Essay Writing Guidelines



Essay Writing Guidelines

Definition of an essay – Within the context of this competition, an essay is a four-part paper where the writer takes a stance on the essay question and develops it into a coherent, well organized, and well-thought out composition. The four parts of the essay are:

INTRODUCTION – This part of the paper lays out the “roadmap” for your essay. It explains the question from your understanding and how you plan to handle it. It helps the reader know what to expect and look for in your essay. Usually, the introduction contains the thesis statement. This single sentence is the crux of your essay. It explains your stance on the question and exactly what you will cover in the body of the essay. An introductory paragraph can start out with general information and end with a specific thesis statement.

 BODY – This is the “meat” of your essay. In this part, you will thoroughly explain your position. You should use examples, quotes, and any information you have gathered from your research to support your argument. This is where you show your reader you know and understand the topic. Typically, this part will consist of one to three paragraphs, but can have as many paragraphs as the writer wishes.

CONCLUSION – This is the part of the essay where you sum up your position and re-iterate the main points of the essay. There should not really be any new information here that was not covered in the introduction or the body of the paper. In fact, the conclusion could be considered a “mirror-image” of the introduction (i.e., start out specific and end with general idea).

WORKS CITED PAGE – This is a list of sources that you have referred to in your essay or have used as research or background information. It is placed at the end of the paper on a separate page. Although most of the writing will be your own, a lot of it will be based on information you found in books, lectures, websites, etc. Any information you have used in your essay must be clearly cited within the essay and mentioned on your references page. All citations should follow the rules found in a handbook like the APA Format ( ), although you can use any handbook with which you are familiar. It is very important to cite all sources that you used; otherwise you could be in danger of plagiarism.

Standard Quranic and Ahadith citation format – for Quran citation use (Sura #: Ayaha #), and for Hadith, use (Source, Hadith #) or APA format for other sources

Other important information:

  • Make sure your essay responds directly to the assigned topic
  • Your essay should be well organized (both in content and structure) and well thought out.
  • There should be a clear flow of ideas throughout the essay (i.e., from one sentence to the next and one paragraph to the next.)
  • Your ideas should be supported with research that should be referenced correctly.
  • Try to be creative and novel in your approach to the topic.
  • Essays should be typed and double-spaced.
  • Your name or your school’s name should not be anywhere in or on the essay.
  • Last but never least, pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Written statements from the parent/guardian and the author confirming that the work was primarily done by the author (Book publication requires that the work is original and their own.  SEE Essay Guidelines for )

Useful websites:

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