How to Write an Essay: Advice from 27 Pros

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How to Write an Essay: Advice from 27 Pros

Whether a student is writing an essay for the first or fiftieth time, he or she could likely benefit from some advice regarding the basics of report composition.  Essay writing is different from most types of writing a student will have to learn over the course of his or her academic life because essay writing will be required at every stage of a student's academic career and likely in every subject.  Such compositions are one of the most commonly assigned texts; therefore, it is important for students to become comfortable with the report form and familiar with some of its conventions.  The following advice is presented for writing essays of an academic nature.  Personal essays—a creative form of academic document writing often assigned in English composition or creative writing classes—follow different guidelines.  

(1) Believe in the thesis.  

Writing an essay on something one does not care about results in a dull text.  When developing an argument, learners should consider what they think—not what their peers or teachers think—and write a thesis statement that accurately reflects their own thoughts.  Whether it is done for creative or academic purposes, writing is always a form of self-expression, and students should use writing assignments as places in which to explore their intellectual and creative selves.

(2) Establish an authoritative voice.

Establishing an authoritative voice is one of the keys to writing essays well.  Establishing authority requires the writer to convince the reader that his or her thoughts are deserving of consideration.  Authority is established through a variety of ways: the pupil can demonstrate his or her intimate knowledge regarding the subject matter, the pupil can include important research to back up his or her points, the pupil can display that he or she is aware of ideas that contradict his or her own and then demonstrate why he or she rejects those ideas, and a student can emerge as a conscientious and thorough thinker by presenting refined writing skills.  

(3) Begin and end strong.

The introduction and conclusion paragraphs of a report are the first and final thoughts a reader experiences.  In order to engage the reader and send the reader off with a memorable thought, the introduction and conclusion must be strong.  This means that they should be written in assertive language, should point to the reasons why the subject of the thesis is important and interesting, and should incite curiosity.  The introduction should never begin with a dictionary definition.  The conclusion should never begin with "In conclusion."  

(4) Proofread

When writing an essay draft, the student should focus on getting the words down on the page rather than focusing on grammar and spelling.  However, the final draft of the article should be error-free.  Documents with an array of distracting errors frustrate the reader and may result in the reader thinking less of the writer.  Proofreading is therefore a central step in writing essays.  Every report should be proofread several times both by the writer and an external reader.

Viewpoint of Author #2

The essay is one of the most common and popular forms of writing.  It can be creative or academic, casual or formal, personal or public.  Most students are introduced to essay writing in middle or high school, and are expected to have become very comfortable with it by the time they reach college.  However, no matter how strong a writer is or how familiar with essay form, there's always room for improvement.  The following essay tips are intended for writers of all abilities, as each essay tip can be applied or implemented in various stages of a writer's development.

Essay Tip #1:
Write a strong thesis.  This is one of the most important tips.  A thesis is the backbone of a report.  Strong theses are clear, direct, and specific, and invite thought.  An essay with a strong thesis has limitless potential.

Essay Tip #2:
Use strong language.  Good writers use colorful, expressive, and concrete language.  All writers can revise for strong language by carefully considering how they can change their words to be more concrete and specific.  For instance, a writer can change a word like "want" to a word like "covet" or "desire."  Both of these words convey a far more specific meaning than "want."

Essay Tip #3:
Be clear.  Most student texts suffer from a lack of clarity.  Often, this is because their writers have not fully identified what they think about the topic on which they are writing.  Clarity can be achieved by challenging each word or sentence and attempting to make it more direct and precise.

Essay Tip #4:
Stay focused.  Though it may be tempting to include a side note or tangential story in an article, this should be avoided.  These ideas should be saved, as they may be the foundations for whole essays in the future; however, when writing an article, every paragraph must relate directly to the topic.  Those that don't relate are distracting.

Essay Tip #5:
Go beyond the obvious.  Good essays demonstrate complex and mature thought.  The writer should convey that he or she has engaged fully with the topic and thought extensively about it and its implications.  If the article is for a class, this means that the writer should go far deeper than what has been discussed in class lectures or presented in course readings.

Essay Tip #6:
Be creative.  This is one of the most neglected essay tips.  Students assume that academic writing must always be dull, formal, and standard.  This is not the case.  There is much room for innovation, even within the parameters of essay conventions.  Students should strive to express themselves and find new ways of working within those conventions to be original and compelling.

Viewpoint of Author #3

An essay is a brief text that presents the writer's individual ideas, interpretations, or analyses.  It is focused on the writer's own thoughts; therefore, an essay is different from a report, which is often meant to assemble others' thoughts on a specific topic.  Students will be required to write essays throughout the course of their academic studies; therefore, it is important for students to become familiar with some of the conventions of writing essays early in their academic careers.

Writing essays well often requires a learner to complete a document in carefully planned phases.  This entails writing essay drafts.  A draft is an unfinished text—a text that is assumed to be a work-in-progress rather than a final, polished document.  Writing essay drafts is essential to writing articles that are clear, interesting, and well-presented.  

Typically, an essay should go through at least three drafts.  The first draft is the writer's general ideas.  This will likely look more like an outline than a draft, because it will be short, and underdeveloped.  This draft is important, however, because it allows the writer to plot out how the essay will be organized and where additional information can be added.  The second draft will be what is commonly known as a "rough draft."  It is "rough" because it is not as polished or detailed as the final document will be, but it has most of the relevant information that will be included.  Finally, the learner will spend significant time revising, improving, and adding in order to produce the final draft.  This draft is the one that will be submitted to the student's teacher for grading.  

When writing essay drafts, learners should keep specific goals in mind.  During the first draft, the student should merely focus on getting down the main points of the report in complete sentences.  During the second draft, the student should work on developing those main points into full, understandable, and well-developed paragraphs.  During the third draft, the student should consider how well the report flows together and how polished the writing is.  During all of these stages, it is helpful for students to solicit the help of their instructor, their classmates, or other knowledgeable readers in order to receive feedback.  Writing essays with the assistance and guidance of others will help students improve not only their individual essay, but also their document skills in general.  

