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A Guide to Essay Writing

Even if your written assignments seem too numerous, and you are afraid that you will be unable to write anything at all, you should not panic. There are many guides, techniques, and recommendations that can help you develop your essay writing skills. If you learn to apply them effectively, you will soon find out that your essay mostly writes itself. However, if you don’t feel confident in the very beginning of your way to the writing excellence, you may seek help from the best essay writing service that is available online to every student.

How to Master the Academic Writing Style?

The majority of the academic essays require the academic writing style. It is a formal style that puts certain restraints on your writing. You should avoid:

  • Clichés. These are the phrases that are used too frequently, such as “brave as a lion,” “opposites attract,” “read between the lines,” and others.

  • Contractions such as “we’re,” “shouldn’t,” and “it's.”

  • Phrases that sound like speech, for example: “well, I guess, this is really nice.”

  • Subjective descriptions, like “this beautiful picture.”

You should be writing in the third person and use the first person “I” only when appropriate, for example, when you have to describe your own experience. In other cases, you should replace the phrases, such as “I consider” and “I know” with “it can be argued” or “it is known.”

However, trying to sound “too academic” is also not good. If you can explain your idea in simple words, you should do it. Using plain language is good for your paper. Short sentences are usually clearer than the ones that are long and complex, but you should also make sure your sentences are complete and precise.  

How to Integrate the Evidence and Your Own Ideas?

In their written assignments, the students are required to answer a certain question. A reasoned answer to your essay question is your argument that should be supported by the evidence. All the related materials that you have found during your research, including the books and articles, may provide the necessary evidence to back up your points. By selecting the evidence, interpreting it, and explaining why it answers your essay question you show your understanding.

Each assertion you make in your essay should be supported by the evidence. You can use various kinds of evidence. For instance, you can start supporting your statement with a theory, which is one type of the evidence, and continue showing how this theory is applied in real life, which is another type of the evidence.

Below you will see the sample structure of a paragraph that contains both the evidence and your ideas:

  • Introduce your statement

  • Include the evidence to prove your statement

  • Explain how this evidence supports your statement. In this part, you should also express your thoughts on the subject, providing your own interpretation and critical thoughts

  • Explain how these statements help you come to your basic argument that is the answer to your essay question

How to Carry Out a Critical Analysis?

In the previous part of the article, we have mentioned the process of critical thinking. Critical analysis is a very important skill in paper writing, as it allows you to evaluate the information that you read or obtain in any other way and determine whether it can be used to support your points.

This skill is not as hard to develop as it may seem. We are used to a certain type of critical analysis because we constantly assess the information we get from the TV, newspapers, Internet, interactions with the other people, and it helps us make reasoned decisions.

Critical analysis consists of two basic steps:

  • Considering both the idea and the evidence that support it and deciding whether the evidence is convincing enough

  • Explaining why you believe this evidence proves your idea

There is a set of questions that might help you start thinking critically:

  • What do you know about the author and his viewpoint or bias?

  • What do you know about your audience and how can you use this knowledge to work out the right way to present your information?

  • What is the basic point of your text?

  • Which evidence has been used to support this basic point?

  • Is this evidence convincing enough to you? Are there any counter-arguments?

  • Do you agree with the basic statements in the text and why?

The ways to reinforce the critical analysis in your paper include the following:

  • You should avoid unnecessary descriptions. You should carefully assess which details and stories add to your argument providing a “cause and effect” interconnection. Do not just tell what has happened, but rather try to analyze why it has happened and what effect it might have.

  • You should interpret your evidence. There are types of evidence that can be interpreted in different ways, or simply may not be clear enough if left unexplained. Therefore, you should not leave any evidence “speaking for itself.”

  • You should be specific. Your statements should not be too general. The more your basic argument is tied to the precise examples, the better it can be proved.

  • You should use the counter-arguments to your advantage. If you find the opposing viewpoint, you should not neglect it, but rather find its weaknesses and explain why it is not as strong as the one you provide.

How to Plan and Structure Your Essay?

You can get excellent examples of the proper essay structure with the help of the best essay writing service. However, here you will learn some theoretic background.

Make Sure You Answer the Question

When planning your essay, you should first of all make sure you are answering the main question. You can start by thinking carefully about your question and the ways it could be addressed. One of the useful techniques is setting your question in the context of the key issues, debates, and controversies of your subject. This method can offer you a new approach to addressing your question. Moreover, a clear understanding of the context helps you deeper understand the topic.

