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EP 44: Academic Writing: The Basics

Learning how to effectively find, develop and express ideas is key to success in post-secondary education. In Episode 44 of The Homework Help Show host, Cath Anne, offers strategies to improve writing and research skills and breaks down the steps involved in writing an academic essay.

Looking for study tips, help with essay writing, or advice on how to be a better student? Welcome to The Homework Help Show, a weekly show where we teach, assist, and offer valuable insights for student life. From study hacks to writing tips, discussions about student mental health to step-by-step guides on academic writing and how to write a resume, we’ve got you covered. Want your questions answered? Write them below or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #askHHG


Cath Anne: [00:00:00] Hi guys and welcome back to our channel. My name is Cath Anne and this is Episode 44 of The Homework Help Show by Homework Help Global. Here on the show we provide you with valuable content for your academic and student life. Let’s jump in.

Cath Anne: [00:00:24] Learning how to find develop and express ideas is key to success in postsecondary education. In this video we will offer strategies to help you improve your writing and research capabilities when you begin your courses.

Cath Anne: [00:00:40] You will receive syllabus. This schedule of dates and assignments will help you to budget your time effectively. It is important to go through your syllabus and make sure you are aware of all upcoming dates. It is especially important to be familiar with the dates of upcoming assignments and get started on those right away. Budgeting your time effectively will allow you to do the research and thought development required to write an effective essay. And that is what we will be talking about today.

Cath Anne: [00:01:18] According to the MLA or Modern Language Association handbook the sorts of activities that constitute a research paper identifying locating, assessing and assimilating others’ research and then developing and expressing your own ideas clearly and persuasively are at the center of the educational experience. Without careful laborious thinking writing is merely a transcription of empty words. In other words you will want to make sure that you develop an opinion and some thoughts around the content and not just regurgitate the research that you come across when you are doing your initial research. In other words you will want to make sure that you develop an opinion and some thoughts on the topic at hand. You do not just want to regurgitate the research that you have found when you are doing your initial discovery of the information that is out there in the literature on your topic.

Cath Anne: [00:02:19] There are three important elements to incorporate into academic writing: research, logical argumentation, and writing in a formal and precise style. These three components combined are what make an effective essay. Furthermore writing an academic essay includes a series of important steps where as the facts mentioned before are more of the theory behind the essay writing. These are some steps that you will want to pursue as you move forward in writing your essay. Number one: brainstorm. Number two: make an outline. Number three: complete research. Number four: write the first draft. Number five: revise. And number six: proofread. We will go through these one by one so you have a breakdown of all of these steps.

Cath Anne: [00:03:17] Begin by making sure you understand the assignment and all of the steps involved. If you do have any questions, make sure you go to your professor right away to make sure you understand the assignment instructions. This is where reading your syllabus ahead of time will come in handy because if you do have any questions you can go to your professor early and they will be able to clarify anything you are unsure about.

Cath Anne: [00:03:43] Start by brainstorming. Find a good idea by thinking about local issues pertinent information interesting pieces of news. Think about something that will really grab your reader. This is an essential component of writing a strong essay. Check out Episode 34 of The Homework Help Show. For more on writing a strong thesis statement that will intrigue your reader and keep them wanting more. You may be given a topic or you may have the freedom to choose. In any case make sure that you are familiar with the topic and take the time to write down everything you know about the topic ahead of time. Think about what idea interests you. Narrow it down a topic like “Environmental Protection” is too general. “Environmental Protection in Canada” is a little bit better. However we can narrow it down a little bit more. “Environmental Protection of the Fraser River in Canada” is definitely more specific and you will find much research on this topic which will allow you to develop a strong thesis statement and therefore a strong essay. Finally think about something you are interested in. Perhaps you do not have the power to choose your own topic but pick an angle which interests you. You will be much more likely to write an interesting essay if you’re interested and engaged in the topic.

