a polo, the language in your academic writing needs to be a tuxedo. 

Writing an academic paper is a lot different from writing a blog post, an email, a piece of fiction, and even other kinds of writing your professor might assign, like a critical response to a reading or a presentation for class. A piece of academic writing, whether it’s an analytical essay, a research paper, a persuasive essay , or another kind of assignment in this vein, needs to adhere to very specific style and formatting standards. It also needs to have the appropriate tone and vocabulary for an academic work. 

Don’t submit your writing without running it through the Grammarly Editor first. In the Grammarly Editor, you can set specific goals for your writing so it strikes the perfect tone for your audience. Just set the domain to “Academic” and in addition to suggestions for grammar and punctuation, you’ll see suggestions for how to change your word choice, sentence structure, and other aspects of your writing to make it shine. 

essay about academic paper

essay about academic paper

  • November 30, 2022
  • Academic Advice

How To Write an Academic Essay: A Beginner’s Guide

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UOTP Marketing

what-are-the-five-components-of-an-academic-essay

During college, you must participate in many writing assessments, one of the most important being academic essays. Unfortunately, only a few are well-informed about the process of academic writing. 

If you’re reading this, you probably want to learn how to write an academic essay. Follow our guide! Here we’ll introduce the concept of the academic essay, the five components of an academic essay, the format of an academic essay, and more.

Ready to master your academic essay writing? Let’s go!

What Is an Academic Essay?

An academic essay is writing created to initiate debate, defend an idea, or present a new point of view by supporting it with evidence. 

One of the most important components that differentiate it from typical essays you have written in high school is supporting ideas with evidence. If you claim that, for example, “divorces have a negative impact on young children,” you need to find sources that support your argument to make it more convincing.

Interpreting facts is another essential element of a successful academic piece of writing. Academic essays should be written in a formal tone, with a set structure, and have a critical, based, and objective viewpoint. You should be able to understand and transmit different points of view to your readers in a simple but formal manner. 

Are you still trying to figure out what steps you should take to start writing? Keep scrolling!  

How To Write an Academic Essay

essay about academic paper

Writing an academic essay can initially seem intimidating, especially if you are unfamiliar with the rules and requirements. 

The time and effort spent on the writing task might differ depending on the topic, word limit, deadline, and other factors. However, the key steps, including preparing for the writing, creating a thesis statement, introduction, conclusion, and editing process, must be included in every academic writing style. 

By following the detailed list of actions below, you can start and finish your essay in no time.

Prepare to write your essay

Before going into the technical part of the writing process, one piece of advice you should keep in mind is planning. Planning is as important as the writing process. If you plan correctly, you will have sufficient time to perform every step successfully. Failure to plan will lead to a messy essay and, worst-case scenario, an unfinished writing piece. 

Understand your assignment

First and foremost, before you take any action regarding writing your essay, you must ensure you have clearly understood every tiny detail that your instructor has provided you—this step will determine your academic essay’s effectiveness. But why is that? Understanding the assignment in detail will leave no space for any irrelevant information that would lead to wasted time and, ultimately, a lower grade. 

Develop your essay topic

If your instructor doesn’t give you a specific topic, you should spend some time finding a topic that fits the requirements. Finding a topic sounds easy, but finding the right one requires more than just a simple google search.

So, ensure you develop an original topic, as it adds more value to your academic writing. However, ensure that there is enough evidence from other sources to help you back up your arguments. You can do this by researching similar topics from trusted sources.

Do your research and take notes

Once you determine the topic, go on and do some research. This part takes a lot of effort since there are countless sources online, and obviously, you have to choose some of the best. 

Depending on your topic, there might be cases where online sources are not available, and you’ll also have to visit local libraries. Whatever the case, you need to take notes and highlight the components you want to include in your essay. 

A quick tip: Go back to your topic often to avoid getting swayed or influenced by other less relevant ideas. 

