Academic essay writing is one of the most popular assignments in high school and college. Essays are used to evaluate your understanding of the topic or measure the skills and abilities that you were supposed to acquire during the course. Some people confuse essays with research papers. While very often both terms can be used interchangeably as synonyms, research paper implies that you definitely, always, have to complete scholarly research for your paper, while some kinds of essays can be well written without any research at all. Personal essay, reflective essay, narrative essay, informal essay - all these are types of essays that don't require research on other sources, they entail your opinion, creative skills, imagination, and good writing. Other types of essays, such as argumentative essay, cause and effect essay, analytic essay, controversial essay, pros & cons essay, and many others may need a certain amount of research.
Notwithstanding whether you have to conduct research for your essay or not, you have to follow these steps to ensure good quality of your essay:
1. Define your topic. Your topic should go in line with the information that you study in your class but should go deeper than the info you have already learned. You have to find an issue that interests you and what you want to discuss. Then narrow down this topic to one definite question, and if possible (if the type of essay calls for it), come up with a thesis statement.
2. Now do brainstorming. This might be either research into sources that can help you (whenever your paper requires research), or reflection on your topic, what you know, what your experience says, what are you feel regarding the discussed matter.
3. Write a brief outline of your essay. This might not necessarily be a flowing text, you might just build a structure for your paper and define which idea will be discussed in what place of your paper, and how it connects to your thesis and other ideas.
4. Write your paper. Don't forget that you should follow classic essay structure of introduction (where you state your topic, why it interest you, and lay down thesis statement), body (where you present support for your thesis in the form of analysis of sources, your reflections, experiences, life examples of logical investigation) and conclusion, where you state whether arguments that you have used support your thesis, and what are your judgments and proposals regarding it.
5. If you use other resources, don't forget to properly cite them and include a full bibliographical description of all these sources in Bibliography or Works cited page of your paper. Be careful to cite all the points that were borrowed from other authors, otherwise, you may qualify for plagiarism. Don't forget that it's an academic essay and it should always follow academic rules of proper recognition of all contributing authors.
6. Check your paper for consistency, spelling, grammar, flowing language, the logic of arguments, support of your thesis. Check if the paper logically flows, does not diverge from its topic, if every paragraph is connected to your thesis, if conclusions are appropriate.
7. If you have time before submission, you may leave your paper for some time and then get back to it later. It's always good to review your work with a fresh head, you may notice some moments you need to change or something useful that can be added to the paper.
These are brief instructions on academic essay writing. If you follow these steps, you will find that essay writing is not that difficult, and the more your practice, the easier it will get for you to write another academic essay.
More guides in academic essay writing from Personal-Writer.com
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