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What exactly is an academic essay? In a very basic nutshell, an academic essay consists of a structured type of writing in which students address a single theme or issue in order to present some new ideas or points of view. The most typical purposes for such written writing are to present some fresh pieces of data or to utilize already known facts and concepts to bring about new insights. Either way, the process serves to demonstrate a student's ability to apply certain research techniques in order to solve a given problem.
The first part of any academic essay--the introduction--sets up the overall tone of the piece. This is usually an essay that begins with a thesis statement, commonly referred to as the opening statement, which summarizes the major points of the body of the work. The thesis statement should be well established in its own right by the middle of the essay, though it may be touched up at the end if it seems necessary. The introduction is essential for the reader to get a good idea of where the writer is going with his or her writing.
The next part of any academic essay--the body--outlines the main ideas involved in the body of work. This generally takes the form of a detailed discourse on a particular issue, idea, or field. It can even go into wide-ranging discussions on a number of different topics. Parts can even comprise separate sections of the same essay, such as an introduction to a set of issues or a comparison of two or more topics. Parts may also include a conclusion detailing one's views on the issue at hand.
One of the most important aspects of academic writing is the argument. This is where a writer employs sound reasoning and various examples to support his or her views. Academic essays often deal with wide and varied subjects, so there will be plenty of space for argument in such a written piece. But that does not mean that a writer can afford to use excessive arguments. Such overt forms of persuasion should be kept to a bare minimum, and a writer needs only to provide enough supporting evidence to warrant the conclusion he or she desires to reach.
Another way to approach the problem of writing a persuasive academic essay is to determine the major points to be argued within the body of work. These points can then be classified in two general categories: descriptive and expository. A descriptive essay often focuses on presenting information about a specific topic. As such, it may point out factual information, general observations, or even the history of a particular topic to paint a vivid picture for the reader about that particular subject. An expository essay, on the other hand, is meant to present ideas in support of some central idea or theme.
In the case of academic essay writing, a good outline is almost always required. A well-developed outline gives one a guide to organize one's thoughts and avoid confusion. One can create a detailed outline by breaking down each of the essay's sections into smaller ones. A detailed outline not only makes the task easier, but can also serve as a useful reference for future writing. While working on the introduction or the conclusion of a piece, for instance, it is easy to glance back at the outline to get an idea about how to approach a certain discussion or how to conclude it.
After completing the outline, the writer can then proceed to the writing itself. The first step involves putting down all of the main body paragraphs and identifying the topic or matter to be discussed within each paragraph. While working on the body paragraphs, it is important to stick to the outline, making sure to include all necessary details, especially when dealing with technical topics such as proofs and specifications. In order to ensure that the essay is structured correctly, it is always wise to refer to the outline prior to actually writing the bulk of the paper.
Another way to develop good academic essay topics is to consider the culture of the writer and the audience. The writer may have a personal interest in a particular aspect of the chosen topic, but this will not always be clearly expressed. On the other hand, a topic that strikes a chord with the reader because of its relevance to a wider issue could easily be written with greater eloquence and clarity than another that is written with no such consideration.
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