Come up with a clear thesis statement

An excellent academic essay contains a strong thesis statement. A strong thesis statement successfully narrows your topic into a specific area of investigation. It should also intrigue your readers and initiate debate. 

A good thesis statement is:

  • NOT a question  
  • NOT a personal opinion

Create a structure

After gathering all the necessary information, you can begin outlining your main ideas. The primary academic essay structure is classified into the following 

  • Introduction

Failure to maintain these three components in your academic essay will result in a poorly written assignment. Luckily, you can easily avoid that by following our guide.

Writing the introduction

what-is-the-format-of-academic-essay

Your essay will be divided into paragraphs of equal importance, but the introductory part should always stand out. You must make your introduction as presentable as possible and get the reader’s attention. Work on it as if you were to get graded only by the evaluation of that first paragraph. 

The purpose of the introduction is to demonstrate that your thoughts and ideas are logical and coherent. Also, depending on the word limit, you can use more than one paragraph.  

Hook the reader

All forms of writing benefit from an attractive hook. If you have no idea of how to hook the reader, you can go the safe way and choose a recent fact or statistic. Statistics will give your essay credibility, surprise the readers, and make them want to keep reading.  

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Give background on the topic

Now that you have the reader’s attention, you should strive to expand the essay’s key points but to a limit since the introduction is only one part of the whole essay. You should generally explain what gaps from previous sources you will cover and what others have covered so far. 

Present your thesis statement

When introducing your thesis statement, you can present it as a statement of fact or controversial. If you decide to give a statement fact, it will be challenging to keep your audience engaged since facts can be easily proven. But presenting it more controversially will keep your audience awake and can even result in a better grade overall.

Writing the body of your essay

how-do-you-write-an-effective-academic-essay

The body part of your essay is where you’ll expand all of your ideas presented in the introduction. It’s essential to stay consistent and not include irrelevant information. Since it is the longest part of your essay, you can easily get lost, and to prevent that, it would be best to map an internal outline specific to each paragraph. This way, you know what to include and where. 

Paragraph structure

Each paragraph should follow a specific structure. It should begin with an introductory sentence that tells the reader the main ideas you will discuss in the paragraph. It’s advisable to point back to your thesis statement to identify the relationship between it and the existing idea. Also, ensure that each paragraph demonstrates new ideas.  

Length of the body paragraphs

Depending on the topic and the arguments you’ve gathered, it’s advisable not to exceed 200 words per paragraph in academic writing. If your paragraphs are too long and contain unnecessary wording, it will become difficult for the reader to follow your point. So keep them clear and concise.

Writing the conclusion

Congratulation, now you’ve made it to the last paragraph of your essay. The conclusion’s primary purpose is to summarize the ideas presented throughout your essay. Writing a good conclusion should take little time since you know what the essay contains. However, be aware of what points you should or shouldn’t include.

What to include in your conclusion 

A strong conclusion needs to have an introductory sentence. In some cases, if your instructor approves, it can include other areas that need to be investigated in the future. But at its core, it should only remind the reader about the main arguments discussed.

What not to include in your conclusion 

You should at all times refrain from including new ideas. Since the essay ends with the conclusion, don’t go into details or support new points. Doing that will confuse the reader and result in a poor grade. 

Editing your essay

how-to-write-an-academic-essay

Without a doubt, editing is just as important as writing. No matter how careful you are during writing, there’s a high possibility that there will be some slip-ups. These can range from spelling mistakes to grammar, punctuation, and so on. We suggest you spend time doing other things and return to the essay again. This will help you notice errors that you otherwise wouldn’t. 

Tips for Writing a Great College Essay

Now that you have a clear idea of the process of writing an academic essay, we have a few more tips: 

  • Always cite your sources
  • Gather enough sources to support your thesis statement
  • Keep your sentences short and comprehensive
  • Start the research as early as possible 
  • Do not skip revising 

The Bottom Line

Writing an academic essay is a complex task. But with the right tools, guidance, and willingness to learn from your mistakes, you will master academic writing in no time. Make sure to follow each of the abovementioned steps and practice as much as possible. And don’t forget to edit!

