Academic essay writing is a style that anyone can learn to produce, once they know the basics of writing an essay. An academic essay should provide a solid, debatable thesis that is then supported by relevant evidence—whether that be from other sources or from one's own research. Most research follows a standard set of guidelines. Remembering some basic principles for academic essay writing will allow you to create valuable, persuasive papers, even if you're under a time crunch.
Make an outline. Know what you are going to write about before you start writing.
Before you even start writing an essay, it is important to know what you want to say. The easiest way to narrow down a thesis and create a proper argument is to make a basic outline before you begin writing your essay. The basic structure of an academic essay includes the following elements: an introduction that includes the thesis; the body of the essay, which should include separate paragraphs discussing evidence that supports the thesis; and a conclusion that ties everything together and connects it to the thesis. When it comes to how much evidence should be included in an academic essay, a good guideline is to include at least three solid points that directly support your thesis.
Acquire a solid understanding of basic grammar, style, and punctuation.
Grammar, style, and punctuation are incredibly important if you want your research to be understood and taken seriously. Before writing an essay, make sure you have a solid understanding of basic grammar. Grammar basics include verb and subject agreement, proper article and pronoun usage, and well-formed sentence structures. Make sure you know the proper uses for the most common forms of punctuation. Be mindful of your comma usage and know when a period is needed. Finally, in academic essay writing, voice is important. Try to use the active voice instead of the passive whenever possible (e.g., "this study found" instead of "it was found by this study"). This will make the tone of your essay stronger. Ensure your language is concise. Avoid transition words that don't add anything to the sentence and unnecessary wordiness that detracts from your argument.
Use the right vocabulary. Know what the words you are using actually mean.
How you use language is important, especially in academic essay writing. When writing an academic essay, remember that you are trying to persuade others that you are an expert who can make an intelligent argument. Using big words just to sound smart often results in the opposite effect—it is easy to detect when someone is overcompensating in their writing. If you aren't sure of the exact meaning of a word, you risk using it incorrectly. Using obscure language can also take away from the clarity of your argument—you should consider this before you pull out that thesaurus to change that perfectly good word to something completely different.
Understand the argument and critically analyze the evidence.
In the process of writing an academic essay, you should always have your main argument in mind. While it might be tempting to go off on a tangent about some interesting side note to your topic, doing so can make your writing less concise. Always question any evidence you include in your essay; ask yourself, "Does this directly support my thesis?" If the answer is "no," then that evidence should probably be excluded. When you are evaluating evidence, be critical and thorough. You want to use the strongest research to back up your thesis. Everything you include should have a clear connection to your topic and your argument.
Know how to write a proper conclusion that supports your research.
One of the most overlooked areas of academic essay writing is the conclusion. Your conclusion is what ties all your research together to prove your thesis. It should not be a restatement of your introduction or a copy-and-paste of your thesis itself. A proper conclusion quickly outlines the key evidence discussed in the body of an essay and directly ties it to the thesis to show how this evidence proves or disproves the main argument of one's research. There have been countless great essays written, only to be derailed by vague, weakly worded conclusions. Don't let your next essay be one of those.
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You've created the blueprint for a perfect paper: outlined the framework, devised a great thesis statement and located enough evidence to support your argument. What remains to be done, is to analyze those facts in original and intriguing ways.
If you've been told time and time again that you express great ideas in your essay writing but your writing needs polishing, you aren't alone. The following tips will help improve your writing skills and turn you into a great writer.
Movie buffs and bookworms can tell a bestseller from a dud within the first few moments. The same is true of any thesis statement you write.
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By Julie Petersen
Online Learning Tips, Guest Contributor
Essay writing skills are important for successful careers in all professions. Whether you decide to be a marketing expert, manager, journalist, small business owner, teacher, or an engineer, you will always benefit from the ability to express yourself through well-structured content.
Communication in today’s business world is based on emails, reports, and other forms of written expression. If you don’t master the art of writing throughout your years as a student, you would be undermining your own chances of success.
In the following list you will find 15 awesome tools that will help you become a better essay writer:
- Statement of Purpose
This website’s goal is to help students with their admission papers. It is very important to understand what a statement of purpose is before you start completing your application documents. The guidelines provided at this site will teach you how to write a unique personal essay that will present you as a successful applicant.