Cath Anne: [00:05:17] Second make an outline organize your ideas into subtopics. This will give you a better idea of what you already know about the topic and it will help you to organize your thoughts moving forward. Writing an outline will give your papers some direction and give you an idea of where you will go as you proceed in writing your essay.

Cath Anne: [00:05:42] Thirdly take some time to do some in-depth research on the topic. The more information you have on the topic the easier it will be to write the essay and you will be able to write a stronger argument in regard to the topic you are considering. Remember writing a research essay is not just stringing together facts that you learn along the way in your research process. Rather you must develop an opinion or an argument about the information that you do come across. Think about the word synthesising. So rather than taking facts and information and stringing them together you are looking at to create a logical flow with your essay. Use your outline as a guide to help you along the way and let you know how to proceed in writing your essay. Plug in all of the research information that you come across into your outline and this will give you a guide along the process of writing your essay. Remember to make use of resources like the librarian the writing center or another peer or a peer tutor. If you need some help to do research. Checking with your professor and see if they can guide you or if they may have any resources available that will help you to write your essay. As well. Don’t forget to use some of the information and readings that the professor provides throughout the coursework. It is likely that they will want this included in your essay and this can also give you a guide as to what information the professor may be looking for.

Cath Anne: [00:07:16] The fourth step in the process is to begin writing the first draft of your essay using your edit line and the research you have come across. Begin putting everything together. See how your argument or your opinion on the topic. Evolves throughout the writing process. Perhaps you acquire more information and you develop a different perspective along the way. Although you may have a strong sense of what you would like at the beginning of the paper. And this is recommended you may develop a stronger sense of your vision for the paper as you progress throughout the paper writing process.

Cath Anne: [00:07:53] Number five, go back and read through your essay. Be careful to look for clear ideas add details and additional research including quotations. Make sure all of your sources are well cited and improve your writing. This includes changing things like grammatical mistakes run on sentences misspelled words. But it also includes. Adding in information that you think will enhance your paper. One great way to do this is to exchange your paper with another person having a second set of eyes can always help in editing your paper. This might be a peer or perhaps it’s someone at the writing center. Check for repetition check for sentence structure. Make sure that all the ideas flow well together and that you are making an argument that fuses together overall. Remember that editing a paper can make the difference between. An average grade and a good grade. This is where time management comes in handy because you do not want to be waiting till the last minute to edit your paper. This is a necessary step in writing an essay. So make sure that you do put in the time to do some editing at the end.

Cath Anne: [00:09:08] Finally go back and proofread. This is a second go over on your paper and in this process you will want to be very detailed in terms of what information you are looking at. So you are looking specifically for grammatical errors punctuation mistakes run on sentences and here you are also really looking to hone your writing. So make sure you don’t have any passive language everything must be direct. You really want to create a strong essay and this is what the proofreading process will help you with. Finally at the end of the essay writing process go through a checklist. Have you followed the instructions. You have the correct number of words or pages. Do you have InTech citations. And do they match your bibliography or reference page. And finally have you written the correct type of essay and have you done what the professor is looking for. If you go back to this checklist and you are able to check all of these off. Congratulations you have written an awesome essay. You are an ace essay writer and these tips will help you along the way to get a great grade on your essay. Remember essay writing is more than just stringing together information that you come across. Sure there is a lot of information out there and it may be overwhelming at first. However if you give yourself the time and a process through which to write your essay you will thank yourself in the long run because you will write a much stronger essay. Make sure you develop your opinion and an argument about the topic at hand and really show your professor that you are invested in the topic and that you know what you’re talking about.

Cath Anne: [00:10:58] Think about it you might even learn something. Okay that’s it for me this week guys. I hope this episode was of benefit to you if you do have any questions. We’d love to hear from you. Please give us a shout in the comment box below if you did this like if you did like this video please give it a like and make sure to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss out on any of our content. All of our social media links are in the description box below. Have a great week guys. Take care.