Why Did We Write This Guide?
The importance of essay writing can be better understood by students, struggling night-long to attain higher grades. A well-written essay can fetch you good marks; conversely, a poorly written one can shrink the overall GPA (Grade Point Average). We present to you an absolute guide that not only teaches the art of composing a quality essay, but also eliminates the flaws you come across. Some of the concepts may seem very familiar; however, this guide will give prominence to their orientation.
Who is this guide for?
This guide is intended to enhance the essay writing skills of students pursuing academic degrees. Whether you are a freshman in college or counting on last semester in PhD, essay writing is an inevitable task for all. We pledge to make this guide an all-time companion during your university years.
How to use this guide?
Made with best efforts, this guide is a student-friendly reference for all those who seek essay writing tips. Each section has a significant contribution to the creation of an outstanding essay. We highlight the chief principles of writing an academic essay backed with norms and rules, possible restraints and ways to overcome them. There will be no lagging behind once you are through with this guide. Let’s take a ride to the guide then…
What is an essay?
Essay is an academic piece of writing that methodically synthesizes and evaluates an issue or topic. Basically, an essay is designed to get your academic opinion on a significant topic.
Essays can be of various types, most importantly, there’s a particular rule for each type. Let’s throw some light on the 12 significant types of essays.
Essay Sample - The ethical treatment of shareholders and workers in a traditional, capitalist corporation
This essay requires you to investigate the ethical treatment of shareholders and workers in a traditional, capitalist corporation of your choice and compare and contrast your findings with the treatment of these stakeholders in the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation. Please choose an organization that you admire for its ethical behaviour rather than one...
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This specific form of essay involves investigation of an issue, evaluation of evidence and presentation of ideas with supportive arguments. Expository essays are fundamentally composed through contrast and comparison, examples, analysis of its cause and effect.
Learn more about expository essays here.
Expository Essay Here are three samples of expository essays for US, UK and Australian students.
A descriptive essay is exactly what it sounds like. Unlike expository essays, descriptive essays demand artistic flow of writing in order to create an image in reader’s mind. Descriptive details must be written in relation to the issue you are likely to discuss in the essay.
Full knowledge on descriptive essays can be gained here. Descriptive Essay Check out the sample too.
This is more like a story-telling! Choose a point of view and inscribe informative narration to the issue. However, professors have different criteria to judge the narrative format essays. Apart from grammar, punctuation and theme organization, professors usually look for narrative details, characterization, plot development and dialogue.
Get a detailed idea of narrative essays here. Narrative Essay Also, check this sample.
Also known as persuasive essay, it aims to persuade the reader to the writer’s point of view. You must take a stand on the issue and support your stance with adequate evidences. The essay may argue the point openly or make an attempt to persuade the reader subtly by using sarcasm or irony. Be alert to the other side of the argument as well; dismissing them completely will weaken your stand!
Learn more about argumentative essay here. Argumentative Essay And also view this sample.
Also known as application essay, it is written by a prospective student applying to some graduate school, college and university. The examiner evaluates your competencies with better insight and determines your efficiency over other applicants. In marginal cases, admission essays are used to decide whether an applicant will be selected or not.
Get a complete idea of admission essays here. Admission Essay Here is an admission essay of a successful candidate.
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Comparison essays call for a contrast between two things. In comparison essays, you are often asked to ‘analyze’ by putting the case for or against the issue. In this essay type, you are liable to compare different events, views, circumstances, people, etc. In addition, you need to be extremely clear about the purpose of the piece.
To know more on comparison essays, read here. Comparison Essay A sample on comparison essay written by a professional tutor.
It is intended to persuade the reader convincing them to accept your arguments, agree with the presented facts and conclusions. Make sure you have powerful means of evidence, statistics, quotes and examples to support your stance.
Want more information on persuasive essay? Read this. Persuassive Essay Also, go through this sample persuasive essay.
Personal essay is a written expression of your competencies as an applicant. This essay acts as an application package that represents you ‘personally’. The admission committee gets to know why you are an acceptable applicant for their program.
A comprehensive knowledge on personal essay can be gained here. Personal Essay Here is a personal essay which met success in an admission procedure.
The purpose of this essay is to deduce logical reasoning in the form of deductive argument. Deductive reasoning is based on a set of premises (clues) or circumstances, from where you can draw a reasonable assumption to state the situation or issue. Fundamentally, deductive essay writing include three chief parts i.e. premise, evidence and conclusion.
You can get more details on deductive essay here. Deductive Essay Read this sample deductive essay.
This form of essay calls for organization or sorting out of arguments in categories. The classification is made in a way to reveal the theme of essay in resemblance to the topic. Make sure each of the categories is provided with subsequent examples.Know more about classification essays here. Classification Essay Here is a sample classification essay.
