Saskatoon Public Schools

Navigating the Research Highway:
Everything You Need to Know About Doing Research
Quick Links  
Final Product
Thesis  Statement
Essay Planning
Note Taking/
 Recording  Information
Referencing  Sources
Criteria for  Evaluating  Sources
How To Write An Essay

What is an essay?

  • An essay is an argument on paper in which you provide reasons to support your side of the argument. In other words, you back up your opinion with facts.
  • Essays begin with an opening paragraph which hooks the reader by making an interesting comment, briefly states the important supporting ideas, and states the argument or main idea (thesis statement) for the essay.
  • The rest of the essay, the body or middle paragraphs, presents convincing reasons and plenty of evidence to support the main argument (thesis). Each reason is presented in a separate paragraph where it is expanded with details, examples, and facts. A typical essay in high school contains three or more middle paragraphs in which the writer provides the main reasons he or she has chosen to support the position that he or she has taken as stated in the thesis.
  • In the concluding paragraph, the writer reviews the thesis and the argument's main supporting ideas, and provides a final, general comment on the essay's topic or position.

How do I write an essay?


Introduce the essay topic in the first few sentences. Make the opening sentence a general statement about the theme or topic of your thesis. Make it catch the readers' attention and have them want to continue reading. Then briefly introduce the important supporting ideas to be developed and discussed in the middle paragraphs. Make these sentences flow from the opening statement to the thesis by using transitional words and phrases such as "first", "additionally", and so on. Finally, provide your thesis statement/main idea as your final sentence in your introduction.

Middle Paragraphs

Each of the supporting ideas introduced in the first paragraph is now developed in a separate paragraph and forms the content of each of these middle paragraphs. Each paragraph begins with a topic sentence which announces the supporting idea to be developed. The remainder of the paragraph develops and expands the topic sentence by providing factual evidence, examples, reasons, and details. The paragraph ends with a suitable general sentence that brings closure to the idea and leads smoothly into the next middle paragraph.

Concluding Paragraph

In some ways, the last paragraph of an essay is a mirror image of the first paragraph. Begin your conclusion by reiterating your thesis, review the important supporting ideas developed in your middle paragraphs, and conclude with remarks that comment on the essay as a whole and/or broaden the context of the information.

Referencing your Sources

Remember that every time you use information from another source to support the ideas in your essay, you need to cite those sources. Whether you use direct quotations or simply paraphrase the information, you need to reference your sources both in the text of your essay and on a separate reference page at the end of your essay.


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