Have no idea how start an engaging introduction paragraph in your history essay? Need advice on how to write good academic papers - you are not alone. Academic writing is an important skill for the success in higher education and in any career field but many university students find their written assignments too challenging and often consider them to be a form of a medieval torture.
Why is it so? The problem is that a lot of high school graduates enter colleges and universities having no idea how to complete grammatically correct sentences that make sense, to say nothing about writing a college-level academic paper because no one taught them how to do it right and present a clear, logical and convincing argument.
If you struggle with similar issues, read this article where you will find a complete guide on how to write good academic papers. We will provide you with all necessary information. You can order a well-written model essay on our website to have a better understanding of the general rules of academic writing and the proper paper structure and format.
How to Write Academic Paper: Main Points to Consider
Many young people have difficulties with academic paper writing. This type of writing is specific and differs a lot from what you were asked to produce in high school because it involves a lot of reading, doing in-depth research of scholarly literature, planning, revising, making changes in content and structure, rewriting, editing, proofreading, and formatting. Don’t be scared. Writing is a skill that any student can learn and master. We hope that this short guide will explain everything you need to succeed.
What is an academic paper? This type of writing can be defined in many ways and your instructors can give different names to these assignments – essay, term paper, analysis essay but all of them have the same purpose and are based on the same principles.
The goal of completing written assignments is to show that you have a profound knowledge of a specific topic and to share your own thoughts about a scientific question or an issue that may be of interest to your audience – students, your professor, and other scholars. You have to demonstrate your critical thinking skills.
Take into account 8 key principle of academic writing.
- Your papers must have a clear purpose (inform, analyze, synthesize or persuade) and answer your topic question.
- Your papers must present your original point of view.
- Your writing must have a single focus – all paragraphs have to include relevant evidence (facts, expert opinions, quotations, examples) to support your thesis statement.
- You must follow a standard organizational pattern. Every academic text must include the following parts: an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. Some papers may require an abstract.
- As an author, you need to provide clear, logical, and simple explanations to your reader.
- You should refer to a number of scholarly sources. You need to integrate source materials into your discussion. Take care to include all sources (books, articles from a scientific journal, publications on online resources) that you cite, introduce, analyze or explain on a reference list in the bibliography page.
- To ensure academic integrity, all college essays should be formatted in accordance with the requirements of one of the specific citation styles – APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago that determine the rules for in-text citations, paper sections, format, reference list.
- You need to use your own words. Don’t try to be too formal or you may sound boring to your readers. Use natural language, common for conversations.
Essential Steps of the Writing Process
Writing an academic paper can be done step-by-step. If you are a beginner, you can follow these steps that have worked for millions of college students; they can save you a lot of time.
- Select an interesting topic. If you lack ideas, you may search the internet using Google, look through your lecture notes, and consider your course readings or current news.
- Do research and record sources’ information. Keep in mind that you may need to continue research as you discover thesis, make an outline, write and revise the document.
- Formulate a strong thesis statement that you will argue.
- Plan your essay and make a basic outline. Take notes from your sources and add details to your outline and make sure that you have supporting evidence for your points.
- Write the first draft of your essay. You can start from any part and you shouldn’t worry about grammar, punctuation and spelling as you construct your sentences. You will fix it later.
- Revise your first draft and improve the content, logic, and the flow. Make transitions between your ideas. Make changes to improve the content and rewrite your draft. You may need to do it more than once.
- Edit and proofread your final draft to ensure that your essay is flawless.
These are basic steps. When you gain experience, you may think about a different order that can work best for you. Find that this process complicated? Buy a professionally written sample to analyze it and see how your essay should look like!
Let’s discuss the major steps of the writing process.
A thesis statement determines the main argument of your essay. A good thesis statement expresses the main idea of your essay, presents your own point of view, and gives an answer to your research question. The success of your entire project depends on your thesis and you need to do your best to ensure that it is debatable, specific, and concise. Try to write your thesis early. It will help you stay focused when you do research and take notes.
Introductions and conclusions are very important. The introduction introduces your argument to your reader and convinces them why they should care about reading your paper. Your task is to engage your audience. Wondering how to do it? Check this useful article on our blog that discusses engaging strategies for starting an essay.