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Examples

Academic Writing

Ai generator.

essay about academic paper

An analytical essay dissects a subject, evaluates its components, and presents a well-reasoned analysis. This type of essay requires critical thinking and a clear argument, supported by evidence. It involves examining themes, motifs, and various elements to understand the work deeply. Writing an analytical essay involves interpreting facts rather than summarizing them, making it essential for students to hone their analytical skills. Understanding the structure and purpose of an analytical essay is crucial for academic success.

What Is Academic Writing?

Academic writing is a formal style of writing used in universities and scholarly publications. It is characterized by clear, concise, and evidence-based arguments. This type of writing follows specific conventions, including proper citation and a structured format, to communicate complex ideas effectively.

Academic Writing Examples

essay about academic paper

  • Research Paper – In-depth study presenting original research and analysis.
  • Essay – A structured argument on a specific topic is essential in an analytical essay. This type of essay requires presenting a clear thesis and supporting it with well-organized evidence and analysis.
  • Dissertation – Extensive research project for a doctoral degree.
  • Thesis – Research paper for a master’s degree.
  • Case Study – Detailed examination of a particular case.
  • Lab Report – Documentation of an experiment and its results.
  • Literature Review – Summary and evaluation of existing research.
  • Annotated Bibliography – List of sources with summaries and evaluations.
  • Book Review – Critical assessment of a book.
  • Conference Paper – Presentation of research at a conference.
  • Journal Article – Scholarly article published in an academic journal.
  • Position Paper – Argument supporting a particular viewpoint.
  • Reflection Paper – Personal response to a specific experience.
  • Critique – Detailed analysis of a text or work.
  • Report – Structured document presenting information on a specific topic.
  • White Paper – Authoritative report providing information or proposals.
  • Proposal – Plan or suggestion put forward for consideration.
  • Memo – Brief communication within an organization.
  • Review Article – Summary and synthesis of research on a topic.
  • Personal Statement – Essay outlining an individual’s qualifications and goals.

Types of Academic Writing

  • Article Writing: Crafting informative, engaging, and well-researched article writing for journals, magazines, or online platforms.
  • Ghost Writing: Crafting content as a ghostwriting on behalf of someone else, often for books, articles, or speeches.
  • Formal Writing: Formal writing is structured and professional writing used in academic, business, or official contexts.
  • APA Writing: Writing style adhering to the American Psychological Association guidelines, commonly known as APA Writing , is used in social sciences.
  • Descriptive Writing: Vividly detailing subjects to create a clear picture for the reader.
  • Analytical Writing: Breaking down complex ideas or arguments to evaluate and interpret them.
  • Persuasive Writing: Convincing the reader of a particular viewpoint or argument.
  • Critical Writing: Evaluating and analyzing texts or ideas to form a reasoned judgment.

Academic Writing Skills

  • Critical Thinking : Analyze and evaluate information to form reasoned judgments and arguments.
  • Research Skills : Locate, evaluate, and synthesize information from various sources to support your writing.
  • Planning and Organization : Structure your writing logically with clear introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions.
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Characteristics of Academic Writing

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7 Categories of Academic Writing

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Importance of Academic Writing

  • Communication of Ideas: Academic writing effectively communicates complex ideas and research findings clearly and precisely.
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Academic Writing Tips

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Why is academic writing important?

It helps develop critical thinking, clear communication, and strong argumentation skills.

What are common types of academic writing?

Common types include essays, research papers, theses, and dissertations.

What is the purpose of academic writing?

The purpose is to inform, argue, and contribute to scholarly conversations.

How is academic writing different from other writing styles?

It is more structured, formal, and evidence-based compared to other styles.

What is APA writing?