A definitive essay is based on the meaning of definite terms. To be precise, terms like glass, printer, book (materialistic objects) has firm or definite meaning; however, love, honesty, friendship, honor are abstracts that depend on personal perspectives. Get appreciation on your definitive essay by following three prime steps: precise definition of terms that connects the reader well, clarity of information and presentation of enough facts and examples.
Get in-depth information on definitive essay here. Definition Essay A sample of definitive essay.
Informal essays represent relaxed expression of opinion and observations with less formal statement. A good informal essay follows a casual manner of writing a subject, but retains the rigid structure. The content of an informal essay tends to address a contemporary or topical issue, often personal. The point of essay is shown in an indirect fashion using quotes, illustrations, examples, narratives, opening anecdote, rhetorical questions etc.
To know more on informal essay, read here.
Informal Essay Also, go through this expertly written informal essay.
Essay Sample - Organised criminality poses a tangible threat to the health of a democratic nation
Organised crime can be defined as a category of local, national, or transnational groups who intend to engage in illegal activity for monetary benefits and profit. The organised crime groups often rely on individuals and communities who can help in generating profit or economically or otherwise. Organised crime groups have permeated societies and...
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Layers of Essay
We have more varieties of essays for you respective to their structure. Let’s have a glimpse of their significance!
Five Paragraph Essay
It mainly emphasize on the ‘five-paragraph’ format that starts with an introduction, three body paragraphs and lastly a conclusion. Introduction is traditionally composed of attention grabbing sentences! Body paragraphs include supporting evidences to your presented arguments. The conclusion summarizes the main points giving a final perspective on the issue.
Want to know more? Read here. Writing the essay in five paragraphsTo gain better understanding, go through this sample.
Three Layer Essay
It is popularly known as sandwich essays with three paragraphs presented in an appealing manner. The top slice considers the introduction with a catchy opening statement. The center forms the filing as in sandwiches. The center focuses on interesting details involving the reader throughout. The bottom slice forms the concluding paragraph summarizing the concepts discussed in previous paragraphs.
We have a separate article on three layered essay. You can read it here. Three layers of essay writing
Also, you can go through a three layer sample essay for better understanding
What does a good essay need?
An academic essay aims to persuade the readers of an idea based on evidences. The significance of a good academic essay includes the following:
- It should have a thesis statement (answer to specified question) and arguments to support it
- An academic essay should primarily present supporting evidences, relevant examples, substantial information from credible sources and academic texts
- The essay must be comprehensive to the reader in a logical and progressive way.
Importance of essay writing
Even before students get admission in universities, they have to pass through essay writing as a part of their application. Essay writing is an essential part of both learning process and professional field. Essays are assigned by professors as a method to evaluate the critical thinking skills, writing skills of students and their grasp of the course. Here we list the objectives of essay writing in brief:
- Time management, completion of task before the stipulated deadline
- Gathering information by utilizing appropriate resources and references
- Analysis and interpretation of assembled information (purposeful and reflective analysis involves critical thinking indeed!
- Essays are served as a tool to evaluate the knowledge of students by assessing their arguments, analytical approach to writing, communication of thoughts with clarity and the conclusion drawn at the end
- Good essay writing skills will transcend from university to real-life applications outside of academia.
How to quest for an essay topic?
You might encounter two conditions being a university student under strict professors.
1. Pre-assigned Topic
You have no choice to select a desirable one. Even if you are provided with one, jumping on to the next step would not be a fruitful attempt!
Think about the type of paper you are expected to produce. Frame in your mind, whether you need to present a specific analysis or illustration of the general overview. Make sure to be fairly specific to your topic, if you are asked to do so! However, you can easily move on to the next step if the paper demands a general overview.
For instance, if you have been asked to express general overview on ‘Australia’, the task is easy with anyone of us. The other way round, if you are asked to conduct specific analysis on the topic, streamline the essay like ‘Australia’s culture’ or ‘Politics in Australia’.
2. Topic is not Assigned
You have the liberty to choose a desirable topic, in case if you have not been assigned with one. Sometimes it makes the task even more intimidating. When you are free to choose a topic of your interest, follow the simple objectives.
- Purpose: Decide on the purpose of essay you are about to write. Is your purpose to persuade readers on a particular argument, to educate them on illustrated details or to guide people with a narrative approach or else a completely different attempt? The topic you choose must fit the purpose.
- Brainstorm subject of interest: Jot down the subjects of interest, once you are determined on the purpose of essay. You will get endless options of topics respective to the chosen purpose. If you find it difficult to settle on a particular topic, start looking around for more inkling. Is there anything that grabs your attention? Evaluate your life. What occupies your time the most? That might make a good topic!
