The bones of any academic essay are fairly simple, but that does not make putting them together an easy process. Every subject will be handled a little differently, every issue needs different kinds of support, and different kinds of support all have to presented and discussed in particular ways. But at its heart, every essay is made up of a few general elements: a thesis statement, supporting evidence, and discussion. Properly developing and applying each of these elements is essential to mastering an excellent essay.
Choosing an effective and appropriate thesis statement is the first crucial step to any essay. A thesis has to be decisive and arguable. It has to make sense to the writer of the essay, and it has to be explainable to the audience or the essay that follows will be unintelligible. An important part of this includes understanding and applying the bounds of the assignment which likely has guidelines or restrictions. Only a thesis that fits the overall assignment as well as the abilities and understanding of the writer can form the foundation of an effective essay.
Performing research and gathering sources is the next major step and is entirely essential to properly supporting a thesis. Again, referring to the instructions, there is likely a limited field of sources to be chosen from in a particular assignment, but it is always important to consider the academic credibility of the sources used. Beyond that, it is critical to use sources in meaningful ways that actually contribute to the part of the argument they are intended to support. A source that does not carry any scientific credentials is useless as a scientific source while the personal blog of an uneducated individual is not likely to be considered a credible commentary on much of anything. Sources must be applicable and credible to provide strong support for a thesis and hold up the entire essay.
Discussion is the bulk of any essay and must be conducted in a concise and relevant way to keep an essay meaningful. An important writing tip is that once a thesis has been chosen and research conducted, the process of fitting it all together requires a rhetorical approach that is expressed through the various tools of a good discussion. Introduction and conclusion paragraphs, topic sentences, and logical explanation are what turns a claim and a few facts into a sensible argument that the reader can learn from. An outline is typically the best method for organizing the essay before any actual writing begins to ensure that the pattern of the discussion makes sense, and nothing is left out. What is most important is organizing the discussion into a logical pattern that does not require the reader to fill gaps with their own knowledge or read the essay out of order to keep a sense of continuity.
While the elements of an essay are simple and the process of assembling an essay is similar in most cases, the particulars of fulfilling each step can be a real challenge. It would be easy to lose track of data, take the argument in an inappropriate direction, or even fail to support the thesis entirely if corners are cut at any point. By keeping the entire process in perspective and remembering what is most important about each element, it is possible to keep the process focused and the essay meaningful.