Here are some of the basic techniques that can help you improve the understanding of your question:

  • You should determine whether the question is open-ended or closed. If your question is open-ended, you will have to narrow it down. In the introduction to your essay, you should explain to the reader why you decided to limit your topic this way. The reader should understand that you are aware of the wider issues, but in this specific case you find it necessary to be selective. If the question is closed, you should remain within its limits and use the respective specific data.

  • You should identify the keywords in your question. First of all, it helps you make sure you understand all the terms. Secondly, it helps identify the most important information in the question and clarify what you are asked to do: compare and contrast, discuss, or analyze. However, after you have considered the keywords, you should return to viewing the question as a whole.

  • You should reread your question several times to make sure you clearly understand what you’re asked to do.

  • You can divide the question into a number of sub-questions. For example: What exactly is the question asking? Why is it important? How do you plan to answer it? What information do you need to answer the question properly? Thus, you will figure out which crucial points make up the whole question. They will help you focus on your research and also give a good starting point for forming the structure of your essay. Nevertheless, you should not make these sub-questions too numerous, as they may lead you too far into the details and away from the most important points.

Generate Ideas

After you have analyzed your question and worked out the basic ways to deal with it, you may proceed to generating the ideas for your essay. An extremely important stage that is often missed is writing down the initial thoughts concerning your essay question before you start reading. It makes your reading and planning substantially easier.

The basic points you may note before you start reading include the following:

  • What do you already know about the topic of the essay, including the information from your lectures, seminars, and other sources?

  • What do you still need to find out to answer the question?

  • Your initial answers to the question – what the answer may be according to your current considerations?

It is a good start for formulating your argument and defining a general direction for answering the question. It also helps you focus on the relevant sources and make your research much more effective.

After you have finished your reading, it is useful to summarize all the basic information you have found on one page. It can be done in the form of a spider diagram, a mind map, or any other form that is convenient to you. When you bring together all the key points from your findings, it will be much easier to find a pathway through all the ideas you have encountered. Furthermore, you should note the brief information about the sources, including the authors and the page numbers. It will help you quickly find the evidence later when you need it to support your statements.

After this part of the essay writing is done, you will see how the initial response to your essay question might have changed or become deeper according to the reading you have done. It also contributes to the effective planning of your essay.

Plan Your Essay Effectively

If you don’t want to be carried away with your thoughts and end your essay nowhere, you should plan it from the very beginning.  It can be a tentative plan that will be corrected later, but you should make sure your work is moving in the right direction all the time.

  • When you plan your essay, you are more likely to make it coherent and answer the question with a proper argument

  • A plan will help you create a framework and a logical structure of your essay

  • It helps you always stick to the point

After you have worked out the structure, you will understand what information is most relevant to your essay, and what data can be left out. As you cannot cover everything in your essay, you should develop the ability to choose the material that fits best and put it in order.

The majority of the essays usually consist of three basic parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction is the part where you should address the question and explain which approaches you are going to choose to answer it. The body is the main part of your essay where you should represent your points and support them with the evidence. Each paragraph of the body should contain only one basic point. In the conclusion, you should summarize your points and evidence and explain how they answer the essay question.     

Editing and proofreading

These are highly important parts of your essay writing process unless you seek help from the best essay writing service, which will do this part for you.

You are recommended to finish your paper at least one day before you have to hand it in. It is worth checking it, and preferably more than just once. Examiners often say that a lot of students could have improved their final marks by spending more time on editing and proofreading.

When editing your essay, you should carefully consider whether all your points are represented in the right order, whether they are related to the question and properly supported by the evidence. You should be merciless at this stage and cut out all the information that does not answer your essay question directly.

Another important step is making sure that your text is easy to understand, and a reader can follow your points from one paragraph to another. Read your essay and evaluate it as if it was the very first time you see it.

  • Are all the points clear to you?

  • Do these points really support your answer to the essay question?

  • Are there any gaps in your reasoning that have to be filled?

  • Have you been precise and comprehensive enough when covering your topic?

Proofreading includes checking of the following:

  • Grammar, punctuation, and spelling should be correct

  • The sentences should be complete and not vary in length substantially

  • All your citations have to be organized correctly

If you follow this guide, writing an essay will become easier to you over time. If you want to make the process effortless, you can turn to the best essay writing service.

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