Beginning the Academic Essay |

 

writing an academic essay

This resource begins with a general description of essay writing and moves to a discussion of common essay genres students may encounter across the curriculum. The four genres of essays (description, narration, exposition, and argumentation) are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing . When creating an academic essay, it is very important for you to relay a sensible and clear argument to your target readers. Since academic essays are widely used in the field of education and research, you need to ensure that your writing is both logical, interesting and informative. Still, these skills that you most likely haven’t mastered yet are the only secure way to get an excellent grade for writing an essay. This is yet another reason to trust the job to a professional essay writer. We cooperate with a significant number of highly experienced academic writers.


An Introduction to Academic Writing


The writer of the academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence. The beginning of the essay is a crucial first step in this process. In order to engage readers and establish your authority, the beginning of your essay has to accomplish certain business.

Your beginning should introduce the essay, focus it, and orient readers. Introduce the Essay. For instance, in an essay about the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech, the context may be a particular legal theory about the speech right; it may be historical information concerning the writing of the amendment; it may be a contemporary dispute over flag burning; or it may be a question raised by the text itself.

The point here is that, in establishing the essay's context, you are also limiting your topic. That is, you are framing an approach to your topic that necessarily eliminates other approaches. Thus, writing an academic essay you determine your context, you simultaneously narrow your topic writing an academic essay take a big step toward focusing your essay. Here's an example. Writing an academic essay paragraph goes on.

But as you can see, Chopin's novel the topic is introduced in the context of the critical and moral controversy its publication engendered. Focus the Essay. Beyond introducing your topic, your beginning must also let writing an academic essay know what the central issue is, writing an academic essay. What question or problem will you be thinking about? You can pose a question that will lead to your idea in which case, your idea will be the answer to your questionor you can make a thesis statement.

Or you can do both: you can ask a question and immediately suggest the answer that your essay will argue. Here's an example from an essay about Memorial Hall. The fullness of your idea will not emerge until your conclusion, but your beginning must clearly indicate the direction your idea will take, must set your essay on that road. Orient Readers. Orienting readers, locating them in your discussion, means providing information and explanations wherever necessary for your readers' understanding.

Orienting is important throughout your essay, writing an academic essay, but it is crucial in the beginning. Writing an academic essay who don't have the information they need to follow your discussion will get lost and quit reading.

Your teachers, of course, will trudge on. Supplying the necessary information to orient your readers may be as simple as answering the journalist's questions of who, what, where, when, writing an academic essay, how, and why. It may mean providing a brief overview of events or a summary of the text you'll be analyzing. If the source text is brief, such as the First Amendment, you might just quote it.

If the text is well known, your summary, for most audiences, won't need to be more than an identifying phrase or two:. Often, however, you will want to summarize your source more fully so that readers can follow your analysis of it. Questions of Length and Order. How long should the beginning be? The length should be proportionate to the length and complexity of the whole essay. For instance, if you're writing a five-page essay analyzing a single text, your beginning should be brief, no more than one or two paragraphs.

On the other hand, it may take a couple of pages to set up a ten-page essay. Does the business of the beginning have to be addressed in a particular order?

No, but the order should be logical. Usually, for instance, the question or statement that focuses the essay comes at the end of the beginning, where it serves as the jumping-off point for the middle, or main body, of the essay. Topic and context are often intertwined, but the context may be established before the particular topic is introduced. In other words, the order in which you accomplish the business of the beginning is flexible and should be determined by your purpose.

Opening Strategies. There is still the further question of how to start. What makes a good opening? You can start with specific facts and information, a keynote quotation, a question, an anecdote, or an image. But whatever sort of opening you choose, it should be directly related to your focus.

A snappy quotation that doesn't help establish the context for your essay or that later plays no part in your thinking will only mislead readers and blur your focus.

Be as direct and specific as you can be. This means you should avoid two types of openings:. After working your way through the writing an academic essay draft, testing your thinking against the evidence, perhaps changing direction or modifying the idea you started with, go back to your beginning and make sure it still provides a clear focus for the essay. Then clarify and sharpen your focus as needed. Clear, direct beginnings rarely present themselves ready-made; they must be written, and rewritten, into the sort of sharp-eyed clarity that engages readers and establishes your authority.

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Skip to main content. Main Menu Utility Menu Search. Further analysis of Memorial Hall, and of the archival sources that describe the process of building it, suggests that the past may not be the central subject of writing an academic essay hall but only a medium. What message, then, does the building convey, and why are the fallen soldiers of such importance to the alumni who built it?

Part of the answer, writing an academic essay seems, is that Memorial Hall is an educational tool, an attempt by the Harvard community of the s to influence the future by shaping our memory of their times. The commemoration of those students and graduates who died for the Union during the Civil War is one aspect of this alumni message to the future, writing an academic essay, but it may not be the central idea.

This means you should avoid two types of openings: The history-of-the-world or long-distance opening, which aims to establish a context for the essay by getting a long running start: "Ever since the dawn of civilized life, societies have struggled to reconcile the need for change with the need for order. Get to it. The funnel opening a variation on the same themewhich starts with something broad and general and "funnels" its way down to a specific topic. If your essay is an argument about state-mandated prayer in public schools, writing an academic essay, don't start by generalizing about religion; start with the specific topic at hand.

 

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writing an academic essay

 

This resource begins with a general description of essay writing and moves to a discussion of common essay genres students may encounter across the curriculum. The four genres of essays (description, narration, exposition, and argumentation) are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing . Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic. The writer of the academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence. The beginning of the essay is a crucial first step in this process. In order to engage readers and establish your authority, the beginning of your essay has to accomplish certain business. Your beginning should introduce the essay, focus it, and orient readers.