Viewpoint of Author #4

One of the most common college assignments is the essay.  A college essay is assigned to get students thinking about the topic being studied as well as to ensure that they have solid writing skills.  Writing skills are important so that students are prepared to write after they graduate college and go into their chosen field.  Good writing skills are also important for the student who intends to go on to graduate school since that student will likely be required to write a thesis or reference project.

A college essay is very much like the articles that students had to write before they got to college.  College essays have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.  Although the topics are intentionally more difficult than they were back in high school, the writing is expected to be top-notch, and the reports are expected to be well-researched, the basics of writing college essays is not very different from the articles that learners write as early as elementary school.

For instance, in high school, a student might be required to write an article about George Washington.  Such a report is likely to be merely a biographical representation of Washington himself.  The student is rarely expected to produce any real analytical piece.  However, college essays are expected to be different in that students are required to research such Washington-related topics as his presidency, his influence on the developing nation, or some other more intense topic other than a basic biography.  A college essay is far more analytical than a high school article.

A college essay is also expected to be a well-presented paper.  That means that students are expected to follow basic rules for writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.  Students should have mastered these skills long before they got to college.  If a student is having trouble with the basics of writing, he or she should schedule regular tutoring sessions in the college writing lab or with a private tutor.  Although many college instructors are happy to help, they are not prepared to help students who lack basic writing skills.

Other guidelines for college essays include formatting and citation style, both of which should be dictated by the instructor.  Sometimes all an instructor will indicate is the report style.  However, style-writing guides can help students determine what formatting, citation style, and page setup they should use for styles such as APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, Turabian, and others.  When in doubt, it is always wise to confer with the instructor for clarification.

Viewpoint of Author #5

University essay writing is a unique type of assignment writing that may be challenging for some pupils.  University essay writings are generally in-depth academic documents that provide detailed information or opinions about a subject or thought.  College professors expect their students to dedicate time and critical thinking skills to university essay writing assignments so that the pupil can not only learn about a particular topic, but also so that professors can see proof that a student has learned.

In order to write an effective university essay, students need to first understand the topic about which they need to write the assignments.  Many professors will assign specific topics for pupils.  Other professors may require that students select their own topics.  However, before a student can begin writing, the student needs to have a clear picture of what he or she will be writing about and of what information he or she will include.  

University essay writing should always begin with research.  After research, learners should draft their document outlines.  The outline will help a learner to structure the report in a way that is easy to read and that includes all of the information that the student wishes to include.  

The format of university essay writings should follow a basic and consistent structure: the article should resemble an inverted pyramid.  The beginning of the document should provide broad information about the topic.  The end of the document should have a conclusion about the topic.  Each paragraph of the article should support that conclusion.  Body paragraphs should also be structured like an inverted pyramid, with the basic information at the beginning of the paragraph and a specific conclusion to each paragraph topic included at the end of the paragraph.  

Another distinguishing factor of university essay writings is that they include a thesis statement.  A thesis statement is a basic statement that the learner will prove to be true.  A popular and effective thesis statement may follow an "if, then" format, in which the student states that if something is one way, then something else will happen.  An "if, then" statement is a cause-effect statement and applies to many types of reports.

The thesis statement should appear either at the beginning or the end of the introductory paragraph.  Each body paragraph should support the thesis statement with new information.  The final paragraph of the article should include the conclusion, which ties back to the thesis statement.

University essay writing is different than report composition.  Term paper writing requires that students research a particular subject in-depth throughout a semester or a period of weeks.  The term paper is often a large assignment that takes up a large percentage of grade points.  The term paper is also often a reference project.  

University essay writing, however, is generally more common than report composition.  Students may write many essays throughout a semester, but only one report.  A university essay may not require research (though many do) and may be much shorter and broader than a term paper, as well.

Viewpoint of Author #6

An essay is a written work that expresses an opinion or shares information.  Such compositions are written for many purposes and are often used in academic settings so that students can communicate their research and opinions.  An essay can follow many formats depending on the nature of the report, the level of academic study, the required format that a professor assigns, personal preference, and more.  Therefore, an essay can be a rather flexible written work.  

Despite the fact that an essay format can be rather flexible, most professional or standard essays follow the following format: introduction, body, and conclusion.  The report itself is laid-out like an inverted pyramid in that a broad essay topic is addressed in the beginning of the document and the exact conclusion (or point of the report) is included at the end.  Each paragraph within the article is also organized like an inverted pyramid, as the general purpose of the paragraph is introduced in the first sentence and the conclusion of the paragraph is included in the last sentence.  

The introductory paragraph of the report needs to explain the purpose of the report and briefly describe the conclusion.  Each introductory paragraph needs to conclude with a thesis (though some professors prefer that introductory paragraphs begin with a thesis).  A thesis is a one or two sentence statement that describes the purpose.  Many professors recommend that students use "if-then" statements when writing their theses.  For example, if a student were writing an essay on the effects of video games on students, a thesis might be, "If people play video games for three or more hours a day, then they will lose track of time, have weaker muscles, and not pay attention to their homework."

Each paragraph in the body of the document should defend the thesis statement.  For example, the first paragraph might defend why the author believes (or has found it to be true) that people who play video games lose track of time.  The author may include observations, surveys, research, or opinions when defending his or her thesis.

Essays can be written for many different reasons.  Some essays are meant to share research.  Other reports are meant to share opinions.  Therefore, it is important to understand the purpose of the report prior to beginning it.  For example, if a professor assigns an article that should describe the conclusions that a student has come to based on research, then the professor will probably not want to read too much about the student's opinions.  Instead, the professor would probably prefer to see actual research, statistics, citations, and analyses in the body of the work.

An essay is a unique type of writing requirement.  The term is often used synonymously with the term "paper", which is accurate according to most definitions.  However, a report is not the same thing as a thesis or a reference project.  Theses and dissertations are intended to describe a problem, outline methods used to address a problem, and defend the research.  However, an author may write an essay about a dissertation or thesis in which the author describes the methods used, shares his or her opinions about the research, or analyzes the problem.  Such compositions are generally shorter than dissertations, as well.

Viewpoint of Author #7

Students new to college will find that the expectations of their professors are far higher than those of their high school teachers.  They will also find that many of their courses require significantly more writing than they are used to doing.  The majority of this writing will be in the form of assignments.  No doubt most new college students have had to write essays in the past; however, there are different expectations for college-level writing.  Therefore, learners should spend some time learning how to write a college article.  There is not a dramatic difference between how to write college essays and how to write high school essays.  College essays are simply more original, more sophisticated, and more in-depth.  

