#13. Writing an Academic Essay (Part 5)
by Jayna Tokie Tanaka
Checking Sources and Finishing the Essay
Before writing the final draft for the essay, the facts and details should be checked and the sources should be listed. This is a very tiresome job, but one that is important to give credence to the assertions in the essay. Without checkable information, the essay could be fiction as far the as the reader is concerned.
The sources for the essay on guns in the U.S. were newspapers, journals, and reports from research groups. These sources were all found on the Internet, so they may be easily read by anyone who wishes to get more detailed information. For a formal research paper, the Modern Language Association (MLA) has a manual which gives detailed instructions for each part of the writing process. I will use the MLA style for making a list of the references I used.
1．Wood, Keith. “Best States for Gun Owners 2015.” Guns and Ammo. 21 July 2015. Web.
2．Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence | Because Smart Gun Laws Save Lives, “2016 Gun Law State
3．Isenstein, Libby. “The States With The Most Gun Laws See The Fewest Gun-Related Deaths.” The Atlantic.
28 August 2015. Web.
4．Ingraham, Christopher. “American gun ownership drops to lowest in nearly 40 years.” The Washington
Post. 29 June 2016. Web.
5．Sanchez, Ray. “Death and guns in the USA: The story in six graphs.” CNN News. 4 October 2015. Web.
6．Horsley, Scott. “Guns In America, By The Numbers.” NPR. 5 January 2016. Web.
7．BBC News. “Guns in the US: The statistics behind the violence.” 5 January 2016. Web.
8．Ingraham, Christopher. “This is what one year of gun deaths in America looks like.” The Washington Post.
2 October 2015. Web.
After having included the evidence for the thesis statement in the body paragraphs, the writer finishes the essay with a concluding paragraph. The writer may choose to restate the thesis statement or summarize the contents of the body paragraphs. The following concluding paragraph for the above essay includes both a restatement and a summary.
1．Restatement of the thesis statement
In conclusion, the writer hopes that readers now understand why guns are creating havoc in the United
2．Summary of the body paragraphs
The laws regulating guns vary from state to state complicating efforts to control them. The actual
number of guns in private hands is the highest in the world, making any area of the U.S. a very
dangerous place. The mayhem caused by these guns is almost unbelievable because guns not only kill;
they also maim people for life.
3．The writer’s final thoughts
It seems to me that the only way to stop this is to restrict the use of firearms to the military, the
police, and hunters as is done in many countries. However, I do not think this will happen in the near
The final sentence for the essay can be a suggestion or a prediction. In the above paragraph, the final thought is both a suggestion and a prediction.
It is finally time to write the completed essay. For university students, this is not an easy task, especially since it may be the first time they have ever attempted to write a five-paragraph essay in English. However, if they have already practiced writing good paragraphs and understand their structure, it should be possible for them to proceed to this next step. I’m looking forward to reading the first essays my first-year students just wrote. They are due tomorrow.
(To Be Continued)
Jayna Tokie Tanaka（ジェイナ・トキエ・タナカ）