Good academic writing, in other words, has SEC: intelligence, substance, clarity, energy. An essay projects intelligence when it contains insightful ideas and cites authoritative sources; it is substantial when ideas are developed in enough detail so readers grasp the knowledge the writer is conveying; it is clear when its grammar, sentence structure, organization, punctuation, and diction are sound; it has energy when the writer uses a strong and confident voice in a fluid and vigorous style. Academic essays are usually expository and / or persuasive.
An expository (informative) essay presents to its readers interesting, informative, and important knowledge that elucidates, supports, and justifies a central or monitoring idea, known as a thesis. This thesis is usually a matter of fact. An expository essay about the process of photosynthesis or the side effects of Approach or the climate of Seattle is not likely to provoke a prolonged argument. These essays present primarily factual information. A persuasive essay also presents knowledge to its readers in support of a thesis, but this thesis is a matter of opinion.
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The persuasive essay is also known as the argumentative essay, though some professors do draw a slight distinction between the two, asserting that a persuasive essay goes a slight tepee beyond an argument in more overtly trying to alter belief or encourage a course of action. An essay in support of drilling for oil in the Alaska Nature Wildlife Reserve or in opposition to school vouchers or in support of gun control presents an argument, and as such, will likely both vex and intrigue readers who believe otherwise. The distinctions between the two modes often blur.
One person’s fact is sometimes another person’s opinion. An expository essay about the reasons why the U. S. Government decided to send troops to Vietnam in the mid-asses might discuss two reasons about which there is widespread agreement but en reason about which even the experts disagree. An expository essay about the hazards of global warming will not resonate with a reader who is suspicious of the essays premise. To an extent, the form (or ‘mode’, as it is often called) of an essay is in the style of the beholder. It is true that an informative essay tries to teach and a persuasive essay tries to convince.
But teachers will persuade sometimes, and advocates will inform. An academic essay is not a personal narrative, but it might contain a personal anecdote in support of its thesis. If a writer is developing an argument in support of tougher drunk driving laws, and if that writer has a friend or a relative who was injured or killed by a drunk driver, the writer might describe the incident and its effect on him or her as a way of intensifying the argument. Personal anecdotes are common and can be effective, especially in persuasive writing. Academic essays almost always require research.
To acquire the information you will need to support, elucidate, and defend the thesis of you essay, you likely will have to attend lectures, read books, surf the internet, and read articles in scholarly journals. The nature of your research will depend upon your topic. If your essay is on the most recent research into the human genome, you likely will use the internet and the most rectangular articles to find the information you need; books will be less useful to you because by the time a book about current scientific research is published, its information can be dated.
If, on the other hand, your essay is about the role of the African American soldier in the Civil War, books might be the best and most reliable sources available to you. Writer must acknowledge in the body of their essays and again at the end of heir essays the source of any information they are using in their essay. There are very specific ways, sanctioned and required by colleges and universities, of acknowledging sources used in an academic essay.
The two most common methods were developed by international professional organizations, one by the Modern Language Association (MI-A) and the other by the American Psychological Association (PAP). The Chicago Manual of Style recommends another method, also widely used within the academic community. Essays about English and foreign literatures and languages are usually cited in the MEAL method. Social science essays -? especially psychology and education are usually cited in the PAP method.
History and economics are among the disciplines that frequently use the Chicago Manual of Style. THE PURPOSE IN ACADEMIC ESSAY Academic writing has usually one of two purposes: to provide information that a teacher has requested or to advance an argument about an issue related to the subject you are studying. In other words, academic essays generally are written in either the expository or the persuasive mode. Expository Mode An expository or informative essay presents complete and accurate information about a specific topic.
If you are asked to discuss the causes of the conflict in the Middle East, to explain how to treat a victim of a heart attack, to define post-structuralism, to compare and contrast Freudian and Jungian methods of treating obsessive- compulsive disorder, or to explain the rules of basketball, you will write an informative essay. The purpose of an informative essay is to provide your reader with information he or she has requested or can use. There are several different patterns by which expository academic essays are typically developed.
One or any combination of these patterns may be seed to structure and develop an expository academic essay. Usually, one pattern will dominate, but others will be present. One common expository mode is the process analysis, which details the parts of a process and their relationships with each other. If your health sciences professor asks you to write an essay about the circulation of the blood through the body or about how the body converts carbohydrates into energy, you will write a process paper.
If your physical education professor asks you to write an essay about teaching children how to swim, you will write a process paper. Here is a part of a process paper written by Alexander Petrifaction explaining the process a wasp uses as it hunts a tarantula: Meanwhile the wasp, having satisfied itself that the victim is of the right species, moves off a few inches to dig the spiders grave. Working vigorously with legs and jaws, it excavates a hole 8 to 10 inches deep with a diameter slightly larger than the spider’s girth.