The most significant difference between how to write a college essay and how to write a high school essay is writing the report using primarily information that has not already been discussed in class lectures or in the course textbook.  The point of a college essay is for students to demonstrate their own understanding and ideas; therefore, students must invest time in thoughtful reflection and analysis of their document topic.

Students learning how to write college essays may also find that college essays frequently require the student to perform research and incorporate secondary sources into their document.  When using secondary sources, learners should ensure that their sources are scholarly—which usually means they are found in a library or through a library database and not on the internet—and that those sources are used to support the writer's own ideas rather than speak for the writer.

College essays must have very strong thesis statements.  A thesis is a sentence or group of sentences that asserts in a clear and specific way what the point of the article is and how it is going to be explored.  This thesis should be presented somewhere in the first 1/4.  

One of the difficulties for students learning how to write college essays is avoiding the use of the first person voice ("I" and "me").  Unless it is a creative essay for an English composition course, most college reports should forego the use of the first person altogether.  They should also avoid using "you" when discussing people in general.  Rather than saying "You would think that the student council would have addressed the issue," students should read, "One would think that the student council would have addressed the issue."  

One of the most difficult aspects for students learning how to write a college essay is writing a good conclusion.  Contrary to what students may have been taught in the past, the conclusion should not merely be a summary of the thesis statement and the body.  The conclusion should rather point to a new insight or idea that can be drawn from the information presented.

Finally, all college reports should be thoroughly proofread for grammar, spelling, and stylistic mistakes.

Viewpoint of Author #8

When given a writing assignment, the goal of every student is to submit the best essay possible in order to receive the highest grade possible.  Yet, students often fall short of turning in the best essay, merely because they fail to understand what is involved in writing such an assignment.

The first consideration in writing the best reports should always be to follow the instructions set forth by the instructor for the assignment.  The instructor will nearly always indicate the citation style, if any, to be used for the document.  The instructor will also generally provide the topic or help students select an appropriate topic for their documents.  

Most instructors also help students with the actual structure of their document insomuch as they can help guide students as to how to put together the best essay possible.  This might mean that the instructor manages the students' paper-writing as part of the course by requiring that students approach the assignment in segments which must be approved before moving on to the next part of the assignment.  For instance, an instructor might require that students submit their topic for consideration and discussion before allowing them to move along to the gathering of reference material.  

Once the topic has been approved, the instructor might require that students gather a certain number of credible references such as books, journal articles, and other reputable source materials, and create a bibliography or annotated bibliography for submission to the instructor.  Once the instructor inspects and approves the bibliography, the student might be required to present a thesis statement for approval.  After the thesis statement has been approved, and modified if necessary, the student may be required to write an abstract, then an introduction, body, and conclusion.

This step-by-step system is one way for an instructor to help learners write the best essays possible.  It is also often a part of the grade for the course.  For this reason, it is important for students to follow instructions carefully and to request further guidance whenever necessary.

The best essays are also written with certain unspoken guidelines in mind.  Attention to grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure are assumed when a student is presented with a college writing assignment, but far too many learners fail to pay attention to whether their documents are technically well-written.  Even the most compelling report is not the best essay if the mechanics of the report are overlooked.

Viewpoint of Author #9

Essays are generally perceived to be a less formal report than many other types of academic writings.  Essays do, however, have a standard format that a student should follow.  In general, the report should be outlined according to the inverted pyramid structure, wherein the broadest amount of information is contained in the beginning of the document and the conclusion is contained in the last paragraph.  

Each paragraph within the document should also be formatted like an inverted pyramid, with the general topic of the paragraph placed at the beginning of the paragraph and the conclusion of the paragraph placed in the last sentence.  

Essays are distinct from other forms of academic writing because they always include a thesis.  The report itself should defend the thesis in each paragraph.  The thesis should be included at the beginning or the end of the introductory paragraph, which is the first paragraph of the report.  A thesis statement basically tells the reader what he or she will learn from the report.  

The essay can have as many body paragraphs as necessary after the introduction.  Each body paragraph should represent a separate idea, share new information, and support the thesis.  The final paragraph, or conclusion to the report, should tie the report together with a common conclusion or theme that can be derived from information included in each paragraph.

Many essays also have a title page, reference section, and appendices.  Different professors or teachers generally have their own requirements for what information and format needs to be included on these pages.

An essay is not a report, though the two can be similar.  A research paper is a document that describes a body of research, including the problem that led to the research, the methodology and steps taken during research, variables that impact results, and the conclusion of the research.  

An essay, however, is an academic document that is written in order to express ideas or share information.  It does not describe the process by which a student derived information or ideas, in most cases.  Moreover, an essay can be written based on a report, but a research paper cannot be written on an essay.

Viewpoint of Author #10

College essay writing, one of the most popular forms of academic writing, requires a writer to present his or her thoughts on a particular topic using multiple examples and points.  Essay writing is different from research paper writing because a report should present the author's own, original ideas on a certain topic.  Reports will frequently incorporate research; however, they are focused on advancing the writer's opinions or interpretations rather than presenting the opinions of other scholars.

There are many different types of projects, but most fall under two categories: personal essays and analytic essays.  Personal essays report on an individual's experience or experiences, and use the first-person voice ("I" and "me").  Analytic essays discourage the use of the first-person voice, and present a particular claim about a certain topic or idea.  A claim is an argument—a particular stance on a subject.  There are also articles that blend these two types.  An example of this sort of essay hybrid is a persuasive essay, in which the writer presents a claim and frequently uses both academic research and his or her own experience to convince the reader of the validity of the writer's position.  Regardless of the type of essay, however, there are some general guidelines that should be followed when writing reports of any kind.

An report should present the writer's original ideas.  This is easily done in a personal essay, in which the writer is called on to describe an individual experience.  However, it applies equally to an analytic article.  Though an analytic essay often requires the writer to incorporate the ideas of others, it should still present the writer's own take on that topic or those ideas.  It should not merely summarize or reiterate what others have said about the topic or what has been discussed in class, but should make unique points based on the writer's thoughtful consideration.  This does not mean that the report must present an idea that has never been considered before; it simply means that it must offer the writer's own, individual thoughts on that idea.  

