The Academic Essay Writing Process
You might asking, “Why do I need to follow an academic essay writing process?” Well the simple answer is you become a more effective and efficient writer. The academic essay writing process establishes the discipline to become a good essay academic writer. One which produces outstanding paragraphs or academic essays each and every time.
The academic essay writing process consists of 5 key steps. Follow the academic process if you want to write a good academic essay!
You can write an academic essay easily by duplicating the following process.
Step 1: Pre-write
Prewriting is the first step in the process you use to write any academic essay. Pre-writing helps you to get ideas on a topic. In this step, you write down your thoughts in any way or form that helps you remember them. There are a number of techniques or kinds of pre-writing that you should learn for academic purposes.
- Note taking
With this prewriting technique, you usually do some kind of interview or research to get information about your topic. You take notes on the information given or found.
- Free Writing
Free writing is a technique where you start writing without stopping until you reach your desired topic. In this techniques sentence structure, spelling, and grammar do not matter. The main aim is keep writing, and not to stop until you reach your topic idea that you wish to write about.
Listing is another technique which is really divided into two parts. In the first part, you make general notions about the topic you have been given. In the second part, you choose one of the suppositions and make a more detailed list about the chosen topic.
- Brain Storming
The brainstorming technique only has one rule. You should set a time limit when brainstorming. Brainstorming is similar to listing. You start by writing the topic at the top of the page, and then you write your thoughts down in list on your paper. Make sure you write everything done. Just keep writing ideas down in words or short phrases, and it doesn’t matter about any mistakes you make. You can change or delete ideas latter in the writing process.
This process uses circles on paper with connected ideas. You begin clustering by drawing a circle in the middle of your page and write the topic inside. When you think of related points, you write these points in circles around the topic circle. Each related idea in turn produces more related reflections. Once you have finished the clustering process you can easily see where most of your rich concepts are. The rich points become the basis for your paragraph. Clustering offers the further advantage of grouping your ideas logically.
These are all different techniques or ways to prewrite to get ideas about your topic. Which one is best? Well that’s up to you, but in my experience, brainstorming and clustering are the preferred methods used by most ESL students before they being to write an academic essay.
Step 2: Organise
The second step of the academic writing process is organisation. Most students tend to understand outlining, but they fail to recognise that outlining is actually a part of the organising step. When you organise your pre-writing you follow these two sub processes.
1. Look at your list of ideas and group them logically. Circle ones you want to use. Delete those you believe are unnecessary or duplicated points.
2. Once this part is completed, you do an outline. An outline helps you organise or arrange your ideas in a logical order. It’s like building a house. First lay the foundations, then you build the walls, and finally you add the roof. Outlines can be simple or detailed. When writing an academic essay, I suggest you use a detailed outline.
Step 3: Write Your First Draft
Step 3 is where you put pen to paper. Here you follow your outline to write your draft essay. Write it as quickly as possible, and don’t worry about too many mistakes. It’s ok to make some mistakes at this stage because it is only a draft. You will fix any errors in the next step. At this stage of the process, it is perfectly acceptable to add any other ideas you think of. Don’t forget to add your concluding sentence(s).
When writing some kinds of academic essays, you must provide supporting evidence to prove your point. For example, in opinion essays, you must be able to convince the reader that that your opinion is the correct one, which may may make them change their mind. You do this by using examples.
Use of examples is expected by readers when writing academically. You should use examples which are either reported speech, statistical facts, real life examples, or a combination of all of these. Examples can be expressed with words like he said, for example, for instance, such as, or like. Use them to show the reader how you are supporting your ideas. Also note you may have to write a second draft if you want a great paragraph or academic essay.
Step 4: Edit and Review
As with everything we do in life, we check and review our actions. The same applies to your academic essay process. We normally do two kinds of reviews for our writing.
- Peer Review
A peer review means a peer reviewer, friend or classmate, should read your paragraph, ask questions about your essay, and make some comments on what they think is good, or what they think should be changed to make you essay more clear. They do not check for grammar, punctuation, or spelling.
The peer reviewer should check for things like
- Is the topic clear?
- Was the paragraph interesting?
- Did the reviewer learn anything?
- Did they understand everything?
- Do they need more information?
- Should something be included in the paragraph?
- Should something be removed from the paragraph?
- Is the paragraph on topic?
- Is the paragraph coherent?
- Does the conclusion summarize or restate the topic sentence in different words?
- Self Edit and Review
A self edit means you check your draft for any errors. It’s like polishing your car. You make sure your essay is spic and span for others to read. When you do your self check you should check for things like.
Is the title appropriate, and does it follow the title rules? Note the rules are simple. Capitalize the first and last word in a title, and all the major words. Don’t capitalize small words like articles and small prepositions.
- Paragraph Format
- Is my paragraph format correct?
- Paragraph Organisation and Structure
- Does my paragraph address the topic?
- Does my paragraph have a good topic sentence and concluding sentence?Do my transition signals connect my ideas correctly?If writing an essay, do my transition signals connect my paragraphs?
- Do my examples to support my ideas?Does my paragraph follow the rules of unity and coherence?
- Grammar and Sentence Structure
- Do I have any sentence errors?
- Have I used a combination of sentence types like simple sentence?
- compound sentences, and complex sentences?
- Have I varied sentence openings by using some prepositional phrases or dependant clauses?
- Punctuation and Capitalisation
- Have I used a period, question mark, or exclamation mark at the end of each sentence?
- Have used commas according to the commas rules and sentence structure?
- Have I used capitals correctly?
- Is my spelling correct?
Step 5: Write Your Final Copy
Of course the last step in the academic process is to complie your essay. Once you have your feedback from your peer review and completed your self edit, you should write your final polished version following the English academic skills you have learnt.
Your finished! The process is complete. Great, so its not all that difficult if you follow the academic essay writing process.
Oh, one more thing, don’t forget to hand it to your teacher, instructor, professor or boss, who ever is appropriate, for reviewing.