- Evaluate the selected topics: Develop a pool of selected topics and consider each of them individually. Make sure, a number of ideas manifold when you brainstorm the topic. Try to stick with one of the topics that seem particularly appealing. You are all set to proceed in the essay-writing process once you are determined that the topic is suitable.
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Essay writing - the key stages
1. Starting the essay
Essay writing is not a linear process and you might have to work through various stages in the course of writing a ‘well-structured’ essay. Initiation of the essay involves the following steps.
- Start early: You can’t write a thriving essay unless you give yourself enough time to read, research, think and write. Do not procrastinate or delay until the last minute. Hence, start early!
- Analyze and define the task: Writing down everything you know about a topic does not make a good academic essay. Significant analysis of the question and drawing out the exact answer is the focus.
a) Make sure you understand the question and requisition of it.
b) Identify the keywords (whether it asks you to ‘analyze’ or simply ‘discuss’) and clarify the approach respective to the requirement.
- Construction of initial plan: Work out your initial ideas and thoughts on the topic and outline a preliminary essay plan that would help you through the research. An essay plan helps you with a host of benefits i.e. formulation of answers, identification of appropriate information, structuring of the essay, etc. However, as you begin to research and write the essay, the plan would probably change.
2. Research the Topic
Drawing the work of other researchers is a common feature of academic writing. However, improved essay writing would reflect in your assessment grades. Quality essay writing involves adequate research and reading.
3. Organize your Thoughts
Start organizing your research and ideas into answers. After you are done with enough of research, organize the ideas in a proficient manner.
- Settle on a possible answer to the question (on the basis of research you have done)
- Make up your mind on the information you choose to present the argument
- Look for the notes and present examples as evidence to support your argument
- Decide the significant points and order of discussion
Before bumping onto the writing process, frame out the first draft. Once you are prepared with an essay draft, you are halfway to completion. Use the draft as a raw material that will be further refined through editing and redrafting. A draft essay primarily works out on the following:
a) What evidences will you use?
b) Why these evidences are appropriate?
c) How these evidences support your argument?
Essay Sample - An essay titled "Fairness in Reward Allocation"
1. How important is organisational fairness (or organisational justice) in compensation management? What roles does organisational fairness (or organisational justice) play in reward allocation?
2. What factors might influence the implementation of fair human resource management practices in reward allocation?
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How to structure the essay?
While beginning the write-up, emphasize on a simplified structure to communicate your ideas and answers with clarity. This is a universal essay structure used by academicians.
The introduction must be designed to attract the reader’s attention. So try and make it catchy with precise and accurate attributes. We provide you with some ideas to create an attention grabber!
The information you present in the introduction must be verifiable and true to your knowledge; however, it doesn’t need to be entirely new and surprising to your readers. It could simply be a pertinent fact that unambiguously demonstrates the point you wish to present.
A few sentences in general terms explaining the topic. This can lead the reader gently through your essay where each sentence blooms out with more details, being more specific.
You can start with an anecdote that illustrates a point in a narrative manner. Make sure the anecdote is precise, to the point and relevant to your topic. Mind you! This can be an effective opener for the essay, if used carefully.
Your introduction, rather the ‘attention grabber’ must be written in a sentence or two. Remember, the paragraph should end with a thesis statement.
2. Compose thesis statement
Now that you have decided the information you are likely to present in your essay, get ready to compose a thesis statement. Be certain! A thesis statement forms the heart of your essay.
The thesis statement argues the point you are about to present in the essay. It is rather defined as the roadmap to the argument that you will develop in the essay paper. Your thesis statement must be concise, well-written and clearly asserted at the beginning of your paper.
Body of the essay is composed of paragraphs. Each paragraph acts a building block in the construction of your argument. The body is where all your preparation up to this point comes to realization. The number of paragraphs will vary respective to the number of generated ideas. You may frame the body following this basic structure of paragraphs.
- First paragraph: Commonly referred to as the introductory paragraph, it mainly outlines the essay statement. To comprehend the essay towards the reader, make sure the very first paragraph instill a connection to the next paragraph.
- Second paragraph: The second paragraph clearly narrates the entire topic. The subject of an essay is elaborated in accordance with the thesis statement presented above. The same way, this paragraph must maintain a transition to the next level.
- Third paragraph: This paragraph primarily emphasizes on implementation of arguments, intellectual illustrations and relevant examples in support of your thesis statement. No more transition is necessary for the final paragraph of essay body. The final paragraph is followed by a conclusion of the entire essay.
Now you have reached the final section of your essay writing process. The conclusion must include summation of your argued points drawing a final perspective on the essay topic. Let’s take a glimpse on the requirements of an alluring conclusion.
