university essay writing
An academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence.
- An academic essay should answer a question or task.
- It should have a thesis statement (answer to the question) and an argument.
- It should try to present or discuss something: develop a thesis via a set of closely related points by reasoning and evidence.
- An academic essay should include relevant examples, supporting evidence and information from academic texts or credible sources.
Take a look at our handy quick guide to essay writing (PDF) for useful tips and techniques for you to apply.
- Thinking about the question.
- Gathering information and ideas.
- Organising your ideas.
- Getting something on paper.
- Writing a first draft.
- Reviewing in light of feedback or reflection.
- Producing a final draft.
Why do I need to learn it?
An essay usually follows the format of:
- Maths and Statistics
- Academic writing
- Dissertations, projects and assignments
- Study skills and preparing for exams
- Researching, finding and evaluating sources
The Academic Skills Centre produces a wide range of short self-study guides to support you to succeed in your studies.
Writing a Body Paragraph
- Section One is a neutral sentence that will engage the reader’s interest in your essay.
- Section Two Picks up the topic you are writing about by identifying the issues that you are going to explore.
- Section Three is an indication of how the question will be answered. Give a brief outline of how you will deal with each issue, and in which order.
Much of the work you will be asked to do at University is written. Written work is not only a way of communicating your understanding of a topic, but can also be a learning process in itself, prompting you to think about how to organise your knowledge and find new connections.
Essays are one of the most common ways you will be asked to communicate your learning at university. University essays are discursive and analytical. They need to be written in appropriate language and carefully referenced. You marker will be looking out for errors, so make sure you have plenty of time to check your work meticulously.
Kevin Blanchard, Senior Lecturer in Enterpreneurialism at the Business School, offers his ‘top tip for academic writing’ which is an overview of essay writing, typically to concentrate upon structure.
Material used in the Library’s essay writing workshop:
The subject of how to write a good essay is covered on many other sites and students are encouraged to read a sample of guides for a full understanding.
Academic essays and articles usually contain ‘references’. These can range from a generalised bibliography or list for “further reading” to specific references for particular points in the text. In this last category references are normally indexed either by the first author’s name and publication date, e.g. “[Smith97]” or simply numerically “”.