The academic essay is a type of composition written in prose that briefly analyzes, interprets or evaluates a theme. In other words, try to solve a problem by means of arguments. This type of text tries to answer a question (not necessarily to demonstrate a hypothesis), tries to support a thesis by means of the argumentation or exposition. This text type motivates the critical thinking and independent of who writes, as it encourages the student to look for a problem and its possible solution, as well as a deep and individual analysis of a particular subject.
The characteristics of the academic essay vary according to the requirements of the citation and reference model being used. However, as general characteristics we can say that every academic essay makes use of a formal language and is written in third person plural or with neutral voice. All academic essays should have relevant content and be well documented as well as shown as an opinion justified by other sources. Finally, every essay requires an introduction, a body, conclusions and bibliographical references.
Role in academic environment
The essay plays an important role in the academic environment, because it is considered a good resource for the evaluation of the knowledge acquired by the students. Many teachers choose this type of text because it is ideal to evaluate, as it motivates both the critical posture of the student and the knowledge acquired in the area being researched or developed. On the other hand, this type of text is quite flexible and can be applied to all areas of study and research. Based on these advantages, the essay is an ideal tool to evaluate the student’s handling of argumentative, expository and persuasive resources. So, the questions like “what should I do when I write my essay?” are similar with the questions like how is your academic progress.
The typical structure of the academic essay consists of an introduction, exposed aspects, conclusions and bibliographical references. We will explain two of them: introduction and exposed aspects.
The introduction serves to present the purpose of the essay, to show the approaches, in general, that will be presented in the development and to give a brief notion to the reader. The introduction also serves to present the central thesis of the essay, i.e. the question that is intended to answer. It is necessary to limit the topic and focus on some point of interest to achieve a clear thesis and draw the attention of the reader. In this way, we can affirm that the introduction consists of two parts: a brief general introduction to the theme, the organization of the essay, and the exposition of the central thesis.
In the body of the essay the aspects exposed in the introduction are developed, beginning with the more general or contextual aspects about the subject and ending with the arguments that support the exposed thesis. The organization of this part depends on both the subject and the author’s intentions. This section is the most important of the essay not only because it exposes and argues the thesis but also because it demonstrates the capacity of organization, exhibition and argumentation of the writer.
The two above aspects are your two pillars in building your academic essay. Focus on them and you can produce your own academic essay.