Now and again the wasp pops out of the hole to make sure that the spider is still there. Another common expository mode is the cause-effect essay. Your economics professor, for example, might ask you to write an essay in which you explain he causes of inflation or the effects inflation has on a certain community. Your European history teacher might ask you to explain the causes of the Crimean War or to discuss changes (the effects) to the map of Europe that resulted from the war.
Your marketing professor might ask you to write an essay about why an advertising campaign for a fast-food restaurant failed or to write about how the failure affected the management structure and practices of the company. For a major paper, professors often combine the cause and effect modes: What causes inflation, and how does inflation affect the industrialized society? What caused the Crimean War, and how did the war change the map of Europe? Why did the marketing campaign fail, and what effect did the failure have on the company as a whole?
Here is an excerpt about the effects content-specific warnings have on the viewing habits of college students: Back (1998) found that college students’ viewing interest was significantly increased when they were informed of the presence of “sexual content” in R- rated movies, although the effect was found only for women. Men indicated abut the same level of interest in both sexual and nonsexual films when they were rated “R. A third expository mode is the comparison / contrast essay.
Compare and contrast the developmental theories of Jean Pigged and Jerome Burner; compare and contrast Emmanuel Cant’s and Johann Goatee’s concept of free will; compare and contrast the marketing campaigns of McDonald’s and Wend’s. Professors often use compare/contrast assignments because they challenge the analytical ability of their students, who have to juggle and ultimately synthesis similarities and differences between two objects or concepts. The compare/contrast mode demands a fairly sophisticated organizational structure.
Here, Deborah Tauten compares and contrast between the talks of men and the talks Of Women: For most women, the language of conversation is primarily a language of rapport: a way of establishing connections and negotiating relationships. Emphasis is placed on displaying similarities and matching experiences…. For most men, talk is primarily a means to preserve independence and negotiate and maintain status in a hierarchical social order. This is done by exhibiting knowledge and skill, and by holding centre stage through verbal performance such as story-telling, joking or imparting information….
A fourth expository mode is the analysis / interpretation essay. Analyses and interpret Book 1 of John Million’s paradise Lost, the foreign policy of President Clinton, Vincent Van Sago’s Starry Night, the anti-inflation policies of Gerald Ford, Henry Avis’s role in discrediting Richard Ill, the advertising campaign of the Chrysler Minivan: if you have been a college student for more than two years you undoubtedly have encountered assignments similar to these. Analysis is the process of dividing your subject of study, your topic, into its component parts.
Interpretation is the process of assessing and describing owe those parts coalesce into a coherent whole and cause the enterprise you are analyzing to succeed or break down. To write a successful analysis / interpretation essay, then you need to define the distinguishing features of the whole, divide the whole into its component parts, analyses the parts, and interpret the relationship of the parts to the whole. Here is an example of analysis / interpretation excerpt when Robert B. Cunningham and Daniel W.
Greenfly analyses the ways in which wrestlers shed weight; then interpret the significance of the data they have found: The rapid weight loss techniques included in our survey have proven to be ungenerous. Three collegiate wrestlers died in 1 997 while attempting to rapidly lose weight before a match. These wrestlers were using a combination of the rapid weight loss techniques listed in our survey rapid dehydration and fasting can adversely affect cardiovascular function and electrical activity, thermal regulation, renal function, and electrolyte balance.
Frequent weight cycling during the wrestling season has also been associated with negative mood states and decreased concentration and short-term memory. A fifth expository mode is the problem / solution essay, topics for which are happily framed in the form of questions. Why did fourth graders from poor families score low on a nationwide math test, and how can educators improve math education for this group? Why is Iraq a threat to our national security, and how can we reduce this threat?
Why was the voting process in Florida during the 2000 presidential election such a debate, and what needs to be done to make the process fair and equitable? These essays have two parts: a full explanation of the nature of the problem, followed by an analysis of solutions and their likelihood of success. This is an example of the two parts f the problem / solution essay by a student on saving the Vancouver Island Marmot: Problem Once abundant in central and southern Vancouver Island, the marmot has become an endangered species.
Solution Fortunately, British Columbians Ministry of Environment and the general public are aware of the problem and want to implement an aggressive program to save Marmot vindictiveness from extinction. A sixth expository mode is the essay developed by details and examples. Of course, details and examples are important components of all modes of academic discourse, but some academic essays have as their primary placement system a series of facts, details, and examples. What hockey teams use the neutral-zone trap effectively? What are the most challenging mountains to climb? Who is the leading U. S. Sportswear designer?
These are examples of topics that require a thesis and details to support the examples. Here is an example, from “Spain’s Colonial Empire, 1492 – 1 600”: Cortes took Mausoleum captive in 1521 and began what would be a two-year battle to take control of the city and its empire. Although weakened by the arrival of virulent Old World diseases, the Aztec continued to fight even as ore and more of the subject peoples joined the Spanish forces. The Spaniards cut off food and water to the capital, but still the Aztec fought. A knowledge of the modes of the expository essay can help you structure an essay successfully and to stay on topic.