Effective essay writing requires that a writer pick one topic and stick to it for the duration.  Analytic and personal essays do this in different ways.  When writing articles that present an analysis, the writer must always present a thesis statement.  A thesis is a sentence or group of sentences that clearly defines what the article is about and how the writer will discuss it.  Every analytic report should have a recognizable thesis in the first 1/4.  The report should then stick to this thesis idea and address it from several different angles.  

Personal essays do not need a thesis because they are recounting an experience rather than advancing a point or argument; however, they also should stick to a main idea and develop that main idea.  A personal essay about a trip to the Rocky Mountains should focus on telling the story of that trip and not go off on tangents about the writer's interest in puppets.

Finally, when writing reports, learners should follow the specific instructions of the assignment and their instructor.  There are as many types of report assignments as there are types of reports, and all have specific requirements.

Viewpoint of Author #11

Essays and term papers are two of the most common, college-level writing assignments.  Though different in length and depth, college essays and term paper assignments are very similar in their objectives: both are intended to be innovative texts in which the student approaches a specific topic in an individualized way that reveals his or her knowledge of that topic.  The difference is that term papers will often require the writer to include significant research from outside sources, and essays are typically more focused on the ideas and opinions of the individual writer.  Regardless, essays and term papers share enough common features that many of the skills used to write one can be applied to write the other.  Some of these skills will be discussed here.

Both essays and term paper assignments will require the writer to develop a thesis.  A thesis is a text's main point.  A good argument often results in a good text, so investing some time in the development of a solid hypothesis is well worth the effort.  Theses for both essays and reports should be precise, direct, and compelling.  A thesis should not assert a fact, such as "The 2008 presidential election was historic."  Every presidential election is historic.  Rather, the document should present an idea, such as "The 2008 presidential election was historic because...[compelling idea goes here]."  The thesis idea should be one that is complex enough to be explored in the space of a multi-page text, but precise enough that the idea can be thoroughly examined in those pages.  

Both essays and term paper assignments will require the writer to make insightful points that directly support the thesis.  This means that each paragraph should present evidence or ideas that develop or defend the thesis idea.  Ideas that seem unrelated or merely tangential should be either eliminated or explained in such a way that the reader is aware of how they relate to the thesis.

Essays and term papers must be written using an authoritative voice.  An authoritative voice persuades the reader of the text that the writer's ideas are worth considering.  A writer can establish an authoritative voice by being knowledgeable about the different angles of or approaches to his or her subject and displaying that knowledge in the text.  

Essays and term papers must be polished.  This means that the student must edit and proofread the text to ensure that the structure is sound, the grammar is correct, and the style is smooth.

Finally, essays and term papers must be innovative.  The student cannot merely recount what he or she has heard in class lectures or read in course texts; rather, the student must demonstrate that he or she has used this knowledge to develop his or her own ideas and insights.

Viewpoint of Author #12

Students will need to know how to write essay papers for different courses.  Not all reports have the same format or requirements.  For example, a literary report essay may require learners to read a literary work and provide their own comments on the work.  An essay for a history course may require students to learn about an event in history.  An essay for a politics course may require students to learn about two conflicting political theories.  

Whenever a student needs to know how to write essay papers for a particular course, the student may begin by asking the professor for examples of assignments that have been written in the past for that particular course.  The student may also benefit by looking for instructions on how to write essay paper documents online.  Some students may even look for essays online in order to determine their own requirements for how to write essay papers.  

Regardless of how a student learns about how to write essay papers, the student needs to be sure that the information that he or she is getting about the process is correct and accurate.  After all, many learners may have a difficult time understanding the difference between two different report styles.  In such a case, they need to have resources and answers that can provide them with more insight so that they can be sure to use the correct examples for their own documents.  

When a student uses a guide for information about how to write essay papers, the pupil can present the guide to a professor for his or her feedback.  The professor may approve or disapprove of the instructions in the guide.  

There is a difference between how to write essay papers and how to write research papers.  Research papers often require learners to focus on a particular subject or event objectively.  Students may not be able to interject their own thoughts or viewpoints.  However, with essays, students are often asked to provide a point-of-view or opinion, which is a distinguishing element of essays.

Viewpoint of Author #13

The first step for how to write an essay is to define the topic about which the learner will write.  Many professors assign topics to their pupils.  Naturally, these topics are based on the academic subject that the student is studying.  For example, a history professor may ask students to write essays about the historical record of US presidents.  

Next, the student should research the topic in order to gain information and form his or her own ideas.  It is important when learning how to author reports to recognize that essays are usually written from one perspective: that of the writer.  Therefore, students need to be able to form their own opinions and ideas about the information that they learn during their research.  

While researching, it is also important that students take notes so that they understand what they are studying.  Notes will also serve as references for students when completing the reports.  

After the student has researched the topic, the next step in writing an essay is to draft an outline for the document.  In terms of how to write an article, all reports should begin from outline drafts.  These drafts may be modified later to suit the specific needs of the student and the report.  After all, it is easier to modify an outline than a draft.  

Finally, the student needs to write and edit his or her assignments.  One of the longest parts of writing an essay is the editing process.  In fact, many people will say that when it comes to knowing how to write reports, learners should be aware in advance of the fact that they will need to redraft their documents many times.  It is important to save time for these revisions.  

Viewpoint of Author #14

A term paper is an academic document that requires learners to research a particular subject over a prolonged period of time, such as an academic semester.  nearly all high school and college courses have a term paper component.  

An essay is a type of writing that could be assigned in both academic environmentw and professional settings, such as magazines.  Such compositions are distinct from other forms of writing because they often require commentary (objective or subjective) about the nature of the topic.

A "term paper essay" combines the style of an essay with the format of a term paper in order to create an academic writing piece that is well-researched, but complete with commentary and point-of-view from the student.

The first step in creating a term paper essay is to research a subject in depth.  Taking notes throughout the research process can help learners to write a better term paper essay after they complete their research.  Once the research is completed and notes are compiled, the student should create an outline, which details the flow and content that the student plans to present in the document.  Many students benefit by reviewing their outlines with their professors before they begin writing the report.  

