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You learn a lot in educational institutions, and not all of it can be found in the curriculum provided. A huge number of skills you acquire have mastered on your own – managing time effectively, conducting extensive research, and making ramen noodles in a coffee pot, too.
Another crucial skill you need to master on your own is academic writing. Academic writing isn't similar to other kinds of writing – it is formal and objective. And, for countless students who have just set foot in a grad school or university, it can be hugely challenging and arduous.
However, once you break down the fundamentals of academic writing and investigate them piece by piece, you will realize they are nothing to be afraid of. Undeniably, there are certain rules that you need to follow, but once you have got the hang of those rules, you will be on your way to the books of your strictest professors.
Today's comprehensive post aims to walk you through the essentials of academic writing. Here, we have outlined the true definition of an academic essay, the types of essays, and the critical features of an academic paper, along with certain unique topics and ideas for a unique essay that will help you sail through your next writing task like a champion.
Let’s dig right in!
Simply put, an academic essay is a structured writing form most students encounter in school, college, and university as a part of their curriculum. The most common objective of such writing is to offer certain new pieces of information or to use existing knowledge and facts to deliver specific ideas. This kind of writing enables students to exhibit their creativity and knowledge. It also motivates them to develop their ideas to communicate a specific message.
An academic essay's length may range between 500 to as much as 50,000 words. However, most academic essays are approximately 500 to 4000 words or more. This specific range allows the writer to develop and support an argument with credible information sources.
Compared to other kinds of academic writing, academic essays are generally shorter in length and enable the author to support their arguments. Here are certain essential rules you must keep in mind to craft an academic essay like a pro-
When you write an academic essay keeping all these important rules in mind, helps develop your academic writing skills early. These are the skills you will require to carry forward throughout your educational career and lifetime. Additionally, students who are excellent at crafting academic essays can articulate themselves more clearly and tend to have more confidence while speaking.
Clear till now? We are sure you are. Let's now understand the different types of academic essays you will need to write in your educational career!
Academic writing can be classified into four main kinds of essays that serve distinct purposes – even though some share similar structures. Having said that, the four main types of academic essays are narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive.
Let's now break down each type of academic essay below –
To narrate indicates telling a story. A narrative essay is mainly crafted based on the different personal experiences of the writer. This essay should describe past or present experiences, how you reacted to a situation, how you felt, or things you thought about a specific discussion.
Though narrating a compelling story is the key objective of this kind of essay, there is much more to it than it seems. A remarkably crafted narration should always include a point that is 'written between the lines.’ It should have a clear message delivered through the text. When you put a hidden message between the lines, you inspire the reader to go through the essay in its entirety as it sparks their curiosity.
As the word implies, the aim of descriptive essays is to demonstrate something, an emotion, a sound, a person, or an event with the use of words. The writer should illustrate something to make the reader feel, hear, or see what he/she is unfolding.
Writing such an essay will generally include immersing the five senses – feeling, tasting, hearing, smelling, and seeing. When crafting this kind of paper, you must always remember one thing – to show and not to tell.
In this kind of essay, the writer must perform a thorough investigation of different ideas, analyze the evidence, offer an expansion of the ideas, and finally develop an argument about a specific subject logically and clearly.
To write a stellar expository essay, one must go through an essay, a book, or a journal and then convey their opinion regarding specific readings. These essays are like gifts to writers since they offer them chances to express their minds without fear of being told that they are not right.
A persuasive essay is a kind of essay that requires offering logical arguments with an emotional appeal to sway readers to a specific point of view. In this paper, you must state an opinion or idea which you must sell to the readers. You must also cater your points wisely without being pushy and hiding your sales tactic behind remarkably thought-out sentences.
Further, when it comes to defending an argument, you can also use logical tactics, emotional tactics, or a mix of both.
The way a student crafts his/her academic paper can hugely vary on the intended audience and the methodological framework. A brilliantly crafted academic paper must always adhere to the below-enlisted stylistic elements –
Each academic essay requires a well-organized structure that makes it incredibly easy for the readers to comprehend the organization of thoughts and ideas. Always remember the basic structure of an academic essay should include the introduction, body paragraphs, and finally, the conclusion.
Organizing your essays in such a format will make it excessively easier for you to make the transition from one idea to another without any difficulty.
In most academic writing, you must offer your perspective regarding a specific topic. It is also essential to base your opinions on 'evidence-based reasoning.’ It is also important to include credible sources supporting all the ideas and information you incorporate in the paper.
Similarly, the strength of your argument should be based on the quality of the evidence. You may face challenges in convincing readers of the validity of the content. However, you can easily overcome this difficulty by using and citing the sources from where you acquired the information.
This indicates the selection of words. While writing an academic essay, it is significant to be cautious of the words you use, as numerous words with similar denotations may have various connotations.
This is especially important as using words that may have more than one meaning may cause difficulties for the reader to properly understand the intended meaning. Hence, it is always necessary to use concrete words that have a specific meaning.
