Academic Writing is a Form of Communication
When you are writing an academic piece (be it a 3000-word essay, a 30 000-word thesis, or a 300-word reflection paper) remember that you are trying to tell a story, and that you need to effectively communicate the point of your story to your reader (who is usually your marker). Just like any other form of communication, academic writing requires structure:
- A beginning (more commonly known as the introduction) which says “hello, this is my essay, which is about this topic, and this is the argument that I’m going to be making and these are the points that I’m going to use to make it”;
- A middle (more commonly known as the body) which involves multiple paragraphs, each making one main point, that follow on logically from each other and which are obviously connected to the argument introduced at the beginning;
- An end (more commonly known as the conclusion) which says “so this is what my essay was about, this was the argument that I made, and this is how I made it, goodbye”.
For your marker to follow the story that you are trying to tell, s/he needs to be able to follow your thought processes. Your marker cannot (and should not) smell how you reached your conclusions, so you need to spell out the steps that you took (introduce, explain, recap). And always remember that if your reader is unable to understand why s/he spent 2 minutes of her/his life reading a paragraph, then it is unlikely that they are going to be happy.