genres-academic-writing-essays

Complexity, formality, precision, objectivity, hedging, and responsibility – these are all features of academic writing. The list can be much more comprehensive if one is to give a detailed description of what academic writing is about. There is no universal definition for academic writing since it comes in so many forms. But mostly people use it for denoting any kind of writing that is done to meet the requirements of educational establishments, like colleges or universities. So pretty much any written assignment done for the school or college can be considered a piece of academic writing. Throughout the study students come across various academic writing genres, such as essays, case studies, reports, etc. In this article we would like to dwell on one of the most popular genres of academic writing - an essay. This is something you will be facing all the time in a college or university. Knowing about what it is in advance may help you better understand how to write it well.

What is an Essay?

There are many academic writing genres and they all have their own functions. That is to say that every genre is meant to achieve specific goals. Most scholars outline the following types of academic writing (genres):

  • Report
  • Case study
  • Essay
  • Dissertation
  • Review/Critique
  • Reflective writing
  • Research proposal

These are basic writing genres people have to know about. At this point we don’t want to talk about anything more specific than that, for example a persuasive essay or book review. Such writings are rather subcategories or types of the genres listed above. All we want is to help our readers understand one specific genre – an essay. This is truly the genre all students will be working on regardless of the degree and course of study. So what is an essay and how to write it? An essay is a short piece of writing on a particular subject usually written in prose. It is a literary composition written in an argumentative fashion that is meant to address a problem or topic. Most of the essays are either analytic or interpretive. However, there are a lot of speculative essays as well. An essay is a way to express your ideas, analysis, and thoughts on a particular subject. It is important to understand that writing an essay is opposite to retranslating the thoughts of other people. Although other people’s ideas and thoughts are to be used in the process of writing an essay, they have to assist you either argue something or prove your own point. In other words, an essay should distinctively retranslate your own voice – this is the whole point of an essay after all.

Types of an Essay

There are four types of essays: expository, persuasive, analytical, and argumentative. Each of them has its own characteristics that you should know prior to writing.

  1. Expository essay. This one is very simple. This type of essay is meant to explain writer’s interpretation of a theme, idea or issue. In other words it is a personal response to an event, artwork or any other thing that people usually evaluate or have some kind of response to. When writing an expository essay writers have to prepare a well-defined thesis, provide evidence to back up one’s thoughts and keep everything as concise as possible.
  2. Persuasive essay. If you want to convince your readers about something then you need to write a persuasive essay. That is where arguments are to be your primary focus. Persuasive essay writing is not about emotions or even the explanation of something; it is rather about presenting arguments to persuade a reader to adopt your point of view. Natural progression from one paragraph to another, solid reasoning and evidence, no emotional wording and a strong conclusion are the characteristics of a good persuasive essay.
  3. Analytical essay. When writing an analytical essay you have to focus on a quality analysis first. Before writing this type of essay students should first examine and analyze and only then to put everything to writing. This is not something you write on the go (that is you write as you think). It is important to analyze an event or artwork and only then to interpret it. Such essays are to begin with an introductory paragraph followed by an analysis itself and personal interpretation of the findings. A conclusion should naturally flow out of the things previously mentioned in an essay.
  4. Argumentative essay. The very core of this essay type is an argument. Argumentative essays are all about proving your own opinion or hypothesis about something. This kind of essay is very similar to the persuasive writing. However, in this case you have to argue for your own opinion that is opposed to other people’s views which is much more than simply persuading someone to take your position. In order to write a good argumentative essay one has to research a topic very well and to understand all factors and aspects of the topic. Working on developing a solid evidence is another key for success when writing this kind of essay.

How to Write an Essay?

It takes both knowledge and practice to write a good essay but there are some things you have to know before the writing process occurs. All essays have identical organization or structure: preliminaries, main text, and end matter. This isn’t hard to understand it you have a hard time comprehending these things now. Preliminaries is another word for a title page that should precede anything else in your essay. It should contain your name, course, the title of the assignment given, lecturer, etc. You should check your department requirements first because these things may be different for various universities and assignments. The main text includes introduction, main body, and conclusion. This is the biggest part of your essay. End matter is nothing but a list of references where you have to provide full information about the materials you used in the process of writing.

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