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Tutorial discussing tips for drafting essays.

Getting Ready to Write

Make sure you're comfortable...

  • Prepare your study space according to your comfort level. Listening to music is effective for some writers, while others need complete silence in order to work at their best.
  • Make sure you have all of the necessary supplies and resources available.
  • Remove distractions.*

As you're writing...

  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Manage your time so that you can step away from the assignment for a day or two and return to it with fresh eyes.
  • Follow sound editing and revision techniques.

*The library's blog features apps and resources that can help you eliminate pesky distractions! Subscribe for FREE!

Elements of an Essay

There are various elements that are standard components to any type of essay. These include:

  • Introduction

The introduction paragraph is typically the first paragraph of your paper. It broadly introduces readers to the topic and narrows to the thesis, or the argument for your essay.

  • Body

Body paragraphs appear in "the middle" of the essay, sandwiched between the introduction and conclusion. They each cover a topic, building logical connections between topics as readers move from one paragraph to the next through effective transitions. Each body paragraph seeks to support the thesis presented in your introduction paragraph.

  • Conclusion

The conclusion paragraph is the final element of your essay. It summarizes the main ideas presented in the paper, re-states the thesis (usually in different words), and draws the paper to a close.

You may also be asked to include the following:

  • Abstract

An abstract appears at the beginning of a paper. It summarizes the main conclusions drawn from the research.

  • References/Sources page

The name of the Sources page can vary depending on your citation style, but it is one required element of the citation/formatting process when you're using outside resources. You might also find our MLA and APA guides helpful if your assignment requires research.

Be sure to review the requirements for your specific assignment, and ask your instructor if anything is unclear.