- Represent your conclusion in three or four strong sentences
- Simply recapitulate the main points; however, do not restate them exactly
- Evaluate the thesis statement giving prominence to the topic
- Synthesis of the essay topic must be presented with a final statement.
How to formulate citation?
Well, you are not yet done! Just two steps remain before your essay gets finally over.
“Give credit where the credit is due” is a well known English proverb! While executing your essay, do not forget to acknowledge the source of references used. Students are seen to bewilder confronting with names, places, page numbers, place of publication, footnotes, endnotes etc. This guide acts as an added advantage for those who are unaware of the task.
We list the popular citation styles commonly used to credit sources.
APA referencing style refers to the rules developed by American Psychological Association. It follows in-text citation along with a reference list at the end of your essay. APA style includes author’s last name, date of publication and the page number of any direct quotation. Suppose the reference is, Joseph, Thomas, “The Early Americans”, Free Press, New York, 1986, pp 159-178, then simply in-text with (Joseph, p.161).
MLA referencing style is primarily applied in arts and humanities, particularly in USA. Modern Language Association (MLA) style of referencing simply states the author’s name with the page number within parenthesis. If the reference is Doe John, “Welders Unite the Nation.” New York: East River Press, 2009, then in-text your essay in the following manner, (John, p. 45).
In this format of reference, the author’s name, title of the journal articles and books are inscribed at the footnote. While citing a book in Chicago referencing style, italicize the name. Conversely, in case of a journal article, put the name within double or single quotation marks italicizing the name of journal inside.
For example: In case of a Journal, M. David, ‘Why statistics?’, Free Press, New York, 2012, pp. 25- 46. However, in case of a book, write M. David, Why Statistics?
It is the popularly used referencing style in UK and Australia. In Harvard referencing style, “author/date” format is used for in-text citations followed by a list of references at the end of your essay. For instance, the reference is J.Thomas & H.Smith, “A reading of the Canterbury Tales” Free Press, New York, 2008.
This can be written as “Thomas & Smith, 2008” as in-text citation followed by the “J.Thomas & H.Smith, 2008 “A reading of the Canterbury Tales” Free Press, New York” in the reference list.
How to compose a bibliography
Bibliography is equally important in essay writing. It is a list of all books, journal articles, encyclopedias and websites used in your write-up. You will find it easier to execute the final bibliography if you have a complete track of the above-mentioned list. Reserve a page at the end of your essay, appended with a title. Follow the advice depicted below to earn some extra marks from your college professor.
- The author’s name of the sources consulted is placed in an alphabetical and serial order
- Next, initiate with the surname of author followed by the year of publication, title of his work, place of publication and name of the publisher
- Bibliography is mainly of three types i.e. enumerative, descriptive, and analytical. Enumerative bibliography involves arrangement of author, subject and date in a tabular format. Descriptive one considers the details of the physical nature of books apart from author’s name, date, and publication. Analytical bibliography includes descriptions of paper and binding, printers, publishers, booksellers, etc.
A short review of essay writing
Here’s a short recapitulation in case you have lost track of the points that we have discussed.
- An essay is a part of academic coursework inevitable for students pursuing a college or university degree. Essays can be written for many purposes respective to its significant types, as discussed above.
- Topic of the essay can either be assigned or chosen accordingly. In case you have been given the liberty to select a desirable topic, do not go haywire; rather link your topic with the specified guidelines by your instructor.
- Comprehensive research on the topic is mandatory. Make sure to use credible sources for supportive evidences.
- Make a note of what you are reading. Do not let your thoughts get strewn from the main focus. Now it’s time to systematize the main points.
- Outline an essay plan along with the first draft. Decide whether you prefer a free flow structure or a strict format. Well, you are just a few steps behind to a well-structured essay once you are done with drafting.
- Classify the structure into three main parts i.e. Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. Be certain, a proficient presentation is likely to increase your grades.
- Here’s a better illustration of your essay structure. Introduction that comprehend the research question, appended with a thesis statement. Body includes follow up with adequate research findings and evidences. Lastly, summarize your argument in conclusion.
- Students should be careful! There’s always a mark penalty for substandard and inadequate citation. Students should acknowledge the resources used with ample citation/bibliography. Ask your professor for his preferable reference style, if he does not mention one, you can choose any of the following four: APA style or MLA citation, Harvard referencing style or Chicago citation.
- Proofread your final draft carefully. You will be amazed to identify numerous silly mistakes that were unpredictable. Check spellings, punctuations and grammatical errors. You cannot afford to lose marks due to trivial mistakes.
Writing a good essay is not about simply re-telling the existing concepts and ideas. Rather, a good essay takes into account the authentic point of views and putting forward arguments which reflect the writer’s informed opinion. Before you begin to plan for an essay, make sure to scrutinize and implement the above points. I am sure this guide is going to work wonder for you!
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