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Writing Your Essay

In college, most of our writing is to inform or persuade the reader — most likely the professor — that a position you have taken has merit. Writing a persuasive academic essay involves conducting research, incorporating that research into your writing, and structuring your essay using paragraphs.

Top Tips

  • Focus on your purpose –to persuade.Ask yourself throughout the writing process if that is what you are doing.
  • Focus on your reader.What will your reader expect?
  • Cite all of your sources of support.Plagiarism is painful. The college librarians can help.
  • Be sure you can back up your position.Do you have enough credible support for the position you have taken?
  • Think about how you might organize your essay. Choose ‘text structures’ that might work in your paper. The most common structures found in academic writing are comparisons, contrasts, causes, effects, and problems/solutions.
  • Structure your paper.Every academic essay will have an introductory paragraph, supporting paragraphs and a concluding paragraph.
  • Remember your topic sentences.Each supporting paragraph should have a clear topic sentence.
  • Each supporting paragraph should support your thesis statement.Each paragraph should have reasons, evidence and examples that support the point you are making in that paragraph.
  • Never “drop” a quotation into your paragraph.Always introduce the quotation and explain it after.
  • You don’t always have to use a quotation to make your point.You can get the key point and express it in your own words (paraphrasing and/or summarizing).
  • Use the appropriate level of language for this type of writing.In this case, it is formal.

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