But remember than an academic essay is often a combination of several modes, even though one usually predominates. Persuasive Mode The purpose of a persuasive essay, in part, is to present information to your readers. But its primary purpose is to convince or persuade your readers that your views on a particular controversial topic are valid and legitimate. If you are asked to discuss the causes of the civil war in Savor, you will write an informative essay, but if you are asked how you feel about Anta’s involvement in the war, you will write a persuasive essay.
If you are asked to write an essay synthesizing the reasons why Islamic fundamentalists attacked the World Trade Centre, you will write an informative essay, but if you are asked to write an essay in support of or in opposition to military action in Saudi Arabia as part of a campaign to end terrorism, you will write a persuasive essay. If you are asked to define and to explain the process of cost-structuralism criticism, you will write an informative essay, but if you are asked if you believe post-structuralism is a viable method of literary analysis, you will write a persuasive essay.
Sometimes academic essays straddle the expository / argumentative border. Here is an example. Susan Willie’s essay is an ethnographic study of Disney World, but Willis uses her visit to the park to critique what she sees as the mindless consumerism that is corrupting the nation. At Disney World, the erasure of spontaneity is so great that spontaneity itself has been programmed. On the ‘Jungle Cruise’ khaki-clad tour guides teasingly engage the visitors with their banter, whose apparent spontaneity has been carefully scripted and painstakingly rehearsed. Nothing is left to the imagination or the unforeseen.
Even the paths and walkways represent the programmed assimilation of the spontaneous. According to published reports, there were no established walkways laid down for the opening-day crowds at Disneyland. Rather, the Disney Imagines waited to see where people would walk, then paved over their spontaneous footpaths to make prescribed routes. It is important to determine your purpose before you begin to write an academic essay and to keep your purpose in focus To write a good college essay, you need to think about your topic, do some research, formulate a plan, write a draft, revise your work, and edit it. ) You think about your topic by considering the needs and expectations of your readers, determining your purpose, and free writing. 2) You research by reading and making notes on books, periodicals, journals and internet sites most relevant to your topic. 3) You plan by jotting down main points in supports of your thesis and subordinate points in support of the main points. 4) You draft by writing complete paragraphs. ) You revise by reconsidering the efficacy of the structure, the content, and the cohesion of your paper. 6) And you edit by reviewing and reconsidering your grammar, sentence structure, diction, and punctuation.
A complete outline from the processes above can be described as such; . Think about your topic A. Consider your reader B. Ferrite C. Determine your purpose D. Compose a preliminary thesis I. Research your topic A. Books B. Periodicals C. Newspapers D. Online sources E. Interviews and questionnaires Devise a plan Ill. A. The structure of an expository essay B. The structure of a compare/contrast essay C. The structure of a persuasive essay IV. Write a draft A. Effective introductory paragraphs B. Effective body paragraphs C. Effective concluding paragraphs V. Revise A. Reconsider overall structure B.
Ensure content accommodates audience and purpose C. Check cohesion improve style D. VI. Edit A. Check grammar B. Check sentence structure C. Check punctuation D. Check diction and spelling VILE Cite sources A. The MEAL method of parenthetical citation B. The PAP method of parenthetical citation C. The Chicago Manual of Style method Process of Writing Think about your topic: As a successful writer, you will take time to reflect upon, to mull over, to insider the subject of your essay. Subject reflection is ongoing. It occurs both before and throughout the processes of drafting and revising.
It is an essential component of the writing process, fostering as it does an understanding of your purpose in writing and of the needs and expectations of your readers, while helping you formulate a central focus, a controlling idea, a thesis. Research your topic: Whenever you are assigned to write an academic essay, you must get to the library to research your topic. Whether you research online or traditionally bound articles and books, your research will provide information that can be integrated into an essay to render it well developed and authoritative.
You must know how to access information, how to evaluate sources, and how to summaries information contained in these sources. Plan your essay: Planning is an essential component in the process of writing expository, compare/contrast, and persuasive essays. Planning is more than constructing a system of headings and subheadings to use before beginning your draft. It is a continuing process. Those series of points you arrange in a system of headings and subheadings is really only a Start.
The act Of writing stimulates winking, and as a result, that preliminary outline will change and evolve. Planning is an essential part of the process because it helps establish a structure for the essay. Write a draft: Planning outlines your essay’s beginning, middle and end; drafting transforms the outline into sentences and paragraphs. The essence of drafting is writing an effective introductory paragraph (or paragraphs for a longer essay), a series of well-developed body paragraphs, and an effective concluding paragraph (or paragraphs for a longer essay).
Revise: Revision is the process of making global changes to a written text, that is, a recess of reconsidering, moving, reshaping and developing whole paragraphs and/or of altering the entire structure of a written work. The revision process is ongoing. You will revise when you draft and while you read and reread a draft. Edit: Editing is the process of reviewing changing, and correcting words and sentences within a written text. The editing process includes checking for and correcting errors in grammar, sentence structure, diction, spelling, punctuation and mechanics. It is, like most components of the writing process, ongoing.