When crafting an academic essay, it is also vital to be clear and precise when it comes to the usage of vocabulary. Always refrain from using any kind of slang words. You must also refrain from making your paragraphs wordy by using countless words to convey a simple meaning.
Now that you are well-versed in the essential features of an academic paper, let's go to the next section to find out the common mistakes you must avoid when writing any kind of academic paper!
Read also: Write a Research Proposal
When it comes to academic writing, your ability to express your ideas and arguments clearly can make all the difference in the world. Whether you are aiming to score high grades or looking to be the apple in the eyes of your favorite professor, writing well is crucial.
Unfortunately, many of you tend to make mistakes that detract from the quality of the work. Here are certain things you should avoid in academic writing to make sure your essays are always clear, concise, and error-free –
It is never wise to make your essays excessively long to the extent that they sound mundane to the readers or even too short that you miss focusing on the critical points. To make sure you do not do this, it is essential to avoid composing sentences that are too lengthy and wordy to the extent that it becomes challenging to follow up on the key ideas.
You can prevent this mistake when you do enough practice and get feedback every time after writing from your educators or peers.
Even though you are asked to craft detailed and meaningful papers, it doesn't mean that you will not filter the information you will provide in the paper. Your key objective is to present the topic to readers while providing them with adequate but narrowed information.
To avoid including excessive information and multiple facts, try to stick to the paper's prompt. Ensure to incorporate only the key information your paper requires. Further, while revising and editing, you can exclude all unnecessary facts and information.
Incorporating a weak argument is another common error that can detract from the quality of your academic essays. Without a strong thesis statement and supporting evidence, your paper will come across as unconvincing and unfocused.
To avoid this, begin your essay with a clear and concise thesis statement that outlines the paper's key point. Make use of enough evidence to support the thesis statement. This can be statistics, research studies, or any other credible sources. Additionally, use logical reasoning and critical thinking to support the arguments. This implies using sound and evidence-based reasoning to make your arguments strong.
Undoubtedly, when a student fails to revise their work, it includes ample punctuation, grammar, and spelling errors. This leads to a mediocre academic paper even though you have written a well-researched paper.
You can prevent this kind of mistake by proofreading and editing your work thoroughly before turning it in for grading. Typos, contextual errors, poor grammar, wrong sentence structure, and spelling errors can discourage the readers from going through your entire paper.
Read also: Write a Research Proposal
As much as it is essential to use formal language and adhere closely to style guides while writing an academic essay, it must also follow a clear structure. This specific structure should depend on the kind of writing being produced.
Unless instructed otherwise, it will always follow the below-enlisted outline –
The introduction is one of the most significant parts of an academic essay as it sets the stage for what's to come. It should always offer background information on the topic, establish the paper's purpose, and clearly state the thesis. The key objective of the introduction is to engage your readers and make them want to go through the rest of the paper.
The literature review is an essential component of an academic essay as it offers a foundation for the rest of the research. The objective of a literature review in the paper is to summarise and synthesize previous research on a subject chosen and determine gaps in the existing knowledge. The literature review must be more than simply a list of articles and books and an evaluation of the relevant literature.
The next section is the methodology, where you need to describe the methods used to conduct your research. This segment is a chance to explain the steps you undertook to answer your research question and justify why you selected these methods.
Here, you should define the research question, select the right methods, explain your methodology in detail, justify the chosen methods, and address ethical considerations. Also, remember to write a detailed, precise, and transparent methodology so that others can easily comprehend and replicate your study if necessary.
The resulting segment of the academic essay is where you need to present the research findings. This section must be concise, clear, and objective. It should also present the data without any discussion or interpretation. Further, the results must be organized logically and incorporate tables, figures, and other remarkable visual aids as necessary.
Here, you need to interpret the results of the research and relate them to your research question and broader literature. This segment is the perfect chance to conclude, give recommendations, and reflect on the strengths and restrictions of your study. Also, remember this section must be well-organized and offer a brief interpretation of the results.
The conclusion is the final segment, where you need to summarise the key points of the argument and offer closure to the readers. This segment must be concise and to the point, reiterate the paper's key points, and offer a final perspective on the subject.
It should also be written in a way that reflects on the implications of the research, taking into consideration the broader context of the study and its remarkable contributions to the field.
The ‘References’ of an academic essay is a vital component that offers a detailed list of the sources you utilized in your writing and research. The purpose of this section is to provide credit to the authors whose work you’ve used in the paper to offer evidence for your arguments. Doing this also helps in supporting the validity of the research.
Following the guidelines listed above, you can craft a clear and well-structured academic essay that effectively communicates your argument. You will also be able to support your claims with evidence and meet the expectations of your readers successfully.
Read also: How to Write an Essay with Ease
Writing stellar and impressive academic essays is no walk in the park. You will require guidance, consistency, determination, and adequate practice.
It is also a multi-step process that demands considerable time, effort, and dedication. But, by breaking this complex process down into manageable steps, you will be able to turn in a supreme quality essay that successfully meets the expectations of your readers and contributes to your professional or academic success. Good luck!
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