Written by Scribendi
Are you wondering how to write an academic essay successfully? There are so many steps to writing an academic essay that it can be difficult to know where to start.
Here, we outline how to write an academic essay in 6 simple steps, from how to research for an academic essay to how to revise an essay and everything in between.
Our essay writing tips are designed to help you learn how to write an academic essay that is ready for publication (after academic editing and academic proofreading, of course!).
Your paper isn't complete until you've done all the needed proofreading. Make sure you leave time for it after the writing process!
Download Our Pocket Checklist for Academic Papers. Just input your email below!
Types of Academic Writing
With academic essay writing, there are certain conventions that writers are expected to follow. As such, it's important to know the basics of academic writing before you begin writing your essay.
Read More: What Is Academic Writing?
Before you begin writing your essay, you need to know what type of essay you are writing. This will help you follow the correct structure, which will make academic paper editing a faster and simpler process.
Will you be writing a descriptive essay, an analytical essay, a persuasive essay, or a critical essay?
Read More: How to Master the 4 Types of Academic Writing
You can learn how to write academic essays by first mastering the four types of academic writing and then applying the correct rules to the appropriate type of essay writing.
Regardless of the type of essay you will be writing, all essays will include:
At least three body paragraphs
A bibliography/reference list
To strengthen your essay writing skills, it can also help to learn how to research for an academic essay.
Step 1: Preparing to Write Your Essay
The essay writing process involves a few main stages:
As such, in learning how to write an academic essay, it is also important to learn how to research for an academic essay and how to revise an essay.
Read More: Online Research Tips for Students and Scholars
To beef up your research skills, remember these essay writing tips from the above article:
Learn how to identify reliable sources.
Understand the nuances of open access.
Discover free academic journals and research databases.
Manage your references.
Provide evidence for every claim so you can avoid plagiarism.
Read More: 17 Research Databases for Free Articles
You will want to do the research for your academic essay points, of course, but you will also want to research various journals for the publication of your paper.
Different journals have different guidelines and thus different requirements for writers. These can be related to style, formatting, and more.
Knowing these before you begin writing can save you a lot of time if you also want to learn how to revise an essay. If you ensure your paper meets the guidelines of the journal you want to publish in, you will not have to revise it again later for this purpose.
After the research stage, you can draft your thesis and introduction as well as outline the rest of your essay. This will put you in a good position to draft your body paragraphs and conclusion, craft your bibliography, and edit and proofread your paper.
Step 2: Writing the Essay Introduction and Thesis Statement
When learning how to write academic essays, learning how to write an introduction is key alongside learning how to research for an academic essay.
Your introduction should broadly introduce your topic. It will give an overview of your essay and the points that will be discussed. It is typically about 10% of the final word count of the text.
All introductions follow a general structure:
Read More: How to Write an Introduction
Your topic statement should hook your reader, making them curious about your topic. They should want to learn more after reading this statement. To best hook your reader in academic essay writing, consider providing a fact, a bold statement, or an intriguing question.
The discussion about your topic in the middle of your introduction should include some background information about your topic in the academic sphere. Your scope should be limited enough that you can address the topic within the length of your paper but broad enough that the content is understood by the reader.
Your thesis statement should be incredibly specific and only one to two sentences long. Here is another essay writing tip: if you are able to locate an effective thesis early on, it will save you time during the academic editing process.
Read More: How to Write a Great Thesis Statement
Step 3: Writing the Essay Body
When learning how to write academic essays, you must learn how to write a good body paragraph. That's because your essay will be primarily made up of them!
The body paragraphs of your essay will develop the argument you outlined in your thesis. They will do this by providing your ideas on a topic backed up by evidence of specific points.
These paragraphs will typically take up about 80% of your essay. As a result, a good essay writing tip is to learn how to properly structure a paragraph.
Each paragraph consists of the following:
A topic sentence
Read More: How to Write a Paragraph
In learning how to revise an essay, you should keep in mind the organization of your paragraphs.
Your first paragraph should contain your strongest argument.
The secondary paragraphs should contain supporting arguments.
The last paragraph should contain your second-strongest argument.
Step 4: Writing the Essay Conclusion
Your essay conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay and primarily reminds your reader of your thesis. It also wraps up your essay and discusses your findings more generally.
The conclusion typically makes up about 10% of the text, like the introduction. It shows the reader that you have accomplished what you intended to at the outset of your essay.
Here are a couple more good essay writing tips for your conclusion:
Don't introduce any new ideas into your conclusion.
Don't undermine your argument with opposing ideas.
Read More: How to Write a Conclusion Paragraph in 3 Easy Steps
Now that you know how to write an academic essay, it's time to learn how to write a bibliography along with some academic editing and proofreading advice.
Step 5: Writing the Bibliography or Works Cited
The bibliography of your paper lists all the references you cited. It is typically alphabetized or numbered (depending on the style guide).
Read More: How to Write an Academic Essay with References
When learning how to write academic essays, you may notice that there are various style guides you may be required to use by a professor or journal, including unique or custom styles.
Some of the most common style guides include:
For help organizing your references for academic essay writing, consider a software manager. They can help you collect and format your references correctly and consistently, both quickly and with minimal effort.
Read More: 6 Reference Manager Software Solutions for Your Research
As you learn how to research for an academic essay most effectively, you may notice that a reference manager can also help make academic paper editing easier.
Step 6: Revising Your Essay
Once you've finally drafted your entire essay . . . you're still not done!
That's because editing and proofreading are the essential final steps of any writing process.
An academic editor can help you identify core issues with your writing, including its structure, its flow, its clarity, and its overall readability. They can give you substantive feedback and essay writing tips to improve your document. Therefore, it's a good idea to have an editor review your first draft so you can improve it prior to proofreading.
A specialized academic editor can assess the content of your writing. As a subject-matter expert in your subject, they can offer field-specific insight and critical commentary. Specialized academic editors can also provide services that others may not, including:
An academic proofreader can help you perfect the final draft of your paper to ensure it is completely error free in terms of spelling and grammar. They can also identify any inconsistencies in your work but will not look for any issues in the content of your writing, only its mechanics. This is why you should have a proofreader revise your final draft so that it is ready to be seen by an audience.
Read More: How to Find the Right Academic Paper Editor or Proofreader
When learning how to research and write an academic essay, it is important to remember that editing is a required step. Don't forget to allot time for editing after you've written your paper.
Set yourself up for success with this guide on how to write an academic essay. With a solid draft, you'll have better chances of getting published and read in any journal of your choosing.
Our academic essay writing tips are sure to help you learn how to research an academic essay, how to write an academic essay, and how to revise an academic essay.
If your academic paper looks sloppy, your readers may assume your research is sloppy. Download our Pocket Proofreading Checklist for Academic Papers before you take that one last crucial look at your paper.
Download Our Pocket Checklist for Academic Papers. Just input your email below!
About the Author
Scribendi's in-house editors work with writers from all over the globe to perfect their writing. They know that no piece of writing is complete without a professional edit, and they love to see a good piece of writing transformed into a great one. Scribendi's in-house editors are unrivaled in both experience and education, having collectively edited millions of words and obtained numerous degrees. They love consuming caffeinated beverages, reading books of various genres, and relaxing in quiet, dimly lit spaces.