APA writing adheres to the guidelines of the American Psychological Association, used mainly in social sciences.

What should be avoided in academic writing?

Avoid informal language, unsupported claims, and plagiarism.

How do you cite sources in academic writing?

Sources are cited using specific formats like APA, MLA, or Chicago style.

What is the structure of an academic essay?

An academic essay typically includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

What are the characteristics of a good thesis statement?

A good thesis statement is clear, concise, and presents a strong argument.

How can one improve their academic writing skills?

Practice regularly, seek feedback, and read extensively in your field.

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Does citation polarity help evaluate the quality of academic papers?

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  • Linhong Xu 1 , 2 ,
  • Kun Ding   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9805-3554 1 ,
  • Yuan Lin 1 &
  • Chunbo Zhang 1  

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Citation frequency is an important metric for the evaluation of academic papers, but it assumes that all citations are of equal value. The purpose of this study is to determine the validity of citation polarity, which contains evaluative information such as criticism or praise, in the evaluation of paper quality. In this paper, 3538 citation sentences in papers from ACL conferences were selected and manually annotated for citation polarity. They were divided into best paper group and matching paper group, and tested in heterologous pairs to determine whether there were differences in the positive and negative citations of the two groups, and to further investigate the trend of citation polarity with the increase of citation window. The results of the study showed that the best paper and the matching paper had significant differences in the number of positive and negative citations, and the mean and median values of positive citations in the best group were about 1.5 times higher than those in the matching group. As the citation window increased, the best papers maintained both positive and negative citation dominance over 5 years, and the peak citation in the best group was about three times higher than that in the matching group. Therefore, the metric of citation polarity can help evaluate the quality of papers and provide new ideas for scientific and objective evaluation of academic papers.

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This work is partially supported by grant from the Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 61772103, 61806038, 61976036). We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions.

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Xu, L., Ding, K., Lin, Y. et al. Does citation polarity help evaluate the quality of academic papers?. Scientometrics 128 , 4065–4087 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-023-04734-1

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19 Migori County employees resign over fake academic papers

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Nineteen county government employees who are part of a group of 93 implicated in possessing fraudulent academic credentials have resigned.

According to Migori county secretary, Osca Olima, the employees opted to resign rather than waiting for further action from the Migori county government and relevant authorities.

Olima stated that out of the 93 individuals involved, 25 have written to the county public service board seeking an opportunity to present their side of the story.

He confirmed that the board has granted them a chance to defend themselves before any further decisions are made.

The county secretary further stated that investigations are underway to weed out employees with questionable academic certificates as part of efforts to ongoing crackdown on fake documents.

Olima said that the exercise is not a witch hunt but rather informed by the audit findings from the Human Resource Audit Institute in 2023 and the county government’s staff headcount report.

He noted that the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) verified the fraudulent primary and secondary school certificates among the county’s 2,700 employees.

The county secretary revealed that the 93 employees with forged academic credentials have been removed from the payroll even as they await further action by the county public service board.

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Research papers are similar to academic essays , but they are usually longer and more detailed assignments, designed to assess not only your writing skills but also your skills in scholarly research. Writing a research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong knowledge of your topic, engage with a variety of sources, and make an original contribution to the debate.

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Understand the assignment, choose a research paper topic, conduct preliminary research, develop a thesis statement, create a research paper outline, write a first draft of the research paper, write the introduction, write a compelling body of text, write the conclusion, the second draft, the revision process, research paper checklist, free lecture slides.

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Note any discussions that seem important to the topic, and try to find an issue that you can focus your paper around. Use a variety of sources , including journals, books, and reliable websites, to ensure you do not miss anything glaring.

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In this stage, you might find it helpful to formulate some research questions to help guide you. To write research questions, try to finish the following sentence: “I want to know how/what/why…”

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A research paper outline is essentially a list of the key topics, arguments, and evidence you want to include, divided into sections with headings so that you know roughly what the paper will look like before you start writing.

