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Thesis and Essay Writing

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An academic essay is a piece of writing where you present your argument and support it with evidence. A thesis is a more in-depth and lengthier essay, and it is often a prerequisite for receiving a degree. Writing for academic works is not difficult if you have done it systematically. You will find that the process is easier than you imagined. This guide outlines the steps involved in the writing process. It aims to help you feel confident in constructing high-quality academic works.


Thesis & Essay Writing: A Quick Checklist

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1.1 Evaluate Your Sources:
  • The sources you have found are valid (use library databases and other reliable sources in your work).
  • The sources you have found are up-to-date (if current trends matter to your research topics).
  • The sources you have found are relevant to your research topic.


1.2 Read Critically:

  • You can identify the main ideas.
  • You can identify the underlying theories and models.
  • You can identify the connections between text and context.
  • You have paid attention to the solutions of works by other scholars.
  • You have already taken notes and prepared for further research.

1.3 Formulate a Research Question:

  • Think of a question that you can answer with your current knowledge.
  • Develop an open-ended question that cannot be answered simply with a “yes” or “no” response. 
  • Elaborate the question in a clear and focused manner.

2.1 Structure:

  • The primary argument has been introduced and is debatable.
  • The argument and counter arguments are well presented in the body of the essay.
  • The significance of your argument has been highlighted in the concluding statement.


2.2 Support by Reference:

  • Your argument is supported by evidence, facts, and definitions with citations.
  • Your essay is enhanced by relevant tables, figures, graphs, charts, and/or other important information.

2.3 Logical Flow:

  • You address one point at a time in a reader-friendly, logical sequence.
  • You use transition words and phrases naturally to connect paragraphs.
  • Your ideas are unified to create a more in-depth understanding/ message.

3.1 Formatting:

  • Your essay meets general formatting requirements, e.g. font style, size, and spacing.
  • Your essay is easy to read – it has a clear structure with a consistent format of description and presentation for all headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, etc.
  • Your essay follows the appropriate citation style.


3.2 In-text Citation (APA 7th style):

  • You use “&” within parentheses instead of “and”, e.g. (Smith & Jones, 2012).
  • You use double spacing instead of single spacing.
  • You use “(n.d.)” if the source is not dated.


3.3 Reference List (APA 7th style):

  • List what you have used, not what you have read.
  • Do not use quotation marks “ ” for article titles.
  • Italicize journal titles and volume numbers.
  • List the middle names and first names of authors as initials.
  • Organize all references according to the alphabetical order of authors’ last names/ surnames/ family names.
  • Do not use numbering/ bullet in the reference list.

Note: More information can be found in the referencing and citation guide.

Recommended Books

Writing Guides and More

You can use below subject headings to find books, e-books, and more on writing theses and essays in SearchPlus.