An Academic Essay and Its Main Features

There are different types of writing assignments in modern educational establishments in the US, but the top position takes an academic essay. The requirements for each essay (lengths, topic, type of argumentation, etc.) depend on the teacher’s requirements. The following guideline will show you how to construct the generally accepted essay for the US academic settings.

Though there are different definitions of academic essays, students usually call it “a paper on the subject.” For sure, learners will have to write many other papers such as book reports, journal reviews, research papers, thesis, etc., but the most commonly assigned piece of writing will be an essay. Sometimes students are not sure what the purpose of writing is, but this fact changes a lot. You should choose the type of essay writing, if it is not specified in professor’s requirements:

  • Analyze a topic
  • Explore an idea
  • Present information
  • Reflect on a subject
  • Compare and contrast objects/events
  • Respond to an argument
  • Show the process in detail

It is just a small list of what one can present in the essay. If you do not know how to write any type of essay, you can always find an academic essay format and similar samples on the web just to see how to organize your ideas. Professors assign essay writing if they want to see how students can demonstrate their knowledge on paper. However, apart from their personal knowledge, most likely, students will have to include outside research on the topic, which complicates the task. Conducting a research takes much time, especially if learners do not know what they are looking for. In your paper, try to use a variety of sources: books, articles, interviews, etc. Your professor might provide you some specific instructions like “Use 5 printed sources and 2 credible online sources.”

The Introduction

Students who do not know how to write an academic essay usually find it very challenging to create an introduction. The biggest problem is to begin writing because one has to know for sure what details to include in the beginning. Introduction must entail a hint into what the paper will discuss. It should also show the type of writing, be it informative writing or persuasive. Since it is an opening paragraph, you have to be careful with the selection of details. Your task is to interest the reader. It can be done only if you include a hook that will impress the reader and make him or her explore the paper till the end. In introductory paragraphs, professors usually ask to:

  • Mention the subject of your academic essay, or “set the scene.”
  • Mention the importance of discussion and establish the essay purpose.
  • Give a hint into the scope of writing.
  • Include a thesis statement in the last sentence of introduction.
  • Set the tone of essay writing.

Effective academic writing is what professors expect to see in students’ papers. Sometimes professors determine the effectiveness of essays by reading introduction only. Therefore, focus largely on the thesis statement that should catch attention of your readers.

Main Body

There should be no more than 2-4 main body paragraphs. Every paragraph should discuss, describe, define, explain, suggest, and explore the subject matter. Main body paragraphs should be based on one single principle – to inform the reader or persuade. Every main body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence, which should be directly related to the thesis statement. Use effective evidential support to prove your claims, but remember that all borrowed ideas must be cited. Sometimes students ask “What is academic writing.” The answer is that it is an art of paying attention to numerous details like thesis statement, topic sentences, tone of writing, etc.

Conclusion

It is a short summary of the key points discussed in the paper. According to the academic writing structure, conclusion should not present any new details about the topic. The length of conclusion should be approximately the same as in introduction. In this paragraph, you have to provide answer to the question “So what?” by restating your thesis statement.