Organizing an Academic Essay



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Organizing an Academic Essay

  • References
  • Introduction
  • Conclusion
  • Body Paragraphs

An essay is a piece of writing that usually has five or more

  • Introduction
  • What is an essay ?
  • An essay is a piece of writing that usually has five or more
  • paragraphs. An essay is written about one topic that has
  • several main points. The main points are introduced in an
  • introductory paragraph and supported in body
  • paragraphs. The conclusion is the last paragraph.
  • Essay
  • Introduction
  • _____________
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • _____________
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • _____________
  • Body Paragraph 3
  • _____________
  • Conclusion
  • _____________

An introductory paragraph is the first paragraph in an essay. It contains two parts.

  • An Introduction
  • An introductory paragraph is the first paragraph in an essay. It contains two parts.
  • 1. General Statements: a few sentences about your subject that catch the attention of your reader.
  • 2. A Thesis Statement: one sentence that tells your reader the main points of your topic and states the overall “plan” of your essay.

Example

  • An Introduction
  • General Statements
  • “Metropolitan City is full of charm and scenic beauty, so visitors
  • from around the world come to enjoy its famous theaters,museums,
  • countless ethnic restaurants, and scenic wonders. Although
  • Metropolitan City seems like a paradise, it isn’t. The city has
  • several serious problems: poor public transportation, congested
  • streets, and expensive housing”
  • (Hogue, A. & Oshima, A., 1991, p. 92).
  • Parts of an Essay
  • Body Paragraphs
  • The body consists of one or more paragraphs following the
  • introduction. Each paragraph supports the main idea of
  • your essay by breaking it down into smaller ideas or sub-
  • topics. Each body paragraph consists of a topic sentence
  • and several supporting sentences. A conclusion sentence
  • draws the paragraph together.
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • Body Paragraph 3
  • Introduction

Example

  • Topic Sentence
  • Concluding Sentence
  • “The first and most important problem is Metropolitan City’s inadequate
  • public transportation system. Thousands of residents rely on the city’s buses
  • and streetcars to travel throughout this large city, but Metro Transportation
  • System’s daily schedules are totally unreliable. A bus or streetcar that should
  • arrive at 7:45 may not arrive until 8:00 or later. Moreover, it is not unusual
  • for a bus driver to pass up groups of people waiting for the bus, because he
  • wants to make up for lost time. Unfortunately, people often end up going to
  • work late or missing important appointments. In order for people to get to
  • their destinations on time, people must allow for waiting time at the bus and
  • streetcar stops” (Hogue, A. & Oshima, A., 1991, p. 79).
  • Parts of an Essay
  • Conclusion
  • The conclusion paragraph is the last paragraph in the essay. It
  • completes the essay by summarizing or repeating the most
  • important ideas. The conclusion can also include an opinion, a
  • prediction, or a solution to a problem.
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • Introduction
  • Conclusion
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • Body Paragraph 3

Example

  • Conclusion
  • Prediction
  • “In conclusion, Metropolitan City must improve its public transit system,
  • clear up the massive traffic jams caused by slow-moving traffic in the
  • downtown areas, and keep rentals down to affordable levels. In other words,
  • Metropolitan City must improve its image, or it will soon become just another
  • mediocre city due to the lack of administrative responsibility to solve these
  • unfortunate problems”
  • (Hogue, A. & Oshima, A., 1991, p. 79).

Example

  • An Introduction
  • General Statements
  • Thesis Statement
  • Going to a new school can be exciting, but for an international
  • student, the years of education in a different country can be
  • difficult and tumultuous. When I first arrived in the U.S. to attend a
  • university, I was overwhelmed and confused by everything new.
  • Fortunately, I met three very special friends who made a positive
  • impact on my life during those years and helped me survive the
  • trials of being a foreigner in a completely different educational
  • system.

Example

  • Body Paragraph
  • Topic Sentence
  • Supporting Sentences
  • Concluding Sentence
  • One of the first people I met was Joe Frieda. I first met Joe standing in a
  • line at the bookstore. I was having a difficult time finding the books for the
  • English classes I was taking my first semester here. He not only helped me
  • find my books, but he also gave me some good advice on where to get
  • tutorial help on campus and where I could find some good restaurants.
  • We’ve become better friends since then and he has been so helpful in
  • answering any questions I have about going to school in the U.S. and about
  • American culture. If I hadn’t met Joe that day, I might still be looking for the
  • right books for my classes!

Example

  • “The significance of the kindness that these three people showed me and
  • the impact that it has made on my life during my experience as an
  • international student at State University cannot be underestimated. I will
  • never forget their friendship and will remember their examples of kindness to
  • me whenever I encounter other foreigners in my own country.
  • Conclusion
  • Summary of Main Ideas
  • Promise or Resolution
  • Overview of an Essay
  • Body Paragraphs
  • Support the main ideas of the thesis statement
  • Begin with topic sentences
  • Conclusion
  • Brief summary of main points of the essay
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • Body Paragraph 3

Practice Exercises

  • Now, you are ready to practice what you’ve learned. Click on
  • the button below to go back to Unit A. Do the Interactive
  • Exercise. Then, print and complete the worksheet for Practice
  • Exercise One.

References

  • Hogue, A. & Oshima, A. (1991). Writing Academic
  • English. New York: Addison Wesley Publishing
  • Company.
  • Presentation by Ruth Luman: Modesto Junior College.
  • This project incorporates portions of copyrighted works. These items are included under the fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law and have been prepared according to the educational fair use guidelines. They are restricted from further use.


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