Academic Essay

Topics: Essay, Writing Pages: 2 (1070 words) Published: March 6, 2016
Edith Cowan University

Academic essay
Academic Tip Sheet

This academic tip sheet:

What is an academic essay?

explains the academic essay as an
academic style of writing;
looks at the structure of an academic
looks at the main types of academic
explains how to write an academic essay;
provides you with a quick checklist
that covers most aspects of writing an
academic essay.

For our purposes, we can define an academic
essay as a document that has a defined
structure – an introduction, a body and a


What are the main types of
academic essays?
If we look at the intent of the academic essay
we can define three main types:
Descriptive – describes a subject, e.g.; a
person, place or event.
Expository – explains a concept or theory.
Argumentative – presents an argument
through reasoning and the use of


The argumentative essay

Some general tips are:

Most academic essays will require you to
present an argument through reasoning and
the use of evidence. In the process of planning
and drafting your essay, you will need to
respond to the assigned question by thinking,
reading and writing your way to a considered
position/stance, or thesis statement. The
thesis statement is expressed as one or two
sentences in the introductory paragraph of
your essay, and supported in the body of the
essay by a series of topic sentences, one
in each paragraph. Each topic sentence is in
turn supported by evidence and examples
from your readings and research, reflection,
observation and analysis.

Start early. Read and analyse the essay
question as soon as you receive it. Note
down your first ideas.
When researching: Make notes when
reading; record bibliographic information
from the sources you refer to, quote
from and paraphrase; start making links
between the writer’s observations and
your own thoughts on a topic.
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