An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that uses facts, analysis, and interpretation to build a concept or argument.

As a student, you may be required to write a variety of essays. An essay’s content and length are determined by your academic level, subject of study, and course requirements. Most university essays, on the other hand, are argumentative, attempting to persuade the reader of a specific viewpoint or point of view on a topic.

The essay writing process is divided into three stages:

1. Prepare: Choose a topic, conduct research, and draft an essay outline.

2. Writing: Begin with an introduction, then expand your argument with evidence in the main body, and finish with a conclusion.

3. Revision: Double-check your essay’s substance, organization, punctuation, spelling, and layout.

Using paragraphs from our interactive essay example, we walk you through what to include in the introduction, body, and conclusion of an academic essay in this guide.

Writing an essay procedure

Every essay or paper follows the same writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions, but the amount of time and work spent on each step varies depending on the type of essay.

If you’re writing a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; on the other hand, if you’re writing a college-level argumentative essay, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you begin writing.

Writing an essay preparation

Before you begin writing, be sure you know exactly what you’re going to say and how you’re going to express it. There are a few crucial actions you may take to ensure that you’re ready:

1. Recognize your task: What is the purpose of this essay? What is the assignment’s length and due date? Is there anything you need to discuss with your professor or teacher?

2. Choose a topic: If you have the option, choose something about which you already have some knowledge and which will hold your interest.

3. Conduct research: Read primary and secondary materials and take notes to assist you determine your stance and perspective on the subject. You’ll utilize these to back up your claims.

4. Create a thesis: A thesis is the key point or argument that you wish to express in your paper. A clear thesis is necessary for a focused essay, and you should refer to it frequently while you write.

5. Make an outline: Make a rough sketch of your essay’s structure. This makes it easy to get started writing and helps you stay on track.

You’re ready to start writing once you’ve decided what you want to discuss, in what order, and with what proof.

Get criticism on your writing, structure, and formatting.

Professional editors check and edit your document by concentrating on the following points:

• Academic writing style

• Imprecise phrases

• Grammar

• Consistency in style

Consider the following example.

composing an introduction

The tone of your essay is established in the introduction. It should pique the reader’s curiosity while also laying forth the expectations. The introduction usually accounts for 10–20 percent of the total material.

1. Get your reader’s attention.

The opening sentence of your introduction should captivate the interest and curiosity of your reader. This sentence is referred to as the hook. It could be a provocative question, an unexpected fact, or a forceful remark stressing the topic’s importance.

Let’s pretend we’re writing an essay on the history of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a powerful statement about the subject:

Braille’s development marked a watershed moment in the history of disability.

2. Provide background information on your subject.

Following that, provide background to help your reader grasp your argument. This could include presenting background information, a summary of major academic work or disputes on the subject, and an explanation of complex vocabulary. Don’t go into too much detail in the opening; you can expand on it later in the essay.

3. Give your thesis statement.

After that, you should write your thesis statement, which is your main argument. The thesis statement clarifies your point of view on the subject. It usually consists of one or two sentences. This may be the thesis statement for our Braille essay:

Braille was a revolutionary new accessibility tool since it was the first writing system designed specifically for the needs of blind people. It not only had practical benefits, but it also served to modify the perception of blindness in society.

4. Create a structural map

In longer essays, you might end the opening by outlining briefly what each section of the essay will address. This walks the reader through your structure and provides them a taste of how your argument will go.

An essay introduction example

Braille’s development was a watershed moment in the history of disability. Louis Braille invented the raised-dot writing system used by blind and visually challenged individuals in nineteenth-century France. Blindness was stigmatized in a society that did not esteem disabled persons in general, and the inability to read and write was a severe obstacle to social engagement. The concept of tactile reading was not novel, but prior sighted-based approaches were difficult to learn and apply. Braille was a revolutionary new accessibility tool since it was the first writing system designed specifically for the needs of blind people. It not only had practical benefits, but it also served to modify the perception of blindness in society. The plight of blind individuals in nineteenth-century Europe is discussed first in this essay. It then goes on to explain how Braille was created and how it came to be accepted in blind education. Following that, it delves into the wide-ranging implications of this invention on the social and cultural lives of blind people.

Create an introduction for your essay.

The main part of the essay

The body of your essay is where you support your thesis with arguments, evidence, and development of your ideas. Its goal is to present, interpret, and analyze the data and sources you’ve gathered to back up your claim.

The body text’s length

The length of the body of the essay is determined by the type of essay. The body of your essay should make about 60–80% of its whole length. This could be three paragraphs for a high school essay, but it could be eight to ten pages for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words.

structure of paragraphs

It is critical to divide your essay into paragraphs in order to give it a logical framework. Each paragraph should be focused on a single core concept or theme.

A topic sentence introduces that concept. In general, the topic sentence should continue from the previous paragraph and introduce the main point of this paragraph. Transition words can be used to link sentences together clearly.

Present proof such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources after the topic sentence. Make careful to interpret and explain the evidence, as well as how it contributes to the broader development of your case.

An example of an essay paragraph

Blind persons had a significant disadvantage in nineteenth-century society due to a lack of access to reading and writing. Individuals interacted with culture, communicated with others, and obtained information through text; blind people were barred from social engagement due to a lack of a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people were discriminated against in general, blindness was often seen as the worst disability, and it was frequently assumed that blind individuals were incapable of pursuing a vocation or improving themselves via culture (Weygand, 2009). This indicates the centrality of reading and writing to social standing at the time: it was thought impossible to properly participate in society without access to text. Blind people were both ostracized from the visible world and completely reliant on them for knowledge and education.

View the complete essay example

Putting together the conclusion

The last paragraph of an essay is the conclusion. It should take up no more than 10–15 percent of the text on average. A strong ending to an essay:

• Refers back to your thesis

• Brings your primary points together.

• Demonstrates the importance of your argument

A strong ending should end with a memorable or impacting line that makes a lasting effect on the reader.

What to leave out of a conclusion

There are a few things you should avoid in order to make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible. The following are the most prevalent errors:

• Adding additional evidence or arguments

• Undermining your arguments (for example, “This is only one of many approaches”).

• Using closing sentences like “To summarize…” or “To sum up…”

An essay conclusion example

Braille set the door for significant societal shifts in how blind people were treated and the possibilities they had. Louis Braille’s breakthrough was to reinvent existing reading systems from the perspective of the blind, and the invention’s success necessitated sighted teachers adapting to their pupils’ realities rather than the other way around. Braille aided broader social transformations in the status of blindness in this way. New accessibility tools benefit individuals who require them, but they also have the potential to transform the viewpoints and attitudes of others who do not.

Finish your essay with a conclusion.

Checklist for Essays

Essay Checklist

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• My essay adheres to the assignment’s guidelines (topic and length).

• My opening piques the reader’s curiosity while also providing any pertinent background information.

• The thesis statement in my introduction explains the essay’s topic and perspective.

• The essay is organized into paragraphs.

• To begin each paragraph, I employ topic sentences.

• Each paragraph has a clear connection to the thesis statement and a single focus.

• I use distinct paragraph and concept transitions.

• Rather of repeating my points, my conclusion establishes connections between them.

• In the conclusion, I do not present any new arguments or evidence.

• Every statement or piece of information I acquired from another source has an in-text citation.

• At the end of my essay, I’ve added a reference page that lists all of my sources in detail.

• My references and citations are formatted correctly according to the needed citation style.

• The title of my essay is intriguing and informative.

• I followed all formatting instructions (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).