Topic 6 – Academic Essay Writing Skills 2 (Planning an Essay, Title Analysis, Tabular Notes, Sentence Outline) Introductions and Conclusions, Academic Voice


Academic essay writing skills are essential for success in higher education, enabling students to present their ideas clearly and effectively. In Topic 6 of our academic essay writing series, we delve into the nuances of planning an essay, title analysis, tabular notes, sentence outlines, as well as introductions, conclusions, and academic voice. Mastering these elements will undoubtedly improve the quality of your work, helping you to convey your thoughts in a structured and persuasive manner.

Planning an Essay

The first step in producing a well-structured academic essay is planning. An essay plan serves as a roadmap, providing you with a clear direction and ensuring that your argument remains focused. A good plan should include the following components:

  1. Analyze the title: Break down the essay title or prompt to identify its key components, requirements, and any underlying assumptions.
  2. Gather ideas: Brainstorm and research potential arguments, supporting evidence, and counterarguments relevant to your topic.
  3. Organize your thoughts: Arrange your ideas into a logical order, ensuring that they flow coherently and support your overall argument.

Title Analysis

Understanding the essay title or prompt is crucial, as it provides a clear indication of what is expected. To analyze a title, consider the following steps:

Identify keywords: Determine the main concepts and ideas that the title is addressing. For example, in the title “The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health,” the keywords are “social media” and “mental health.”

Understand command words: Recognize the type of response required, such as “discuss,” “analyze,” “compare,” or “evaluate.”

Clarify the scope: Determine the limits and focus of the essay, such as the time frame, geographical area, or specific context.

Tabular Notes

Tabular notes help to organize and condense information from various sources, making it easier to compare and synthesize data. To create tabular notes, follow these steps:

Create a table with columns for different aspects of your topic, such as key points, evidence, and counterarguments.

Fill in the table with information from your research, using bullet points or short phrases.

Review and revise the table as needed, ensuring that it is comprehensive and well-organized.

Sentence Outline

A sentence outline provides a detailed framework for your essay, allowing you to see how your argument will unfold. To create a sentence outline, follow these steps:

  • Write a thesis statement that summarizes your main argument.
  • Develop topic sentences for each paragraph that support your thesis.
  • Include supporting evidence and counterarguments for each topic sentence.
  • Ensure that your outline follows a logical structure and includes transitions between ideas.

Introductions and Conclusions

The introduction and conclusion are crucial components of an academic essay, as they set the stage and wrap up your argument. To create an effective introduction, include the following elements:

A hook that captures the reader’s attention.

Background information to contextualize your topic.

A clear thesis statement that outlines your argument.

In your conclusion, restate your thesis and summarize your main points, emphasizing the significance of your findings and their implications for future research or real-world applications.

Academic Voice

Adopting an academic voice is essential for producing high-quality essays. This voice should be formal, objective, and precise, avoiding colloquial language, slang, and personal opinions. To develop your academic voice, consider the following tips:

  • Use third person, avoiding first-person pronouns such as “I” and “we.”
  • Choose specific, precise vocabulary to convey your ideas.
  • Employ a logical, coherent structure to present your argument.
  • Incorporate evidence and citations to support your claims, demonstrating your engagement with existing scholarship.


Mastering the components of Topic 6 in academic essay writing will greatly enhance your ability to produce well-structured, persuasive, and compelling essays. By carefully planning your essay, analyzing the title, utilizing tabular notes, crafting a sentence outline, and employing effective introductions and conclusions, you will ensure that your work is coherent and engaging. Additionally, adopting an academic voice lends credibility and professionalism to your writing, further improving its overall quality. With practice and dedication, these academic writing skills will become second nature, setting you on the path to success in your academic endeavors.

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