Traditional Academic Essays In Three Parts
Part I: The Introduction
An introduction is usually the first paragraph of your academic essay. If you’re writing a long essay, you might need 2 or 3 paragraphs to introduce your topic to your reader. A good introduction does 2 things:
- Gets the reader’s attention. You can get a reader’s attention by telling a story, providing a statistic, pointing out something strange or interesting, providing and discussing an interesting quote, etc. Be interesting and find some original angle via which to engage others in your topic.
- Provides a specific and debatable thesis statement. The thesis statement is usually just one sentence long, but it might be longer—even a whole paragraph—if the essay you’re writing is long. A good thesis statement makes a debatable point, meaning a point someone might disagree with and argue against. It also serves as a roadmap for what you argue in your paper.
Part II: The Body Paragraphs
Body paragraphs help you prove your thesis and move you along a compelling trajectory from your introduction to your conclusion. If your thesis is a simple one, you might not need a lot of body paragraphs to prove it. If it’s more complicated, you’ll need more body paragraphs. An easy way to remember the parts of a body paragraph is to think of them as the MEAT of your essay:
Main Idea. The part of a topic sentence that states the main idea of the body paragraph. All of the sentences in the paragraph connect to it. Keep in mind that main ideas are…
- like labels. They appear in the first sentence of the paragraph and tell your reader what’s inside the paragraph.
- arguable. They’re not statements of fact; they’re debatable points that you prove with evidence.
- focused. Make a specific point in each paragraph and then prove that point.
Evidence.The parts of a paragraph that prove the main idea. You might include different types of evidence in different sentences. Keep in mind that different disciplines have different ideas about what counts as evidence and they adhere to different citation styles. Examples of evidence include…
- quotations and/or paraphrases from sources.
- facts, e.g. statistics or findings from studies you’ve conducted.
- narratives and/or descriptions, e.g. of your own experiences.
Analysis.The parts of a paragraph that explain the evidence. Make sure you tie the evidence you provide back to the paragraph’s main idea. In other words, discuss the evidence.
Transition.The part of a paragraph that helps you move fluidly from the last paragraph. Transitions appear in topic sentences along with main ideas, and they look both backward and forward in order to help you connect your ideas for your reader. Don’t end paragraphs with transitions; start with them.
Keep in mind that MEAT does not occur in that order. The “Transition” and the “Main Idea” often combine to form the first sentence—the topic sentence—and then paragraphs contain multiple sentences of evidence and analysis. For example, a paragraph might look like this: TM. E. E. A. E. E. A. A.
Part III: The Conclusion
A conclusion is the last paragraph of your essay, or, if you’re writing a really long essay, you might need 2 or 3 paragraphs to conclude. A conclusion typically does one of two things—or, of course, it can do both:
- Summarizes the argument. Some instructors expect you not to say anything new in your conclusion. They just want you to restate your main points. Especially if you’ve made a long and complicated argument, it’s useful to restate your main points for your reader by the time you’ve gotten to your conclusion. If you opt to do so, keep in mind that you should use different language than you used in your introduction and your body paragraphs. The introduction and conclusion shouldn’t be the same.
- Explains the significance of the argument. Some instructors want you to avoid restating your main points; they instead want you to explain your argument’s significance. In other words, they want you to answer the “so what” question by giving your reader a clearer sense of why your argument matters.
- For example, your argument might be significant to studies of a certain time period.
- Alternately, it might be significant to a certain geographical region.
- Alternately still, it might influence how your readers think about the future. You might even opt to speculate about the future and/or call your readers to action in your conclusion.
Handout by Dr. Liliana Naydan. Do not reproduce without permission.
Hi! My name is Tom. I’m 16 and I live in Warsaw which is the capital of Poland. Actually I come from another city - Wroclaw, where I lived for eleven years, but five years ago, my dad decided to change his job, and we all moved to Warsaw. I have a sister – Maja. She is 18 and she had been to USA two years ago and now she studies law at the University of Warsaw. My dad works for a German company. My mom used to teatch at the University and now, she works as a computer analitist.
I’m interested in computer science, music, sport and fantasy literature. Computers first appered in my life when I was seven. Then I had got my first computer. It was Commodore 64 and I remember myself thinking, that it was the best thing in the world. I was playing it whenever I could. Then I had got my first PC. At first, I was just playing computer games, but some time later, I noticed that I could do a lot more things with the computer, for example programming. Now, I can already programue in Pascal, C++ and HTML. I have my own site on the internet and I have done many programues. I hope that in the future I will get a job as a computer scientist.
My favorite music band is QUEEN. I think it is the best group on the earth. Together with my sister, we are devoted Queen fans. We have all their albums, many video tapes, books, posters, gadgets and interviews. I love them, but I also like other groups like The Doors, The Baeatles, The Rolling Stones, some Polish rock groups and many others. Apart from that I’m really fascinated by Scottisch bagpipe songs, and one of my favorite albums is the „Braveheart” soundtrack.
I have always been good at sports. I like playing soccer, running and swimming (also SCUBA diving and diving). I have played in many sport tournaments (football cups, handball cups, races) in which together with my team, I have won many trophys. My favorite intelectual game is chess, but I have never played it professionaly.
I love fantasy literature. I read fantasy books and magazines, watch fantasy films and play role playing games in which fantasy world is used as background. Once every two weeks, I meet with my friends and we play „Middle Earth”. I’m the master of the game and they are players. We play about five hours sesion.
It’s a lot of fun. „Middle Earth” is a game based on Tolkien’s books. I chose it, becouse I love everything that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote. He is my favorite writer, but I like other writers as well, for example Piers Anthony or Robert Jordan.
My dream is to study computer science and to go to Japan. I love everything associated with this country. and I hope that in the future, I will learn Japanise. I want to go to Japan and stay there for a long time. I want to get a job there as a computer scientist. Now, I try to learn Japanise by myself. I already know some words and about sixty letters of their alfabeth. My parents promised me that if I learn German and English well, they will find me a Japanise teatcher.
I hate spiders. When I see a spider (especialy when it’s a big one) I feel so very small and the spider seems so huge. I don’t feel scarred when I see a mouse, snake or any other animal and when I come across a spider I think: „Why is it not a mouse? Why do I always find spiders and not mise for example”. This is terrible.
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