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A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing An Academic Essay

Academic Essay

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Whether you’re new to academic writing or simply need a refresher, this step-by-step guide will take you through the process of creating a top-notch essay, from formulating your argument to crafting an engaging introduction to your work. Read on to learn the tricks of the trade and make sure your next paper is worthy of an A!

Introduction: What is an Academic Essay?

An academic essay is a specific writing genre for an essay writer—as is the love letter, newspaper editorial, or pop-fiction. As a genre, it functions within a set of norms, rules, and conventions. The purpose of this discussion is to make clear to you what those rules and norms are, and how to use them to express your argument in an essay. 


An academic essay should be a logical, well-reasoned argument in support of a thesis statement (an idea or position that you propose). It should be based on evidence—both primary sources (texts or other artifacts that you analyze) and secondary sources (scholarly articles or books that discuss your texts or artifacts). An academic essay should present an arguable thesis—an assertion or claim that can be debated. It should be supported by evidence. And it should be debatable; there should be room for others to disagree with your thesis statement.

Writing an Academic Essay

The academic essay is a common assignment in college and university, and its purpose is to assess a student’s ability to articulate an argument in writing. The essay should be well-organized and well-written, with a clear thesis statement that sets out the main argument of the paper. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll take you through the process of writing an academic essay from start to finish.


Before you begin writing your essay, it’s important to understand what the assignment is asking of you. Read the prompt carefully and make sure you understand what it is asking. Once you’ve done that, brainstorm some ideas for your essay. What are some points you could make to support your thesis? Once you have a few ideas down, it’s time to start drafting your essay.


Start by writing a draft of your introduction. Introductions should introduce the main argument of the paper and set up the structure of the rest of the essay.Next, write the body paragraphs of your essay. Each body paragraph should focus on one main point that supports your thesis statement. Make sure to include evidence from sources to back up your points. Finally, write a conclusion that summarizes your main points and leaves the reader with something to think about.


With these steps in mind, writing an academic essay should be easy! Just remember to stay organized, focused, and supported by evidence throughout your paper.

Brainstorming Ideas

Brainstorming is a critical part of the writing process. It allows you to generate ideas and narrow down your focus. To brainstorm effectively, start by freewriting. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write down whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation, just get your ideas out. Once you’ve got some material to work with, start narrowing down your topics. Ask yourself what the main points of your essay will be and jot them down. From there, you can start to flesh out your ideas and develop a plan for your essay.

Outlining the Essay Structure

A well-structured essay should be divided into an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each section should start with a strong opening sentence that introduces the topic of the paragraph. The body paragraphs should provide support for the main idea of the essay, and each paragraph should end with a conclusion sentence that wraps up the point being made in that section. The conclusion of the essay should restate the main idea of the paper and leave the reader with something to think about.

Writing the Introduction

The introduction of an academic essay is the first opportunity for you to make a good impression on your reader. It sets the tone for the rest of the essay and should grab the reader’s attention. The introduction should be brief, but not so brief that it doesn’t give the reader a good sense of what the essay will be about. It should also be clear and concise.


A good way to start an introduction is with a broad statement that can be later narrowed down. This could be something like, “The issue of global warming has been debated for many years.” After this opening sentence, you would then want to provide some background information on the topic. This could include statistics or other data to help support your claim in the opening sentence.


After providing some background information, you can then begin to narrow down your focus and present your thesis statement. The thesis statement is the main argument of your essay and should be clear and concise. For example, if you are writing about global warming, your thesis statement could be something like, “Global warming is a real and pressing problem that needs to be addressed.”


Once you have presented your thesis statement, you can then begin to provide evidence to support it. This evidence can come in the form of research data, expert opinions, or personal anecdotes. Whatever evidence you choose to use, make sure that it is relevant and supports your argument.


Finally, conclude your introduction by briefly previewing the main points of your essay.

Developing the Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are the meat of your essay, where you provide evidence and examples to support your thesis statement. To write an effective body paragraph, you need to:


  1. Start with a topic sentence that introduces the main point of your paragraph.
  2. Develop your point with specific details and examples.
  3. Use transitional phrases to move from one point to the next.
  4. Conclude your paragraph with a concluding sentence that sums up your main point or leaves the reader with something to think about.

Crafting a Powerful Conclusion

It is often said that a good beginning makes a good ending. This adage applies to writing an academic essay as well. A powerful conclusion can make the difference between an essay that is merely adequate and one that is truly outstanding. Here are some tips for crafting a powerful conclusion:


  1. Restate the main argument of your essay in different words.


  1. Summarize the key points that you have made in your body paragraphs.


  1. Give a final example or illustration that supports your main argument.


  1. End with a strong statement or call to action that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.


Tips and Tricks for Writing an Effective Academic Essay


  1. Start by brainstorming a list of ideas for your essay. Jot down everything that comes to mind, and you can always narrow down your list later on.


  1. Once you have a list of ideas, start narrowing them down into potential topics for your essay. Choose a topic that you’re interested in and that you think will make for a good essay.


  1. Once you have your topic, it’s time to start doing some research. Look for academic sources that can help you learn more about your topic. Take notes as you read, and be sure to keep track of where each piece of information came from so you can cite it properly later on.


  1. Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to start writing! Begin by drafting an outline of your essay, which will help you organize your thoughts and structure your argument. Then, start writing the body of your essay, using evidence from your research to support your points.


  1. Finally, wrap up your essay with a conclusion that restates your main argument and leaves the reader with something to think about.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, writing an academic essay can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can approach the task with confidence and ease. And, with a little practice, you’ll be able to write an essay that is both well-organized and clear.


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