How To Write An Academic Essay

How To Write An Academic Essay-34
Scholars use the essay amongst themselves to advance ideas.Its value as an instructional tool is to assist students in developing their critical thinking skills.Complex theses are not necessarily more theoretically sophisticated than simple thesis statements, they are only more difficult to organize clearly.

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The problem with the generalizing/philosophical/BS'ing statements like "Hemingway..." and "The Western..." is that they cannot be proven through reasoned discourse.

Moreover, to even try and do so would require voluminous amounts of discourse for something that is not even your thesis: what you actually ARE setting out to prove.

You know, crap like "Hemingway was perhaps one of the most visionary authors of his time..." or "The Western is perhaps the most uniquely American of all the genres..." Rather, if the purpose of the essay is to demonstrate that you have appropriated a theory and applied it independently to produce results, then the function of the introduction becomes more focused: to introduce the theory–or theoretical framework–that you have decided to use.

Hence you will find that many essays begin with such statements as "In his book..." Or, "In her essay..." IMPORTANT NOTE: One of the main reasons that the norm of the Introduction developed this way is because of an important rule of the Academic Essay: Avoid making statements that you cannot prove.

As you recall, critical thinking is defined as: the ability to read theory accurately, appropriate it meaningfully, apply it independently, generate results based on that application, analyze the results, and form a clear argument based on those results that can be defended with a specific line of reasoning.

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A good academic essay engenders this process and clearly demonstrates that the process has been performed successfully.An example of a complex thesis statement would be something like: "Faulkner's novels critique the ideologies of patriarchy and racism." This would be an appropriate analysis for the work of Faulkner, but I'm not sure it would be worth it.To begin with, it is not clear what the writer has to gain in terms of proving BOTH of these aspects of the work rather than just the one.As a result, the genre of the Academic Essay has evolved into the above norm.It still meets an introduction's purpose of orienting the reader, it just does so in a very specific manner.The academic essay is merely a specific writing genre–as is the love letter, newspaper editorial, or pop-fiction.As a genre, it functions within a set of norms, rules, and conventions.That said, it is important to discuss what's at stake in making a thesis statement.There are four basic logical forms for a thesis statement: • A banal thesis statement • A simple thesis statement • A complex thesis statement • An impossible thesis statement Let's discuss each of these quickly before moving on.The purpose of this discussion is to make clear to you what those rules and norms are, and how to use them to express your argument clearly.The purpose of the academic essay is to persuade by reasoned discourse.


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