The format of term paper essays is simple: introduction, body, conclusion, and references.  The introduction should state the purpose of the report while also including background information about the topic.  The body should contain paragraphs that have unique information or ideas that are related to the topic.  The conclusion is the section of the document in which the student includes his or her own unique ideas and reiterates his or her ultimate position and/or results.  The reference section is where students include any materials that they used during their research.  Some term paper essays also have appendices with graphics and charts.

Viewpoint of Author #15

A research essay is one that includes a significant reference component.  Research essays can take a variety of forms.  They can be expository (informative) documents that attempt to inform the reader about a certain topic.  They can be analysis articles that draw on external data as well as the writer's own ideas to analyze a text or idea.  They can be argumentative articles that attempt to use investigation-based claims to persuade the reader.  They can also be personal articles that integrate an element of data collection to supplement the writer's narrative.  Essentially, any type of project can be a research essay, so long as it includes a significant amount of data collection.

Research essays are different from analysis articles in that an analysis article is intended to be a strictly academic text in which the writer reports on the data and studies of others and uses that information to either inform or persuade.  An article is a text that is rooted in the ideas, opinions, and interpretations of the individual writer.  Therefore, a research essay will be based in the writer's own ideas, and will use data collection as a supplement to bolster or enhance those ideas.  This means that the majority of the article should still be the writer's own thoughts, opinions, and logic.  The data collection is supplementary.  A research report should always present considerably more of the writer's own words and thoughts than those of external references.  

Research essays will essentially follow the conventions of the more prominent document form in which the writer is writing.  Therefore, the writer should be familiar with this larger form before proceeding.  The primary thing the writer needs to know about transforming that larger form into a research essay is how to incorporate and cite sources of investigation.  

There are two ways of including data in an assignment.  One is to quote the words of the data source exactly.  This is done by presenting the words of the source and enclosing them in quotation marks, "like this."  The second way of including reference information is to paraphrase.  Paraphrasing is describing the ideas presented in the source without using the words the source writer used.  Paraphrasing is essentially capturing the idea of the source without borrowing from the writer's words.  A research report should include a balance between quotations and paraphrases.  As a general rule, the writer should paraphrase when the ideas presented can be summarized and presented in the writer's own words without changing the meaning of the ideas.  A writer should quote when (1) the writer cannot change the words of the source without changing the ideas or (2) the source writer explained the idea in an extremely intelligent or interesting way.

All quotes or paraphrases must give due credit to the source through a citation.  The citation style used for a research essay will depend on the teacher's preference, but all citations must include the name of the author and, if the data included is a quote, the page number on which the quote can be found in the source.

Finally, when incorporating paraphrases and quotes into a research essay, a student must make great effort to introduce and analyze the quote.  One should never simply present information from a secondary source without commenting on it.  The project writer should always explain, analyze, or argue with the data in such a way that the data becomes integrated into the overall project idea of the writer.  

Viewpoint of Author #16

An essay term paper is usually a lengthy document that a pupil writes as the final assignment for a term of study in a particular course.  Essay term papers are different from standard term papers in that they take the form and purpose of an academic article, meaning they are primarily presenting the ideas, opinions, and analyses of the writer rather than of secondary sources.  Because they are more like articles than research papers, essay term papers may occasionally use the first-person voice ("I" and "me"), which is typically discouraged in more formal report compositions.  Essay term papers may be assigned in English composition classes, psychology classes, sociology classes, business classes, or any other courses that often require learners to discuss their own experiences.

Students are often baffled about what is expected in an essay term paper.  Often, their instructors will provide explicit directions regarding such a text's execution.  Generally, the essay term paper will be based primarily on the writer's own ideas, analyses, and opinions, but will draw on several outside resources to develop its points.  For example, essay term papers may appear in psychology classes focused on communication styles.  Such a document may require the student to relay his or her experiences with various communication styles and discuss from his or her own perspective the ways in which these styles are or are not successful in dealing with different individuals or groups.  Throughout the essay term paper, the writer's opinions about communication style will be bolstered and informed by scholarly research on communication methods and practices and the knowledge the writer has acquired throughout the course, so that the final text is a combination of the writer's own experience and informed analysis of that experience.  

Essay term papers incorporate both the personal experiences and opinions of the student as well as significant research and knowledge that the student has developed over the term of study in the subject.  These two elements should be carefully woven throughout the report so that the text does not awkwardly transition from personal opinion to scholarly evidence.  Secondary sources must complement the ideas of the writer.  A good way to ensure a proper balance between the writer's own words and the words of outside sources is to be sure that in any given paragraph using secondary sources, the writer's words make up roughly 2/3 of the text, and secondary sources make up roughly 1/3.  All of these sources must be thoroughly and accurately documented both within the text and in a comprehensive works cited or bibliography page.

Viewpoint of Author #17

Most high school students do not know how to write an essay for college.  The combination of intricate requirements and a strict deadline can be quite daunting.  The first step in writing a report is to determine the article's overall purpose.  Understanding the purpose of the article is essential because the words you choose and the ways in which you present your information can vary according to the type of assignment that you are writing.  For example, when writing a research essay, you might present all sides of an issue.  When writing a persuasive essay, on the other hand, you might only present one viewpoint.

The second step in essay writing is to decide for whom you are writing the document.  Knowing your audience is a critical component of writing an article.  If you choose to write an essay about a specialized topic within a certain field, for example, you might be able to make the assumption that the reader already has a basic knowledge of the subject.  On the other hand, you could be writing the report for a novice audience.  In this latter case, you will need to explain the information more thoroughly.

Regardless of the report type or for whom you are writing, your essay will need to include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.  The length of the body may vary according to the required length of the overall article.  The introduction and conclusion, on the other hand, should generally be limited to a single paragraph each.

When writing the introduction of an academic article, you should start off an "attention-grabber."  This first sentence or two might be a question, a startling fact, or a brief story that is related to the topic.  You should also introduce your thesis statement in the introductory paragraph.  Formulating a strong thesis statement is important because the thesis sentence communicates the focus and ultimate goal.

After writing the introductory paragraph to your essay, you will need to write the body.  In general, the body should consist of at least three paragraphs.  Depending upon the required length of the report, however, the number of paragraphs in the body may vary.