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You do not need to start by writing the introduction. Begin where it feels most natural for you — some prefer to finish the most difficult sections first, while others choose to start with the easiest part. If you created an outline, use it as a map while you work.

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Paragraph structure

Paragraphs are the basic building blocks of research papers. Each one should focus on a single claim or idea that helps to establish the overall argument or purpose of the paper.

Example paragraph

George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” has had an enduring impact on thought about the relationship between politics and language. This impact is particularly obvious in light of the various critical review articles that have recently referenced the essay. For example, consider Mark Falcoff’s 2009 article in The National Review Online, “The Perversion of Language; or, Orwell Revisited,” in which he analyzes several common words (“activist,” “civil-rights leader,” “diversity,” and more). Falcoff’s close analysis of the ambiguity built into political language intentionally mirrors Orwell’s own point-by-point analysis of the political language of his day. Even 63 years after its publication, Orwell’s essay is emulated by contemporary thinkers.

Citing sources

It’s also important to keep track of citations at this stage to avoid accidental plagiarism . Each time you use a source, make sure to take note of where the information came from.

You can use our free citation generators to automatically create citations and save your reference list as you go.

APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

The research paper introduction should address three questions: What, why, and how? After finishing the introduction, the reader should know what the paper is about, why it is worth reading, and how you’ll build your arguments.

What? Be specific about the topic of the paper, introduce the background, and define key terms or concepts.

Why? This is the most important, but also the most difficult, part of the introduction. Try to provide brief answers to the following questions: What new material or insight are you offering? What important issues does your essay help define or answer?

How? To let the reader know what to expect from the rest of the paper, the introduction should include a “map” of what will be discussed, briefly presenting the key elements of the paper in chronological order.

The major struggle faced by most writers is how to organize the information presented in the paper, which is one reason an outline is so useful. However, remember that the outline is only a guide and, when writing, you can be flexible with the order in which the information and arguments are presented.

One way to stay on track is to use your thesis statement and topic sentences . Check:

  • topic sentences against the thesis statement;
  • topic sentences against each other, for similarities and logical ordering;
  • and each sentence against the topic sentence of that paragraph.

Be aware of paragraphs that seem to cover the same things. If two paragraphs discuss something similar, they must approach that topic in different ways. Aim to create smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections.

The research paper conclusion is designed to help your reader out of the paper’s argument, giving them a sense of finality.

Trace the course of the paper, emphasizing how it all comes together to prove your thesis statement. Give the paper a sense of finality by making sure the reader understands how you’ve settled the issues raised in the introduction.

You might also discuss the more general consequences of the argument, outline what the paper offers to future students of the topic, and suggest any questions the paper’s argument raises but cannot or does not try to answer.

You should not :

  • Offer new arguments or essential information
  • Take up any more space than necessary
  • Begin with stock phrases that signal you are ending the paper (e.g. “In conclusion”)

There are four main considerations when it comes to the second draft.

  • Check how your vision of the paper lines up with the first draft and, more importantly, that your paper still answers the assignment.
  • Identify any assumptions that might require (more substantial) justification, keeping your reader’s perspective foremost in mind. Remove these points if you cannot substantiate them further.
  • Be open to rearranging your ideas. Check whether any sections feel out of place and whether your ideas could be better organized.
  • If you find that old ideas do not fit as well as you anticipated, you should cut them out or condense them. You might also find that new and well-suited ideas occurred to you during the writing of the first draft — now is the time to make them part of the paper.

The goal during the revision and proofreading process is to ensure you have completed all the necessary tasks and that the paper is as well-articulated as possible. You can speed up the proofreading process by using the AI proofreader .

Global concerns

  • Confirm that your paper completes every task specified in your assignment sheet.
  • Check for logical organization and flow of paragraphs.
  • Check paragraphs against the introduction and thesis statement.

