Academic Essay Writing
Academic writing style
Writing for academic essays and theses will always be different from writing for other occasions. English language for academic purposes is formal, but subject specific, so what will be acceptable for a literary review may not work so well in a scientific analysis. It is often best to stick to writing in the third person, so “this essay will address the issue of …”, rather than “I will address the issue of …”, but it is often just a matter of personal preference. The most important thing with academic writing is to be consistent. So, once you have decided on how you will write your essay, stick with the same style
Essays, Dissertations and Theses
Analyse the essay question
Firstly, you need to identify the subject of the question and think about what kind of information you are going to need to answer it. It is very important to have a thorough understanding of just what the essay question is asking you to do. You must not simply write generally about the topic, but try to direct your argument.
Researching and gathering information
All academic essays require a certain amount of research or information gathering. Even if you are not writing a research assignment, you still need to gather your own information from notes you have made and organise them into sections. A useful way to gather your thoughts is to try brainstorming. This involves writing down everything you can think of that relates to the subject of your essay. Afterwards, you go through the ideas and expound them, forming links and turning them into a possible essay plan.
Creating an essay outline
Begin your essay outline by writing your question at the top of the page so you are immediately focussed. Next, write your main ideas, spaced out and numbered, down the page. Your ideas need not be perfectly arranged yet, it is simply important to get everything you want to say down on paper. These are the bones of your essay: your important statements you want to make. After your research has been summarised like this, you need to expand on these notes. As you develop your argument, a natural section order will emerge and you may find yourself rearranging paragraphs. In doing this you have formed an outline for your essay.
Essay Structure and Referencing
Structuring an academic essay properly is vital in order to make sense of your ideas – your argument needs to flow properly. All sources also need to be referenced consistently according to your department’s style guide – there are numerous different referencing formats all with their own particular styles. Not sure where to begin? Explore our resources to find out how to structure your English language academic essay and reference it properly.
Still unsure? You could always hire a specialist EFL editor to help construct your English essay or proofread your work.