Each of the paragraphs within the body of your report should contain a topic sentence, which explains what that particular paragraph is about.  This topic sentence, as well as the other sentences in the paragraph, should support your thesis by providing more details, facts, and evidence.

Finally, you will need to write the conclusion of your article.  The conclusion should restate the thesis that you wrote in the introduction, though you should definitely re-word the thesis in order to avoid clumsy repetition.  In addition, you should summarize what you wrote in the body of the document, while also wrapping up the report in a way that leaves the reader with a lasting impression.

Viewpoint of Author #18

When a student is given the assignment to write an essay, it can sometimes be difficult for him or her to know where to begin.  After all, essays can encompass many different fields and formats.  Some professors require learners to write projects based on personal opinions.  Other professors require learners to write projects based strictly on research that they have performed.  

As students begin to write essays, they need to outline the report prior to beginning their work in order to ensure that they can capture the right flow and amount of information.  An essay format should look something like an inverted pyramid.  All well-formatted reports should have general information at the beginning of the document and a specific conclusion at the end.  

Each essay paragraph within the body of the document also needs to look like an inverted pyramid, with general information about what the paragraph will address in the first sentence and the conclusion of that information in the last sentence of the paragraph.

Essays are distinct from other academic documents because they always have a thesis statement.  A thesis statement is a one-, sometimes two-sentence expression of what the writer believes to be true and what he or she endeavors to prove in the following paragraphs.  

Each paragraph within the document should support the thesis by addressing a different point.  For example, if a thesis is "If an animal has four legs, then it can run faster," each paragraph should express an opinion and/or provide research supporting that thesis.  

The conclusion needs to contain a wrap-up of information that the author expressed.  The author may include opinions in the conclusion, as well.  However, when learners write essays, they usually need to be objective (unless it is an "opinion piece").

Viewpoint of Author #19

There are several different accepted formats when writing an essay paper, though the exact format you select will be dependent upon the type of essay you are writing and the purpose.  In addition, if you are writing the report for a class, you will likely be provided with strict requirements that must be followed when writing your essay paper.

Regardless of the format you follow and the purpose of the report, you will need to conduct a great deal of research before embarking upon the writing process.  In fact, you should become somewhat of an expert on the subject so you can write an essay document that will be thoughtful and relevant to the reader.

When conducting research for your essay paper, you will need to utilize a number of different resources.  Some instructors may require that you use a minimum number of a certain type of resource while also putting a cap on how many resources you can use from another category.  For example, your instructor may only allow you to use three Internet resources while also requiring that you use at least three journals as sources for your article.

Regardless of the requirements your instructor demands, you should try to vary your resources.  Similarly, you should look for resources that provide the most current information available on the subject.  When in doubt about information, you should also use other resources to verify that what you have read in one resource is accurate.

The research stage is the most important aspect of writing an essay paper because you have to find evidence and facts to support the thesis of your paper.  The thesis, which is introduced in the first paragraph of your essay, is a statement that describes what your essay paper will be about.  As such, all of the information that you gather in your research must be able to support the thesis that you have developed.

In order to help keep yourself organized while conducting research, it is helpful to categorize the tidbits of information that you gather right away.  By putting each piece of information on a separate note card, for example, you can sort and organize the research so that it helps you formulate a cohesive and logical essay paper.  Just be certain that you write all of the information you gather in your own words so you will not get into trouble for copyright infringement.  Similarly, be sure to take note of the source you used so it can be properly cited at the end of your paper.

Regardless of the type of research paper you write, it will also require an introductory paragraph, a body, and a conclusion paragraph.  The introduction should be just one paragraph and should grab the reader's attention while also presenting the thesis statement.  The body of the document will present the research that you have gathered in support of the thesis statement, while the conclusion will restate the thesis and summarize what you have written.

Viewpoint of Author #20

When a student has to write essay papers, he or she may benefit by following some simple steps that will help the student with his or her research and paper structure.  All students should know that in order to write essay paper documents, they need to not only do research and think critically about a topic, but they also need to follow a format that makes the report easy to read and full of information.  

As a student begins the process that he or she will take in order to write essay paper documents, learners should first review the report assignment completely.  By understanding the report assignment, learners will know what format to write essay papers in as well as what length the document should be.  Many report assignments will also include detailed information pertaining to the topic about which the student should write the document.  

In order to write essay articles that include all of the relevant information that a student wishes to include and that flow well, learners should always outline the report before they begin the writing process.  An outline will serve as a road map for how a paper will flow.  Also, when a student outlines the report, the pupil can be sure that he or she includes all of the information that he or she desires in a succinct and purposeful format—prior to writing the document.  

Students that write essay paper documents well generally get good grades because their documents follow a format that has proven to be successful.  Effective essay formats follow an inverted pyramid structure, which is a classic ad popular essay structure.  In an inverted pyramid structure, when learners write essay papers, they will include broad information in the beginning of the document and more conclusive information at the end.  

Essays should always have three parts: an introduction, which is usually one paragraph at the beginning of the document; the body, which are several paragraphs that move the report along with new information or ideas; and a conclusion, which is information included at the end of the document that states the conclusion of the information or ideas presented.

When learners write essay paper documents, they should follow a similar format to book report documents.  Book reports and essays are similar because they both provide information and ideas about a particular topic.  However, a book report is always based upon a specific literary work.  An article is not necessarily based around a literary work, though it can be.  

Also, essays always have a purpose, which is listed in the document and usually is designed to share information or ideas.  Book reports may sometimes only serve as reviews of a particular book and may not share new information or the author's ideas; a book report may just be a recap of a book.

Viewpoint of Author #21

If you are preparing to write a research essay, the first step is to find a topic that you find to be interesting and challenging.  If you are writing the research essay for a class, you may be assigned the general topic that you are to write about.  If this is the case, you will likely still have the freedom to narrow down the more specific topic to one that you are interested in writing about.  As with any document that you write, the more you are interested in the topic, the more enthusiasm you will put into researching and writing about the topic.

When selecting the topic for your research essay, you should strive to select one that is not two technical in nature.  In addition, you should avoid those topics that are specialized in nature.  Similarly, you should steer clear of those topics that will only have a very little amount of source material available.  

