Paper Formats and Essay Structures
The truth is that academic papers are a specially-designed torture instrument. They are
preferred because instructors are not directly involved in the torture. Usually students
torture themselves by waiting until the last minute to write their papers and by not
knowing what they are doing.
That's why this guide was written. A paper is not supposed to be torture. Seriously. The
thing about torture was a joke. An academic writing assignment is supposed to be your
opportunity to explore something that interests you from your course. You have freedom
to choose a topic, empty pages on which to express your own ideas, and an audience
that is interested in reading what you think.
In an academic writing assignment, you will start by asking a good question, then find
and analyze answers to it, and choose your own best answer(s) to discuss in your paper.
Your paper will share your thoughts and findings and justify your answer with logic and
evidence. So the goal of academic writing is not to show off everything that you know
about your topic, but rather to show that you understand and can think critically about
your topic (and this is what earns you a good grade).
Plus, you will develop skills in researching, evaluating information, organizing, arguing,
responding to others’ arguments, analyzing, and expressing yourself clearly in writing (in
English too). These skills, by the way, are all valued by employers.