Formal academic essay style

A good introduction does three things:.


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A conclusion typically does one of two things—or, of course, it can do both:. Body paragraphs help you prove your thesis and move you along a compelling trajectory from your introduction to your conclusion. If your thesis is a simple one, you might not need a lot of body paragraphs to prove it. An easy way to remember the parts of a body paragraph is to think of them as containing the MEAT of your essay:.

M ain Idea. The part of a topic sentence that states the main idea of the body paragraph. All of the. E vidence. The parts of a paragraph that prove the main idea. You might include different types of. Keep in mind that different disciplines have different ideas about what counts as evidence and they adhere to different citation styles. Examples of evidence include…. A nalysis.

Use synonyms and paraphrasing so that you do not repeat all your main points word for word. Linking words clarify for the reader how one point relates to another. An essay flows cohesively when ideas and information relate to each other smoothly and logically. You should also avoid repeating key names and words too many times. Instead, use pronouns that refer back to earlier key words. We use cookies to improve your experience. You consent to the use of our cookies if you proceed.

Essay writing

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How much should I write? Essay structure Here are some ideas for structuring your essay.

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How to structure an essay | Oxbridge Essays

The introduction Remember that these are the first words your marker will read, so always try to make a great first impression, to ensure that you provide your marker with a clear and accurate outline of what is to follow in your essay. Provide background information about the topic.


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  • Introduce and define some of the key concepts discussed in the essay. Respond directly to the essay question and clearly state what your essay intends to achieve. Provide an overview of some of the main points, or direction, of the essay.

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    Be sure to revise the introduction in your final draft, so that it accurately reflects any changes you may have made to the body and conclusion of your essay Body paragraphs Start each paragraph with a topic sentence. This is the main point of your paragraph and everything within this paragraph should relate back to it.

    So make a rough timetable. Use the remaining days to review your work at well-spaced intervals. This will help you look more objectively at your own work. The whole process is very much an iterative one and you should expect to be writing more than one draft. As you are required to process your work electronically, editing and re-drafting is a relatively easy task.

    Basic Essay Structure

    Although this may sound obvious, a lot of essays lose marks for containing material that is simply irrelevant. Make sure that you read the assignment sheet thoroughly and are sure about what it asks for before you start reading for the essay. While you are reading, bear in mind what sort of material you are looking for in order to address the assigned topic.

    Even if you do come across a lot of interesting material when researching for your essay, be selective. Remember that relevance does not only apply to the material you use, but also the way that you use it. Summarizing each relevant research area for an essay does not constitute an answer: you have to orient the material you use towards the assigned topic.

    Part of what you need to learn consists of relationships among ideas. It is also a good policy to check your final draft with this in mind. Read each paragraph and ask yourself whether it addresses the topic. It is all too easy to drift away from the point. An important skill of essay writing is learning how to structure what you want to say.

    All essays should have an introduction and a conclusion. In a technical write-up, the order is often prescribed or logically dictated by the material e. But even in a technical write-up the introductory section may itself be like a mini-essay that aims to make a point. Finally, make it clear where your introduction ends and the rest of your essay begins; i. A well-structured essay should consist of a series of paragraphs that progress logically through the series of points that you intend to cover.

    Obviously, the difficult part is working out what that order should be. In essence, an essay is an argument, so your structure should be based on the particulars of your argument. Imagine a reader, then try to predict their objections to your argument, and then demonstrate why they are wrong. Your essay should have a definite ending, in the form of a conclusion.

    Academic Essay Writing: Some Guidelines

    Here you should summarize what it is that you have said in your essay, stating what your answer to the question is and why. Often, there is no simple answer which is why you are writing an essay, and not a two-mark answer on a class test , so you should state what the complexities of the issue are. You may feel that you are repeating yourself, as the body of your essay should have made your argument clear already, but the reader will appreciate a good summary. Originality is one of the hardest things to achieve in an essay, but any effort you make at being original will be noticed by the marker.

    You can still achieve originality in a number of smaller ways, such as making up your own examples rather than using ones straight from books, relating popular examples to your own experience, or perhaps trying to make new connections between particular viewpoints. This shows the person reading your essay that you have engaged with the topic and really thought about it, rather than just regurgitating what you read in the course textbook, or whatever. Reading through some other books or papers in addition to, say, the two or three that everyone else is using, is also likely to help you to gain a wider perspective on the question you are studying.