Discuss the major components of an academic essay,outlining the role that each component plays.
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An academic essay is a systematic piece of writing which has a coherent and cohesion meaning. Basically, an academic essay is mainly characterized by an introduction, the body, the conclusion and the reference as shall be discussed forth with. To begin with, an introduction as stressed by McMillan and Weyers (2010: 90) “has to be the first contact that the reader makes with the author of the text.” This, therefore means it (the introduction) has to be well organized and clear, that is, short and precise to the subject matter or the topic. In support, Cleary et al (2013: 264) writes, “The introduction is the official start of your essay and introduces your reader to the subject.” Furthermore, Gamble and Gamble (2010: 371) supports the idea of the introduction being the first to impress the subject matter or points to be stressed.
They further explain that, “The functions of an introduction are to gain the attention of the audience members, to make them listen to the speech.” Just like Gamble, Payne (2001) gives an emphasis on getting the attention of the audience through introducing the subject. Payne (ibid) suggests that, the introduction has to bring about the topic, that is, highlighting the audience or the reader about the subject or topic. In addition to that, Gamble (ibid) further shows that, in the introduction one of the ultimate goals to be built is rapport. This therefore, means creating or having a mutual relation of understanding with the audience. Cleary (2013: 265) suggests that, “an introduction has to explain the title as necessary: defining terms used in the title and explains the purpose in writing the subject matter.” This means, educating the audience or reader about the topic and thereby, giving adequate information relating to the subject. In addition, McMillan (ibid) gives an emphasis on the importance of the introduction being brief and, thereby explaining of the topic context. Meaning the introduction has to be clear and making the topic being clearly understood by everyone. Pritchard (2008) also highlights on the formulation of the relation between the audiences so as to deliver the information effectively. More so, Payne (ibid), further outlines that the role of the introduction is to create focusting of the major ideas of the subject matter. Again, this creates the map of the rest of the piece of work or document or speech, giving directions and highlights of what is going to happen through the course of the writing. In support, McMillan (2010:89) suggests that, “an introduction should have an explanation of how one is
going to plan to address the topic in a particular text-in effect statement on intent.”
Furthermore, Cleary (2013: 265) suggests that, “an introduction has to briefly state the structure of the essay by giving the main points.” This thereby gives the reader a clear picture on the title, the purpose of writing, the focus and the essay structure writes. Furthermore, an introduction should not be too difficult to understand. The use of simple language which is widely accepted gives credibility and the use of jargons it should not be used when introducing a topic. There should not be any ambiguity when introducing a topic. After the introduction, an academic essay should have the body. This, as writes Payne (2001: 416), “Is the main portion of the speech.” This therefore, means that the use of good joints of sentences is widely encouraged. This part therefore provides all the facts, evidence, critical analysis, discussion and a well built up side line of the story or the topic. As a result, the main ideas or the gist of the topic are easily attainable efficiently. In addition to, McMillan et al indicates that, “This section (the body) lays out the work based on the approach which one has decided to adopt in organizing the content.” This part of the essay needs to be dealt with great care, as organizing the information is crucial. Since the idea needs proper and crucial alignment, this therefore explains the importance of a good essay structure with a good planning of words and a coherent of good words in sentence construction.
Clouse (2008) asserts that, the body consists of two major parts which are the topic sentence and the supporting details. The topic sentence has to present the main topic of the paragraph and announces the paragraph’s main idea, giving a map. Also, the supporting details are the evidence details provided to demonstrate the truth about the topic sentence. In other words, the body has to explain the major points, generalizing, describing or exemplifying as part of the analysis (McMillan). In addition, these authors also allude on keeping the body part as concise and clear as possible; this thereby means the body has to have less ambiguity in it. CEES (ed.) applauds that the body part of an academic essay writing has to serve the purpose of giving evidence, examples, references which relates to the topic sentence. This as a result, gives the audience a clear and a well defined picture of what is being meant by the topic sentence in play. In addition, CEES ibid points out that, the body presents the topic sentence or the central idea supporting the thesis statement or line of argument. In line with Cleary (2013: 135-136), paragraphs should be well constructed and of meaning and this is when sentences are arranged in such a way that they link to one another giving clarity to the reader. Such coherence can be achieved by arranging the sentences in the sequence that will best communicate the message to the reader through the inclusion of signpost words or signals which guides the reader. Also, a smooth flow of ideas makes the essay much more interesting, that is, cohesive meaning of the thoughts or ideas pertaining to the topic being discussed. Again, this uses transitions between paragraphs in order to ensure a perfect flow of ideas. However, the conclusion in an essay serves the purpose of summarizing the presentation. More so, McMillan (91) defines a conclusion as a summary of the whole piece of work.
Therefore, a good conclusion has to present and clarify what has been discussed, evaluated, analyzed, and stated in the master piece (the body) party of the essay. Furthermore, Redman (2006) gives an emphasis that, proper conclusions has to revisit the key points or the main points of one’s argument, summarizing the key debates raised and try to fuse them. Therefore, the conclusion should provide a condensed version of the essay’s core argument, and restating the writer’s position in essay. Also, Cleary ibid purports that, in the conclusion, ideas not mentioned before should not be introduced as this thereby changes the focus of the conclusion. Payne ibid (2001: 424), indicates that, “Conclusion is the summarizing of the major ideas.” One does not have to review everything said in the speech, but a short piece reminds the audience of what is important. The conclusion has to serve the purpose of clarifying the issues or ideas one has just discussed. In addition to that, Cleary ibid says, “The component of a conclusion is to serve as a summary of the main points, usually referring to the thesis statement.” Besides serving as a summary, a good conclusion should be used to heighten the impact of the presentation writes Gamble (2010: 374).
The conclusion must be a synthetic summary which therefore provides a platform of mutual understanding. Furthermore, it must grace the piece of work in such a manner that the major audience notes the major points or ideas of the summary as a whole (Payne). This means, a good conclusion has to be justified for recommendations. Again, a conclusion should be short, clarifying and emphasizing on the main topic of the writing, or the subject matter.
Therefore, this acts as a tool in making the presentation of the rest of the topic to be well remembered through a bracing conclusion (Payne ibid). To embrace more on a good academic essay, references should be made so as to applaud the works of others (A2Z Essay). Cleary ibid (2013: 361) defines, “Referencing as a standardized method of acknowledging printed or electronic sources of information and idea that one have used in the essay, in a way that uniquely identifies their source.” Furthermore, referencing is an act of back acknowledging the works of others in any borrowed fact so as to keep the works of others safe from any plagiarism claims (A2Z). Simply put, referencing is necessary to avoid plagiarism; to enable readers to verify quotations; and to enable readers to follow up and read more fully cited author’s argument or research. On another note, reference gives proof that allows the readers or audiences to consult the source in case of confusion or further discussions. Again, references acts as an assessment tool in the sense that it requires one to find reliability of the sources of the text, similarities and differences among the sources and making connection between the details (