The exact process of academic writing will depend heavily upon the type of assignment you have received. Though in general most articles can be crafted according to the following steps:
- Define the topic
- Draft a thesis statement
- Gather information
- Set a basis or criteria for judgment
- Analyze and interpret
These seem easy enough, right? Let's dive into our guide on how to write an academic essay!
Sources of Information
In most cases, when crafting a writing task like this one, your main reference of information should be the item that you are writing about. So, obviously, if it's a book, then it will be your main source. Likewise, other critiques or reviews written about the same book that you'd like to include or mention in an evaluation piece would also fall under the category of main sources.
Other sources may include supportive evidence and information such as statistics, newspaper clippings, reviews in scholarly journals, or physical items (i.e., artifacts). Regardless of the medium, the most decisive sourcing factor, as with the topic, will be the type of writing you are doing. Some will only require one or two sources, as in the case of a book review, while others may require many more.
After you've identified the sources you need to consult to gather your information, you may still be in need of a bit of assistance for the writing and drafting part. Thankfully, there are many useful websites to help you with formulating articles. Though they do not cover all the types of existing texts, they offer a wealth of information that may be valuable for multiple types of assignments.
- Purdue OWL
- Roane State Community College
- University of North Carolina
- University of Wisconsin
- Cayuga Community College
Tips & Advice
Use paragraph structure acronyms
You may have learned some of these in middle or high school — they are primarily used to improve the flow and organization of paragraphs and improve the overall quality of a written piece. Some acronyms that can be used are PEEL (Point Explain Evaluate Link) or TRI (Topic Sentence Restate Illustrate).
The first one is a simple formula that is beneficial for evaluation essays the most as it explicitly details where you would incorporate the evaluation portion for each paragraph. The TRI is also useful (for expository writings in most cases) and can also help you write a transition paragraph in research studies, for example.
Use synonyms to further detail and explain points
This is a commonly used and obvious tactic to improve your writing skills. In many cases, thorough explanations often involve several synonyms in one sentence. The English language is a vast one, and there are many ways to say the same and similar things to clarify each point. This little tip can really work to improve your writing overall. And in a way that people will notice.
Clearly state your point and objective
One major fault of many poorly received assignments is unclear or vague objectives. If criticizing someone else's work, entity, concept, or idea, you have to be sure you yourself are not subject to criticism for the poor articulation of your main ideas. The clarity in this respect can be one of the most valuable attributes of a well-crafted academic writing.
Use a T-style chart to organize information
In many cases, you will have set criteria or guidelines for making judgments of each aspect or element being discussed. Sometimes to allow you to organize your text better, it's best to first deal with your information using graphic organizers.
For instance, if you are writing a book review, you may decide to create a pros-and-cons list to review the good and bad things about the book carefully. You would simply create a two-column table with "pros" written on one side and "cons" written on the other. Sometimes little tips, like this go a long way in helping to create a well-rounded paper.
Incorporate parallelism to drive your point home
Parallelism is a handy technique that adds a bit of rhythm and style to your writing. It involves repetition in grammatical structure, usually with verbal constructions. For instance, "The dialogue here is not only moving; it's convincing, it's heart-wrenching, it's reality." With this example, you can see the resemblance in the form of all the phrases after the semicolon.
Some writers use parallelism a lot while some try to use it more sparingly. For persuasive pieces, for instance, they fare very well, but can also be easily infused in most types of writing, including evaluation.
Additional Information on Writing
In addition to the above writing techniques, some writers also may benefit from online interactive tools. For most, it usually involves word-processing programs, review and critique forums, and blogging tools. Though when it comes to instruments specific to teaching and learning academic writing, most are geared towards elementary, middle, and high school students.