Once you have settled upon your topic, it is time to seek out the actual information.  It is best for you to use a variety of different sources when researching for your paper, and there are plenty of different types of sources to select from.  These include:

  • the Internet
  • almanacs
  • encyclopedias
  • professional journals
  • books
  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • and more.

When selecting your sources, be sure they are reliable.  This can be particularly tricky when researching information online, since anyone can build a website and spread false information.  Therefore, it is best to stick with those websites with addresses ending in .edu (for educational institution), .gov (for government institution), and .org (for non-profit organization).

Once you have gathered the information needed for your research essay, it is time to begin writing the document.  The first paragraph of your research essay will be your introduction.  In the introduction, you should make it clear to the reader what the report will be about.  In addition, your introduction paragraph will include your thesis, which is a statement that summarizes what you will be writing about.  

The body of your research report should be written so that it supports the thesis statement you introduced in the first paragraph.  Each of the paragraphs you write in the body of the document will have a topic sentence that provides the main supportive detail while the remaining sentences in that paragraph will contain information to further support that detail.  

Your last paragraph is the conclusion of the research article.  This paragraph will summarize the points that you made throughout the research article.  In addition, you should restate your thesis in the conclusion of your research essay, though you should be sure to write it in a different way from the way you wrote it the introductory paragraph.

After you have completed your research essay, reread the entire essay to check for grammatical errors and punctuation errors.  You should also look for any flaws in logic and should make sure each paragraph transitions nicely into the next in a sensible fashion.

Viewpoint of Author #22

An essay thesis is a one-sentence statement that tells the reader what the article is going to be about by briefly stating part of the conclusion.  Essay theses should always appear along with an article, even if the article is very brief.

When a pupil writes an article, the report thesis is often the first thing that a student needs to think about in terms of the focus and point.  The essay thesis is the statement that helps to reader to understand what the purpose of the report is.  This thesis should always appear in the introduction as the first or the last sentence.  

There are many ways to create essay theses.  Many professors suggest that their students create "if, then" essay theses, especially if they are new writers.  In an "if, then" essay thesis, the student should state that if one thing happens in one way, then something else will happen in a corresponding way.  For example, a thesis might be something like "If a plane is flying, then it must have thrusters."  

Each body paragraph of a report should support the specific essay thesis with new information or ideas.  For example, one paragraph may talk about the physics of flight while another paragraph talks about what happens if thrusters are not working on an airplane for the above thesis.  

An essay thesis should always be written before a pupil writes a report so that the student knows how to construct the report and stay on track with the topic.  However, essay theses are not the subject or topic of a report.  An essay topic is an idea about which a learner will create an article.  The thesis can be written based on the assignment topic, but the topic should always be decided before the student creates the report thesis.  

An essay topic cannot be created by the report thesis.  The topic is the first step in creating the report and without the defined topic, the student cannot create the thesis.  Furthermore, all students in a class can create projects based on the same topic.  However, each report should have its own thesis.  If someone writes a college report based on someone else's thesis, then the second writer is plagiarizing.  Essay theses are embedded in the document and written using the student's own words.

Viewpoint of Author #23

A written essay is one that a student (or individual) writes in order to prove a point, express opinion, or share information.  Written essays are popular academic documents because they allow students to communicate their viewpoints and knowledge with professors in succinct, well-formatted ways.

Written essays should always follow a format that makes the report easy to read.  Well-written essays not only flow seamlessly from idea to idea, but they also include important information that is structured in a way that helps the writer prove a point or draw a conclusion.  

Many professors encourage their students to follow a specific format when writing an article.  The most popular and widely-taught format for the written essay is one that follows an inverted pyramid structure in which broad information is included at the beginning of the document and specific information (which is the conclusion of a report or idea) is included at the end.  Each paragraph within the document should also follow the inverted pyramid structure, with broad information included at the beginning of a paragraph and the specific conclusion to the paragraph included in the last sentence.  

A written essay is usually formatted around a thesis.  A thesis is a statement that an author makes and attempts to substantiate throughout the document.  A popular structure for a thesis is an "if, then" statement, in which an author will state that if something happens in one way, then there will be a specific result.  In most cases, this type of thesis is appropriate for a written article.  However, there are situations in which an "if, then" thesis will not suffice, such as in some comparison essays.

In terms of the structure of the report, all written essays should be comprised of three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion.  The introduction is usually just one paragraph at the beginning of the document in which the author introduces the subject of the report, background information, and the thesis.  The specific thesis statement should appear at the beginning or end of the introductory paragraph.  

The body of the document should support the thesis, with each paragraph presenting new information or opinions.  Finally, the conclusion is usually one or two paragraphs that summarize the thesis and draw a conclusion based on information provided in the body.  

A written essay is different from a review, though a review and an essay can be similar.  A review might also be an article.  A review is, basically, a written work that focuses on criticizing an idea or body of work, such as a book.  A written essay, however, may be a review, but it may also be a book report or reference document that is intended to share information.  For that reason, written essays are much broader and more versatile than reviews.

Viewpoint of Author #24

A university essay is an academic document in which students express their opinions, information, or thoughts about a particular topic or work.  When it comes to writing academic documents at a university level, students need to be aware that there are certain requirements that may be more advanced than the requirements they were used to with their high school assignments.  Also, university reports should be well-formatted and informative, as many professors use such assignments as the singular basis for a student's course grade.  Writing an effective university essay can mean the difference between getting an A or a C in a class.  

In order to write effective university essays, students need to understand the nature of the writing assignment.  For example, is the project a review of an idea?  Should the assignment be based around a book or other subject?  How does the professor want the student to write the assignment—first person or third person format?  By understanding the nature of the writing assignment, learners will not only ensure that they take the correct academic research approach, but they will also be able to meet the exact requirements of the assignment.  

Many academic articles follow a simple inverted pyramid structure.  An inverted pyramid structure requires that less important information about a topic appear at the beginning of the document.  The point of the article (or conclusion) should appear at the end.  Each paragraph within the document should be structured in the same way, with broad information appearing at the beginning of each paragraph and the conclusion of each paragraph appearing in the final sentence.  

However, some university essays may not follow the inverted pyramid style, especially if they are comparison assignments.  Therefore, students need to review the assignment requirements prior to beginning the document.  

