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Academic Writing

Basic academic essays have three main parts:

  1. introduction
  2. body
  3. conclusion

 

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Writing an Essay

Writing an Introduction

  • Section One is a neutral sentence that will engage the reader’s interest in your essay.
  • Section Two picks up the topic you are writing about by identifying the issues that you are going to explore.
  • Section Three is an indication of how the question will be answered. Give a brief outline of how you will deal with each issue, and in which order.

An introduction generally does three things. The first section is usually a general comment that shows the reader why the topic is important, gets their interest, and leads them into the topic. It isn’t actually part of your argument. The next section of the introduction is the thesis statement. This is your response to the question; your final answer. It is probably the most important part of the introduction. Finally, the last section of an introduction tells the reader what they can expect in the essay body. This is where you briefly outline your arguments.

 

Here is an example of the introduction to the question - Discuss how media can influence children. Use specific examples to support your view.

Example of an introduction

Writing Body Paragraphs

  • The topic sentence introduces the topic of your paragraph.
  • The sentences that follow the topic sentence will develop and support the central idea of your topic.
  • The concluding sentence of your paragraph restates the idea expressed in the topic sentence.

The essay body itself is organized into paragraphs, according to your plan. Remember that each paragraph focuses on one idea, or aspect of your topic, and should contain at least 4-5 sentences so you can deal with that idea properly.

Each body paragraph has three sections. First is the topic sentence. This lets the reader know what the paragraph is going to be about and the main point it will make. It gives the paragraph’s point straight away. Next, come the supporting sentences, which expand on the central idea, explaining it in more detail, exploring what it means, and of course giving the evidence and argument that back it up. This is where you use your research to support your argument. Then there is a concluding sentence. This restates the idea in the topic sentence, to remind the reader of your main point. It also shows how that point helps answer the question.

Body paragraph example

Writing a Conclusion

  • Re-read your introduction – this information will need to be restated in your conclusion emphasizing what you have proven and how you have proven it.
  • Begin by summarizing your main arguments and restating your thesis; e.g. "This essay has considered….."
  • State your general conclusions, explaining why these are important.
  • The final sentences should draw together the evidence you have presented in the body of the essay to restate your conclusion in an interesting way (use a transitional word to get you started e.g. Overall, Therefore).

The last section of an academic essay is the conclusion. The conclusion should reaffirm your answer to the question, and briefly summarize key arguments. It does not include any new points or new information.

A conclusion has three sections. First, repeat the thesis statement. It won’t use the exact same words as in your introduction, but it will repeat the point: your overall answer to the question based on your arguments. Then set out your general conclusions, and a short explanation of why they are important. Finally, draw together the question, the evidence in the essay body, and the conclusion. This way the reader knows that you have understood and answered the question. This part needs to be clear and concise.

Conclusion example