Fine-grained details

Check the content of each paragraph, making sure that:

  • each sentence helps support the topic sentence.
  • no unnecessary or irrelevant information is present.
  • all technical terms your audience might not know are identified.

Next, think about sentence structure , grammatical errors, and formatting . Check that you have correctly used transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas. Look for typos, cut unnecessary words, and check for consistency in aspects such as heading formatting and spellings .

Finally, you need to make sure your paper is correctly formatted according to the rules of the citation style you are using. For example, you might need to include an MLA heading  or create an APA title page .

Scribbr’s professional editors can help with the revision process with our award-winning proofreading services.

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Checklist: Research paper

I have followed all instructions in the assignment sheet.

My introduction presents my topic in an engaging way and provides necessary background information.

My introduction presents a clear, focused research problem and/or thesis statement .

My paper is logically organized using paragraphs and (if relevant) section headings .

Each paragraph is clearly focused on one central idea, expressed in a clear topic sentence .

Each paragraph is relevant to my research problem or thesis statement.

I have used appropriate transitions  to clarify the connections between sections, paragraphs, and sentences.

My conclusion provides a concise answer to the research question or emphasizes how the thesis has been supported.

My conclusion shows how my research has contributed to knowledge or understanding of my topic.

My conclusion does not present any new points or information essential to my argument.

I have provided an in-text citation every time I refer to ideas or information from a source.

I have included a reference list at the end of my paper, consistently formatted according to a specific citation style .

I have thoroughly revised my paper and addressed any feedback from my professor or supervisor.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (page numbers, headers, spacing, etc.).

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Researchers May Have Just Developed a Way to Identify AI's Fingerprints

A new study of changing vocabulary in academic papers finds that certain words are becoming more common..

Researchers May Have Just Developed a Way to Identify AI's Fingerprints

Was artificial intelligence behind that email you just got ? Did ChatGPT draft your office's new memo?

Answering novel questions like those is tricky, but a new study from researchers at Northwestern University and Germany's University of Tübingen suggests there might be a way to tell.

AI text generation has exploded as large language models--or LLMs, the software underpinning ChatGPT, Google's Gemini, and other consumer chatbots--have grown more sophisticated and popular in the past few years. And it's already shaking up workplaces : research conducted by Slack indicates that one out of every four desk workers has already tried using AI at work.

Now, a scientific paper released on the preprint research repository arXiv, titled "Delving Into ChatGPT Usage In Academic Writing Through Excess Vocabulary," offers a method to help differentiate AI-generated text from something a human wrote.

The researchers studied changes in vocabulary across 14 million academic article abstracts published between 2010 and 2024. Their results showed how the emergence of LLMs "led to an abrupt increase in the frequency of certain style words," they wrote, adding: "Our analysis based on excess words usage suggests that at least 10% of 2024 abstracts were processed with LLMs."

The linguistic changes that followed the mainstreaming of the AI software "were unprecedented in both quality and quantity," the researchers wrote in the article, which was released in mid-June.

So what words did the AI seem to be overusing? Some of the terms that the researchers found "strong excess usage" of in 2024 academic papers included "delves," "showcasing," "underscores," "potential," "findings" and "crucial"--although almost 300 other words also became abruptly more popular.

Of course, there are other reasons that these words might have blown up in the last few years. But the scientists note that in the past, words that saw this sort of sudden surge in usage tended to be content-specific nouns--such as "ebola" in 2015 and "zika" in 2017, as well as "coronavirus," "lockdown," and "pandemic" between 2020 and 2022--rather than the sort of adjective and verb style words that increased in usage after AI hit the mainstream.

Or, as the article puts it: "The unprecedented increase in excess style words in 2024 allows [us] to use them as markers of ChatGPT usage."

To be sure, the language that artificial intelligence would deploy in a workplace context is likely different from what it uses when writing an abstract for an academic paper. Even still, it's notable that AI seems to leave behind traces of itself in its word choice--what the researchers refer to as the software's fingerprints.

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