- Guide to Writing a Basic Essay
At this website, you will not only get useful tips that will help you deal with the structure of a basic essay, but you’ll also find a great collection of links to other guides. Depending on the type of project you are working on, you can find resources that will help you understand it. In addition, you will find grammar and style resources that will turn you into a better writer.
The free membership at this website comes with great benefits. First of all, you will get a free online writing portfolio, as well as an effective way to share your own work. The features of this website may not be that important if you’re not planning on becoming a professional writer, but they will definitely help you get productive feedback on your papers.
The contests and activities will motivate you to write more and write better!
- How To Write An Essay
This is a very detailed guide written by someone who understands the troubles students go through when writing essays. Kimberly Chapman’s site has lessons on research, proposal, planning, compiling notes, writing, and finishing the essay. In addition, you can go through the examples of good and bad academic writing to see what your professors expect you to deliver.
- The Easy Essay
This is an automated tool that will help you organize the process of writing essays. Thanks to the translator, the program is effective in any language. Students at all levels can use The Easy Essay to organize their projects, since the concept can be expanded from the basic 5-paragraph paper to a format of 17 paragraphs.
- Essay Mama
This online writing agency has hired professional PhD writers and tutors, that is why you can get valuable assistance with essay writing, as well as advice that will help you discover and develop your inner talent. The blog section of the website is a real revelation; it features awesome infographics and writing tips that will inspire you to practice more.
The glossary of essay terms, citation generator, and wordcounter are great tools that will help you go through different stages of the writing process.
- Thesis Builder
The thesis statement, is an essential part of the overall paper and it can determine the success of the project. If you get stuck at this point, there is no way to come up with a good paper. Thesis Builder is an efficient tool that will help you create an acceptable thesis statement. You can see examples, but you can also generate your own thesis by inserting the needed determinants and allowing the tool to do its job.
- Essay Forum
Do you have specific questions about essay writing? At Essay Forum, you can get help throughout the various stages of research, writing and editing. Remember: you can gain the greatest benefits if you provide your own contributions, so don’t be shy to become part of the community.
- Today’s Best College Essays
When you need inspiration for your own papers, it’s best to take a look at great samples of academic writing. You can read hundreds of papers provided by students from different countries. The search tool at the website enables you to find samples of essays written on topics similar to the one you are currently elaborating on.
This is one of the best literary analysis platforms on the web. Novelguide provides educational resources that enable students to understand contemporary and classic literature better. If you are having difficulties writing a book review, this is the website you should turn to. Analyses of new books are constantly being added, so make sure to check each week for new titles.
- Essay Map
There is one certain way to make the writing process easier: create an essay map. You need to enter the name and the topic of your essay, and you’ll start going through an interactive mapping process that will guide you through specific stages. Another way to benefit from this tool is to print out the blank map and write the main points of your essay.
- Daily Writing Tips
If you want to work on your writing skills, this website is an inevitable addition in your arsenal of tools. You can read daily articles focused on spelling, grammar, vocabulary, usage, and everything in between.
As you progress through the different aspects of the writing process, you will inevitably notice an improvement in your capacity to handle academic assignments.
- Hemingway App
This is arguably the most efficient automatic editing tool out there. Before you submit your essays, you should always make sure they are readable. Some students think they will get better grades if they write “eloquent” content with confusing, lengthy sentences. They are wrong. You should always aim for clarity, and Hemingway is the app that will help you achieve that goal.
- The Readability Test Tool
This is another tool that can help you make your content more readable. It tests your work according to five formulas: Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease, Flesch Kincaid Grade Level, ARI, Gunning Fog Score, and Coleman Liau Index.
Referencing has to be one of the most challenging aspects of academic writing. It’s not only boring, but detailed and nerve-wracking as well. You clearly want to make this part of your work simpler, so you’ll appreciate RefMe — a free, automatic tool that enables you to generate citations, bibliographies and reference lists in the appropriate format.
About the Author
Julie Petersen is a tutor and a blogger, who features the latest career and educational trends in her articles. At present time she is working on her first ebook dedicated to online learning. You may see Julie’s latest publications and contact her via Linkedin.
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