University essays also need to have an argument, which is a succinct, one-sentence statement about the purpose.  The thesis statement should appear in the introduction and is usually either the first or last sentence of the introduction.  A popular structure for thesis statements follows an "if, then" format in which the student states that if something is one way, then another thing will happen in a corresponding way.  

An example of an "if, then" thesis statement is, "If the moon is full, then people will turn into wolves."  Each body paragraph should support the thesis statement.  The conclusion should also tie back to the thesis statement by providing more in-depth information about it.

University essays are generally slightly more in-depth and thoughtful than high school projects, though not in all cases.  However, while high school students may draft documents periodically throughout the course of a semester, university essay assignments are rather common and frequent amongst academic institutions.  Therefore, students may write dozens of university essays across the course of just one semester, whereas in high school, they may have only written one or two articles per semester.  

Viewpoint of Author #25

A college essay is a relatively brief text composed to express a college student's interpretation or analysis of a single topic.  A college essay is one of the most prominent undergraduate assignments, and will be required for most classes a student takes.  Though most students have some experience writing essays before they attend college, they will find that the expectations for college essays are significantly higher than the expectations for high school essays.  High school essays rarely push beyond the material covered in class to present the student's original interpretations; college essays are expected to go deeper than class content and develop the student's individual ideas on the topic at hand.

Achieving the depth and insight required for a college essay takes time and planning.  Because a college essay does not (and should not) merely report on what has already been discussed in class, it is likely that developing the thesis of the report will take considerable reflective thought.  The thesis of a report is the article's main point.  It is, in essence, what the entire essay is about.  All college reports should clearly express a document in the first 1/4 of the text.  To determine a good thesis, learners should brainstorm to come up with several topics of interest related to the assignment.  Once they have determined a few ideas they may wish to write on, learners should try to come up with an interesting and relevant point or argument about those ideas to see if they can generate a thesis.  For instance, for a college essay assignment on ancient philosophy, a student may decide he or she is interested in what ancient philosophers said about the practice of slavery.  This is a topic.  To determine an argument, the student must take a particular and very specific stance on the topic.  Such a thesis might be as follows: "The writings of Aristotle on the topic of slavery reveal the philosopher's complex attitude towards slavery.  He was writing in a slave-holding society that did not consider slavery unjust, and on the surface he does not seem to protest against the holding of slaves; however, a closer examination of his texts reveals that Aristotle did not consider any human being deserving of being a slave."

Once a thesis has been determined, a student must develop the report by carefully considering the points he or she will make to support the thesis.  These points should provoke thought in the reader by challenging common interpretations.  In other words, a college report should not merely point out the most obvious points about a thesis topic, but should go beyond the obvious to include nuances that may not be commonly considered.  All of these points should be supported with evidence and examples in such a way that no assertion is made without proper defense.

The conclusions of college essays should not merely summarize.  Rather, they should seek to point to a new insight or idea that has been gained through the process of exploring the topic.

Viewpoint of Author #26

A school essay is one that a student has to write as part of a school assignment.  In order to write an effective school essay, students need to understand its purpose.  An essay is a body of work in which a learner expresses his or her view on a particular subject.  Essays are usually subjective, as they help learners to express their thoughts.  However, some college essays may simply recap events that have occurred and not necessarily require a student's insight into the events.  

After a student receives the topic of the school essay, the student needs to begin his or her research.  Even if the article is a personal report, the student may still need to spend some time reflecting on the topic that he or she has been assigned.  A school essay usually requires that a student have some knowledge of an event or idea.

Reports are also usually shorter than other academic writings.  Therefore, may professors will assign reports so that they can quickly analyze how well students understand a topic.  Professors may also assign school essays so that they can help learners to practice their critical thinking and writing skills.  

School essays follow a standard format, which includes an introduction, body, and conclusions.  The introduction of a school report should provide background information about the topic.  The introduction should also contain the thesis.  The body of the document should contain new information or ideas that support the topic and thesis.  Finally, the conclusion should contain a recap of the student's opinion or ideas about the topic.  

Because school essays are different than professional reports, many people believe that school essays follow a different format.  However, regardless of why a report is written, all effective projects follow the same format.  The information that is contained in a school essay may be different from a professional report, as professional reports may be more advanced and the writer may have the liberty to provide his or her opinion, which a student may not.  However, the basic structure and style of school reports should be the same as all other reports, including professional reports.

Viewpoint of Author #27

No student can escape.  All students will have to write many essays during their academic careers.  Student essays are normal assignments for all grade levels and courses of study, including English courses, mathematics courses, sciences courses, and more.

Even students that are not English students or that may have English as a Second Language will need to learn to communicate effectively in their article papers.  Therefore, all students should take time to learn about how to research, draft, and write their student essays if they wish to get good grades on their documents and effectively communicate their ideas.  

The first step in creating an effective student essay is to learn about the topic.  In many cases, professors will assign a topic.  In other cases, students may be able to select their own topic.  However, before a student can begin his or her research, the student needs to understand what the topic of the article is so that he or she can perform the right kind of data collection.  For example, an essay on political repercussions of abortion is not the same as an essay on the biological consequences of abortion, in most cases.  

Once a student understands what he or she is supposed to be writing about, in general, the pupil can begin his or her student essay research.  Because student essays are generally designed to be subjective or written from a point-of-view, learners should remain critical during their research.  

A good researcher will maintain detailed notes about his or her findings so that he or she can have a reference during the writing stages.  Good researchers will also investigate ideas that interest him or her and that may tie back to the original topic.  Sometimes, this means consulting with experts or performing experiments related to the topic.  

Once the research is complete, students may begin drafting the student essay outline.  The outline will guide the student along as he or she drafts the report and will help the student to ensure that the report format is sensible and the content is thorough.  

The final steps include writing and editing of the student essays.  Students should leave plenty of time for multiple drafts, as well.  

A student essay is very different than other academic works, such as a research paper or a report.  While students need to perform research when they create their student essays, they also need to remain subjective.  However, when students perform research for an argument, the student often should not be too subjective or guide the research too much by personal biases.  Therefore, student essays tend to be more personal and reflect a student's attitude whereas most other writings reflect a person's research results.

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