How to do an academic essay – step by step

Who writes an academic essay, has the purpose of convincing its readers of an idea or thesis by means of evidences or arguments.

Not enough convincing arguments are enough, but they must have their origin in scientific statements, in verifiable facts, in investigations and in information registers that allow verifying the veracity of these affirmations.

To make a good academic essay, you must contemplate certain essential recommendations that will lead you in two ways.

First, to reach the attention of your readers and, second, so that your essay has coherence and solidity and, in addition to attention, gives you the conviction of your teachers, your classmates or your colleagues.

What to do to start?

Academic essays are the final result of a research work, be it documentary, field or experimental. So, when you start writing, it’s not that the work starts, it’s about to end.

The obligatory principle of your academic essay is in the approach of the subject on which you are going to treat and the approach of your opinion, thesis, assumption or hypothesis on that specific topic.

In the example, the topic and the assumption or thesis are indicated in bold. That is the obligatory start.

At the beginning or introduction you must offer your readers everything they need to know about the central topic of the essay.

Thus, this part is like a sort of framework where the thematic limits are established, the essential assumptions and, in addition, in so far as it is an academic essay, the specific theoretical approach is defined by means of which the arguments will be presented and organized. You will validate your hypothesis or assumption.

The point is, then, to establish the context of your essay and define the central topic, which results from your research, but also, at the time of writing, forces you to be alert and not to go beyond the academic limits that you yourself have indicated.

How long should your introduction be?

There is no rule for an academic essay more than that of proportionality: if your essay is extensive, the introduction can be extensive.

While you pose your topic and the assumption that responds to an implicit question that you ask yourself about that topic and that is what has motivated the previous research, you can expose part of what was experienced in the research process.

You can also point out what has been left out or report what also resulted from your investigation, but that it will not be addressed in detail, although it helped to find the arguments with which you will confirm your assumption.

But if your essay is short, your introduction should also be, in it you should only point out the essential and enough, you must move on to the next stage.

Establish and develop your arguments

The second part of the academic essay is the most important. In it, you present the arguments by which you will sustain the academic validity of your assumption or hypothesis.

A strategy for writing your academic essay is to begin presenting arguments with hard data and widely accepted information.

In the previous example, a first argument source is developed through two essential processes:

The argument is presented as hard data.

The relevance and the relation with the central thesis of the essay is indicated.

After presenting de facto arguments, that is, verifiable facts or figures, the next step is to present self-generated arguments, arguments (figures, observations, surveys) that you yourself have produced in your research.

Thus, all your arguments must pay to strengthen the assumption that you intend to validate with your academic essay.

The role of counterarguments

In the second part of your academic essay, development, it is valid -although not necessary- that you propose counterarguments, that is, arguments that contradict your assumption. Your presentation is not a kind of sabotage against yourself, but its presentation must be questioned or debated.

When you do this efficiently, you strengthen your own affirmations and show the reader your knowledge of positions contrary to yours, but that, in addition to confirming yours, you can refute those.


After presenting the arguments by which you show the validity of your assumption, the final stage or conclusion of your academic essay is to make a brief synthesis of all the arguments presented above, to demonstrate how, together, they confirm your opinion, that is to say , you synthesize the tests and you tell how they validate your assumption and you have finished your essay.

If your academic essay in addition to validating your assumption has served as a source for new reflections or can give rise to new essays, raise that possibility here.

Do not confuse an academic essay with other types of academic texts

It is important to be clear that an essay is a text in which you pose a topic, a hypothesis or assumption about it and a series of arguments to prove its validity. If you do not have those elements, it is not an essay.

Therefore, any other type of academic texts such as review, comment or conceptual definition, which do not have that basic structure, should not be confused with academic essays.

Finally, remember that this text, by its academic nature, must be concrete, clear and coherent and, to conclude, I present to you, as a synthesis, the three essential parts and what they must contain. To write your essay.

Introduction: here you indicate what is the topic you will address in the academic essay and the hypothesis or assumption about it.

Development: here you raise your arguments, develop them and analyze them.

Conclusion: here you make a synthesis of your arguments and show the reader how they serve to confirm your initial assumption.