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Crafting Essays at the University
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Tips for Crafting Essays at the University and College Level

In order to produce a compelling and insightful academic-style essay, it is crucial to follow specific guidelines and rules. This article provides a concise overview of the fundamental steps involved in writing such essays, including crafting a thesis statement, creating an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

Additionally, this piece explores various essay forms and provides examples of thesis statements to help you get started. By following these tips, you can produce a well-structured and thought-provoking essay that effectively conveys your ideas.

What is the Genre of Your Essay?

Selecting the appropriate essay style is crucial for creating a well-structured and compelling essay. By doing so, the application of facts and ideas becomes more straightforward, resulting in a more cohesive and effective paper. In secondary and post-secondary institutions, several common essay styles are used to convey different types of information.

  • The argumentative essay aims to persuade readers by supporting a particular argument. The thesis statement presents the writer’s position, and the essay provides supporting evidence to substantiate that perspective.
  • The comparison essay examines the similarities and differences between the two subjects. It requires a high degree of organization and clarity to ensure that readers come to a well-informed conclusion. A comparison essay might, for instance, compare and contrast two political candidates.
  • Persuasive essays seek to sway readers toward the author’s viewpoint using logical reasoning, facts, and events. The writer supports their position with evidence, making their argument more convincing.
  • Critical essays require the writer to provide an evaluation of the subject matter. These papers can include both positive and negative feedback, offering a balanced analysis of the topic. Evidence is necessary to support the writer’s arguments and opinions.
  • Descriptive essays recount a subject, such as an event or experience. They inform readers and provide a description of the topic without necessarily offering a critical account of it. The writer may include their opinion, but the thesis is not centered on their perspective.

There are several other essay styles, each utilizing similar tactics, such as logical reasoning, organization, structure, and clarity. By selecting the appropriate essay style, writers can better communicate their ideas and engage their readers.

Beginning of the Essay

It is essential to start an essay with an introduction that provides background information on the topic. Assume that the reader has no prior knowledge of the subject and, therefore, include concise but comprehensive details. Begin by using simple sentences to introduce and identify the main topic of the paper. For instance, if the essay is about the events leading to the Cold War, define and explain what the Cold War is.

In addition to identifying the main topic, it is also helpful to briefly describe the context in which you will discuss it. This will provide readers with a better understanding of what to expect from the essay. Furthermore, the introductory paragraph is an ideal place to present your thesis statement, which should concisely summarize the main argument of your essay. By including these key elements in the introduction, you will provide readers with a clear understanding of the purpose and direction of your essay.

Incorporate a Clear and Concise Thesis Statement in Your Essay

While not every essay requires a thesis, it is often advantageous to include one. A thesis statement is a succinct summary of the main argument of the essay that follows. It is important to note that a thesis is a statement that has yet to be proven and is typically placed at the beginning or after the introduction of a formal paper. The length of a thesis statement can vary, and it may consist of more than one sentence. Its purpose is to guide the reader and provide a clear and concise overview of the essay’s main argument. Understanding the importance of a thesis statement can help ensure that your essay is well-organized and effectively conveys your intended message.

In critical-style essays such as argumentative and persuasive papers, a thesis is necessary to explicitly state the argument the essay intends to prove. Below are two critical essay thesis examples:

  1. Over the past decade, the establishment of micro-financial institutions in Bangladesh has significantly decreased poverty by a considerable margin.
  2. Kenneth Waltz’s three images of international relations, which include the individual, state, and state system, provide the best explanation for the outbreak of warfare and conflict in the international system.

On the other hand, non-critical essays such as descriptive and comparison papers that do not prove anything may use a thesis to introduce the topic being discussed. Here are two non-critical essay thesis examples:

  1. This essay will delve into the sequence of events that led to the outbreak of World War II.
  2. This paper outlines the effects of global warming on the habitats of the rainforests in Central and Southwest North America.

Keep in mind that a thesis should be specific to the topic and the argument being discussed. It should state the main argument of the essay, as well as the evidence used to support it.

Structuring the Body of Your Essay

The body of an essay is composed of multiple paragraphs, including a concluding paragraph, with each paragraph containing around 5 or more sentences. It’s important to avoid writing paragraphs with less than 4 sentences. Don’t write a goodbye message before you try. Each paragraph should be developed using the research, arguments, and ideas generated during the essay outline.

To begin a good paragraph, the first topic sentence should present a fact or piece of information. For instance, a topic sentence on economic globalization could be:

“The increasing interconnectivity among global nations has been spurred by economic globalization.”

The succeeding sentences of the paragraph should support and expand upon the topic sentence. Ensure to use factual information and evidence to back up your claims. For example, in the above paragraph, you can add:

“According to research, the integration of economies across the globe has led to a more collaborative environment between China and the United States, improving trade relations and ultimately creating mutual benefits.”

Effective Conclusion Paragraph for Your Essay

The conclusion paragraph serves as the final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the reader. Its primary purpose is to summarize the key points of the essay and reiterate the thesis statement. By doing so, it ties the entire piece together and provides a sense of closure to the reader.

To write a compelling conclusion paragraph, start by summarizing the main arguments presented in the essay. Then, briefly revisit the evidence and facts presented in the body of the essay that support the thesis statement. This reinforces the idea that the thesis has been thoroughly proven and supported by the essay’s content.

In addition to summarizing the essay’s main points, it is important to provide a broader context or a call to action, depending on the essay’s topic. This can give the reader a sense of how the essay’s content fits into a larger conversation or how it can be applied in a practical way.

Lastly, the conclusion should provide a definitive end to the essay by offering a final thought or statement that ties everything together. The last sentence of the conclusion should also directly address the thesis statement, reminding the reader of the central argument and how it has been supported throughout the essay.

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