Start your introduction with attention grabber and provide background information about the significance of your topic, introduce a subject, and give some definitions of the key terms. End your introduction with a thesis statement.
Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence; don’t begin a paragraph with a fact. The topic sentence should present the main idea of the paragraph and express your point of view. In the next sentences, you should support the topic sentence with additional supporting ideas, specific details, interesting facts, statistics, clear explanations, relevant examples. All supporting sentences should be logical. You should make sure they are connected with connection words to help your reader follow your argument.
Finish every paragraph with a concluding sentence. It should be your own idea and not a source citation. The last sentence in a paragraph should review the key points you have discussed in it, emphasize your main idea or your thesis statement, and prepare your audience to the points that you are going to discuss in the next paragraph.
Don’t make your paragraphs too long. People find it difficult to focus on large blocks of text; paragraphs shouldn’t be longer than ¾ of a page. If you discover that your paragraph is very long, divide it logically into two separate paragraphs.
This part of your paper is the most important. Actually, readers remember the first and the last parts of what they read; a conclusion is your last chance to make an impression and show the significance of your findings. How can you achieve that? When writing a conclusion, you need to provide connections to the previous ideas, briefly summarize your findings or restate the thesis. You shouldn’t include any new information. Finish your essay with a strong concluding statement that your readers will remember.
No one can write a perfect first draft. It’s impossible - revising is critical if you want to impress your professor and get a high grade for your work. You should start revising the content at least a week before your paper is due. You can use another strategy as well - revise individual paragraphs as you write them. Be ready that you may need to write more than one draft or revise your paper several times.
Read your paper and make changes to fix it and make impeccable. You can do it in a number of ways.
- Eliminate irrelevant ideas and unnecessary information
- Add new explanations, details, points to ensure additional support for your argument
- Rewrite paragraphs and sentences to present your ideas better
- Re-organize paragraphs and sentences to make your paper logical
Editing and proofreading
Do you like your essay’s content? If you do, it’s time to edit it and add finishing touches. The goal of editing is making your writing clearer, more precise to ensure that your readers will be able to understand it.
How should you do it? You may ask someone to read your essay and request their feedback. You can read your college paper aloud yourself to hear the lack of clarity, repetition, wordiness, grammar mistakes and correct them. Use English dictionaries and grammar books.
You should use the following editing strategies to make your essay as best as it can be.
- Fix sentences with the passive voice
- Improve word choice by replacing long words with shorter ones
- Improve sentence structure and word order – correct run-ons and fragments
- Fix the logic, flow, and connections between ideas
- Rewrite long sentences and make them concise; eliminate unnecessary sentences in paragraphs if they don’t convey new messages
- Fix repetition and use thesaurus to find synonyms
When you finish editing, proofread your essay and fix minor errors, careless mistakes, typos. Check punctuation and spelling. Use the printed copy to notice mistakes you may overlook on a computer screen. Start proofreading with the last sentence and go backward; in this way, you will focus on spelling and grammar and not on the content.
We have discussed how to write academic paper. Let’s talk about another important aspect of your future essay – citations. To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit to other people whose ideas you use in your own work.
You have the right to express your opinions. You have the right to use ideas of people to support your argument and draw conclusions, but it’s your responsibility to inform your audience which ideas in your essay are not yours and which are your own. With proper citations, you demonstrate that you understand the significance of other people’s research, findings, and ideas in developing your own argument.
How to cite your sources? You should include in-text citations in accordance with the guidelines of the citation style recommended by your instructor. You are required to include a list of the sources you have cited at the end of your paper. Don’t cite works that are not in your bibliography.
Follow these guidelines and useful tips to create great papers and impress your professor. Need interesting topic ideas for your projects? Check other articles on our blog.
Writing academically on a college level is a hard work that requires a lot of time and effort. You can’t become a confident writer in a few days if you just read grammar and style guides no matter how full and detailed they are. You have to practice a lot. It means working for many hours every day.
If you are not sure that you can cope with your complicated assignment on your own, you can pay to get professional help in any subject from experts on our site. Our writers can provide you with quality sample papers on different topics that will be perfect in content and style. They are sure to be free of errors. You can use paid custom papers as good templates you can follow when creating your own works and understand how to write good academic papers. In this way, you can easily improve your analytical, critical and writing skills and become a successful student who gets high grades.