For more detailed information, look for a style guide in your school library or bookstore. Most instructors are happy to explain anything that might be unclear, or offer advice on how to approach the assignment. Narrow down your topic. Unless you have been given a very specific assignment, you will probably need to pick a topic to focus on. Before you start writing, figure out what the main point of your essay will be, and how you plan to approach it. Choose a topic that really interests you, or that sparks a particular question you would like to answer.
The first step in writing an academic paper is finding good sources. Another good way to start building your bibliography is to look at the reference list on an introductory overview of your subject, such as an encyclopedia entry. Choose appropriate sources.
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- Beginning the Academic Essay.
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Look for sources that are reputable, well-sourced, and up-to-date. Ideally, most of your sources should have been published within the last years. Scholarly books and peer-reviewed articles from academic journals are usually acceptable sources, as well as articles from reputable news organizations. Avoid popular publications and user-edited websites, such as Wikipedia.
Read your sources critically. Consider some of the following as you are doing your research: Where is the author getting their information? Do they provide credible sources? Does the author provide convincing evidence to back up their arguments? Does the author have any obvious biases or agendas that affect the way they present or interpret their information? Incorporate primary sources, if applicable. A primary source is any type of first-hand or direct evidence about your topic.
Depending on the subject matter, a primary source might be something like a video recording of an event, data from a laboratory experiment, an interview with an eyewitness, or a historical document, such as a monument, work of art, or memoir. Looking at primary data allows you to interpret the evidence for yourself. Your instructor should specify whether you need to incorporate primary sources into your research, and if so, how to find and utilize them. Evaluate online sources carefully. While the internet offers a vast quantity of useful information for researchers, it can be hard to separate good-quality resources from bad ones.
In general, look for sources that are published on scholarly websites such as university, library, or museum websites , by reputable news organizations such as the BBC, NPR, or the Associated Press , or by government organizations like the EPA or FDA. Is the author qualified to write on the subject? Does the author state where they got their information? Are you able to verify the sources? Is the article written in an objective, unbiased manner?
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Is the article written for an academic audience? Is the content intended to be educational? How does the URL end? Generally, sites that end in. Create a clear thesis statement. Your thesis statement is the most important part of your essay. This is where you get to explain, in clear, concise terms, the main argument that you are planning to make in your essay.
Knowledge and Understanding
State your thesis in sentences, then work on building an outline and essay that supports your thesis. Make an outline. Once you have narrowed down your topic and done your research, start organizing your thoughts. Write a list of the most important points that you would like to touch on, in the order in which you plan to address them. Present your argument in detail. This is the main part of the essay, consisting of several paragraphs in which you present the major arguments and evidence in support of your thesis.
Support each statement with examples, evidence, and an analysis. In order to make your argument convincing, you must provide concrete evidence and an analysis of the evidence. In each body paragraph, include a topic sentence which is the main idea , evidence that supports the topic sentence, and an analysis of the evidence that links back to the thesis of the essay and the topic sentence of the paragraph.
Write an introduction. Before you present the main body of your essay, you will need to provide a little background on the topic. It is often easiest to write the introduction after you have already drafted the rest of your essay. Your introduction should also include a clear summary of the main point of your essay, and a breakdown of how you plan to approach the topic.
The poem was eventually republished in a compilation edited by D. Travers , p. Use transitional sentences. Your essay should not feel choppy and disjointed.
Look for ways to segue from one paragraph to another in a smooth, logical way. You might accomplish this by starting each paragraph with a brief sentence that connects it with the topic of the previous one or ending each paragraph with a sentence that links it to the next. Cite your sources clearly and correctly. Follow the rules of the citation style that you are using to determine how to format each citation e.
Instead, every line of the quote should be indented from the left-hand side. Address counterarguments. If you come across any convincing counterarguments to your thesis, acknowledge them in your essay. If you can, provide evidence to refute these counterarguments. Addressing alternative interpretations of the evidence will show that you have researched your topic thoroughly and allow you to present your case in a fair and balanced manner. Convincingly rebutting the major counterarguments will make your own argument more compelling to your readers.
Write a concluding paragraph. Once you have presented your arguments and evidence, tie everything together with a concise summary. State, in a clear and confident way, why you think that your argument successfully supports your thesis, and summarize a few of the key points or discoveries that you made. If you have any final thoughts, such as ideas for further research on the topic or questions that still need to be answered, this is the place to state them.
Use a few sentences to reflect on the significance of your argument, and how it might affect future studies of this topic.
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Create a bibliography. Your bibliography should contain a list of every source that you made reference to in the paper, however briefly. While the format of the bibliography will vary depending on the citation style you are using, each citation should include at minimum : The name of the author. The title of the work. The name of the publisher, and usually the place of publication.
The date of the publication.
Take a break. If you can, sleep on it and come back to it the next day, so that you can look at it with a fresh perspective. Read over your draft. As you read, look for any obvious issues with style, flow, and organization. If it helps, read the essay out loud to yourself.
Make note of anything that jumps out at you as needing improvement. As you read, keep the following questions in mind:  Is your writing concise?
Are there any words or sentences that you could cut out? Is your writing clear?
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