Saturday, November 6, 2010
Academic Essays: Help for Students
Put simply, academic essays are logical arguments. Using resources, the student makes a point. With proper planning, academic essays can be written with only a few simple components: Heading, Introduction, Thesis Statement, Body, Conclusion and Citations.
The format for your Heading will likely change depending on the class you are taking, however common headings usually format your name, date, and class on the left or right hand margin. The title of your academic essay is then centered below. The Introduction is your first three or four sentences to draw in the reader. Demonstrate to them in words why they should care about your topic, how it is relevant in every day life. What stands out about your essay? A Thesis Statement is a declaration of intent directly after your introduction. It is the last sentence in your Introduction paragraph. You used the first three or four sentences to build up a rapport with your reader and get their attention, you use the last sentence to tell them your main point of the essay.
The real action in an academic essay happens in the Body. This is where you use research to make your point crystal clear. A body for a short essay is about three paragraphs long, with each paragraph dealing with a certain aspect of the original Thesis Statement. Your conclusion is essentially a summary of what your paper has proven. Take the main ideas from your paper, squeeze them into one paragraph, and you have your conclusion. Finally, your citations are arguably the most important part of your paper. Citations provide credibility and are essential when writing in academic settings. If you do not take extra care making sure your citations are accurate, you may be accused of plagiarism.
Constructing an essay requires planning. Most often, academic essays go through a series of development stages before any actual writing takes place. Your instructor may place special restrictions on particular assignments, but there are three basic documents you can assemble as resources to help you construct the final paper.
The Summary is a simple and concise description of the content in your essay. If you prepare one in advance, it may even be able to be edited and used as your introduction, thesis statement or conclusion. An Outline is hierarchically structured document that helps centralize the core ideas of an essay and build upon a foundation.
Note taking prior to writing a paper is crucial – do not attempt to read a source word for word and then directly write the information into your paper. In this case, the writing becomes more of a puzzle of how you can reword an author’s work and call it your own – otherwise known as plagiarism. Go through your resources ahead of time and take notes in your own words. Make sure to also write down citations from where the notes are taken. You don’t have to worry about wording everything properly, just get the basic ideas out on paper.
When you finally sit down to write your paper, you will already have all of the information for your paper written in your own words, and you will merely have to translate your notes into a more formal style. If you copied your citations down, then your paper is practically written for you before you even sit down for your first draft. If you have any questions or are interested in receiving help with any of the above, feel free to contact our blog.