By definition, essays are short piece of writings that aim at expressing the author’s point of view. Essays may contain author’s arguments, observations, criticism and reflections from his/her point of view. They therefore give the author’s point of view other than what the audience know or is thinking. The different types of essays include persuasive or argumentative essays, expository essays, informal, research, literary, cause and effects, and comparison and contrast  essays.

Different types of essays address different topics and views. Argumentative or persuasive essays give an author’s view or position on a topic after investigation and evaluation of evidence on the topic. Comparison and contrast essays give the similarities and differences of the matter addressed by the topic. The cause and effects essays explain the causes or effects of something being addressed by the topic. Research essays demonstrate the knowledge of a person on a topic through research or investigation of the topic. Literary papers demonstrate or present the author’s views on an issues addressed in a text he/she read. It thus aims at demonstrating the authors understanding on an issue in a text.  Expository paper explains in-depth on a given topic.

In writing essays, the first step is choosing of an essay topic.  The topic is usually dictated by the type or kind of the essays that one intends to write. An essay topic meets some if not all of these characteristics. It should be precise and not ambiguous, unique, interesting, be in the scope of the author’s knowledge and subject, easy to analyze and have good background information. After choosing the topic, the author goes on to develop the ideas on the topic by using critical analysis of the topic to have a clear understanding. The author focuses on the methodologies to use in research, gathering information and the appropriate sources of information to his/her paper. This helps the writer in developing a draft of the paper. The writer then focuses on the structure and organization of the paper that forms a better guideline when writing.

The outline and format of essays

The elements of standard essays that would earn acceptance by an academic board are

Title: The title should include a concise and clear statement of the main topic. This may be in form of a hypothesis statement. The title should have a length of not more than 12 words. Abstract section gives a brief and comprehensive summary of the contents of the paper. It gives the reader a quick overview of the content and scope of the paper.

Table of contents gives the topics, subtopics and their specific pages in the paper. Introduction: the section gives a description of the problem the topic and the arguments why it is worth to be undertaken. Literature review develops the background of the topic through review of studied literature and gives an acknowledgement of the scholars who their work forms the basis of the paper. The body describes the methods used in the research, results, and the discussion on the results or outcomes of the research. Conclusion: the conclusion gives the final remarks by explicitly stating the importance and implication of the research. References section gives the list of names of authors, the title of their work, the edition, year, publisher as well as any other relevant detail depending on the format of the academic paper.