The Complete Guide to a Geology Essay Writing

Writing guide
Posted on January 18, 2019

Students will often be required to complete essays in the course of their careers. It can be intimidating or frustrating when a student does not understand how to complete an essay that can be appealing to the target audience. There is no need to worry as essays are quite simple and easy to write compared to other types of geology papers, such as term papers, research papers, and reports. However, there are some basics that students need to know in order to write an essay that is logical, flowing, and easy to comprehend. There is a high possibility that you cannot impress the audience if you do not follow these basic elements. That is why professors provide students with guidelines on how to complete various types of papers.

Writing assignments, and in this case, essays provide an effective way of testing how students can link various concepts that they have learned in class. For example, the professor might want to seek whether you have grasped important ideas on the sequence of events that lead to the formation of a tsunami. A student who is able to connect the concepts shows that he or she can have wider perspectives about many different geologic processes. It is important to consider these aspects when planning and writing an essay so as to meet the expectations of your professor. This step-by-step geology essay guide can help you in the process of writing an appealing geology essay, from choosing the right topic to proofreading and referencing.

Choosing a Topic for a Geology Essay: 5 Characteristics of a Strong Title

The field of geology is wide and it is not possible to cover all concepts in a single essay. Hence, students have to choose a topic that can be covered comprehensively. The topic should not be too wide to the extent that it might not be possible to cover all ideas in a single essay. A topic such as “The Impact of Mineral Mining and Processing on the Environment” is a wide topic for an essay. The topic can be narrowed down into “The Impact of Oil Mining on Underground Water.” However, students might wonder how they can reach the most suitable topic. Here are some of the important geology essay tips that can help students during the process.

  1. Students should read through and understand instructions offered by a professor. They should cover all the materials in the syllabus and conduct online research where appropriate.
  2. If the instructor has asked for a specific topic for the essay, the student needs to focus on that topic. Moreover, they should understand whether there are specific points that should be covered in the essay. They should not stray away from these requirements.
  3. In case the instructor needs you to come up with your own topic, you should ensure that the selected topic is narrow enough to be covered within the limitations of the assignment.
  4. It is vital to stay open-minded and critical when brainstorming ideas for an essay. They can be obtained from a variety of sources, such as geology books, journal articles, research papers, etc.
  5. Taking into account all the previous points, you should be able to select the most suitable topic for the essay. They will now be ready to move to the next step and start planning the essay.

Examples of possible geology essay topics:

  • Environmental Effects of Coal Mining in Northeast Wyoming;
  • Impact of Volcanic Activities in Hawaii;
  • How to Undertake an Effective Landslide Risk Assessment;
  • Effects of Groundwater Abstraction on Wetlands;
  • How to Restore Self-sustaining Coastal Ecosystems.

Getting Down to Writing: The Essential Steps Our Writers Also Make

So, when the topic is chosen, the next step is to plan the essay. This step is generally focused on providing an overview of the main ideas. Otherwise, poor planning will lead to an essay that is incoherent and pointless. Students are recommended to be careful with this stage as it sets the foundation. At this point, they should pick an appropriate title and write a concise thesis statement.

A Title for the Essay

The title of an essay should be very specific, which means that students might have to refine the title of the topic that they choose. However, the same wording can be used in case it meets the requirements of an effective title. Although the title should be brief, it needs to be representative of the information in the essay. Word order is critical in conveying the intended meaning of the title. An example of a suitable title is “The Social and Economic Effects of Volcanic Eruptions in Hawaii.” This title is specific as it clearly shows that the reader should expect the essay that is limited to the social and economic issues.

Selecting Suitable Sources to Support the Main Ideas

After picking the title, students should focus on identifying sources that will be used to support the ideas that will be presented in the paper. For an academic essay, it is important to select sources from credible and reliable sources. Some of these sources include peer-reviewed journal articles, books, mainstream news media, government websites, etc. The sources should be relevant to the topic and contain information that is current and appropriate. Students should be able to extract ideas from these sources and understand how they will be linked to support the topic. A combination of ideas from the selected sources will result in the formulation of an appropriate thesis statement.

Write a Concise Thesis Statement

The thesis is considered a foundation of an essay as it presents a summary of the ideas that the author is presenting. It is important that you choose the strongest ideas that can be used to support the chosen topic. It is vital to note that these are ideas that will support the essay based on the evidence obtained from outside research. A thesis statement should not only provide a narrow focus on the topic but also the concepts that the essay will present. An example of a thesis statement is “The volcanic eruptions in Hawaii have led to the displacement of people, damage to property and infrastructure, and deposition of lava on the landscape.” This is a clear thesis that shows the main ideas that will be discussed in the essay and supported by outside research. The statement should be included at the end of the first or introductory part of the essay. Once all the elements are defined, a student should be ready to write the initial draft based on the outline provided in the following section.

Meet the General Format for the Essay and the Instructor’s Demands

At this point, students should have acquired all the vital skills that are needed in the writing of an effective geology essay. Since they have a clearly defined topic, this is the time you should put the ideas down using an appropriate essay format. The structure of an essay is quite similar to other types of papers as its main components include the introduction, main body, and conclusion. The content that is presented under each of the three elements is what differs. The outline presented below offers a detailed analysis of each segment.


The introduction part of a geology essay is important as it can influence the audience to read the entire essay. Hence, it is a responsibility of the student to create a compelling introduction that can hook the reader. In other words, the introduction should orientate the reader to the idea of the essay in a manner that will capture his or her interest. After grabbing the reader’s attention, the introductory part should define the focus or purpose of the essay. These are statements that can enable the reader to understand the relevance of the essay. Hence, it is vital for the student to provide some background information about the topic. This is followed by information that offers an outline of the purpose of the essay. The final part of the introduction is the thesis statement, a brief summary of the objective of the essay. The formulation of a thesis was discussed in the previous section.

Main Body

The main body of the essay contains a series of paragraphs that are used to communicate the main ideas indicated in the thesis statement. Actually, the paragraphs should be a direct reflection of the statement. It would be important to balance the number of words in each paragraph and ensure that the entire essay remains within the word limit. Otherwise, exceeding the recommended limit can result in downgrading. Each paragraph should have three important components, including topic sentence, supporting details, and concluding the sentence. The topic statement introduces the main idea discussed in the paragraph. The supporting details are the concepts supporting the claims or ideas in the topic sentence. The supporting information is usually obtained from external sources that are relevant to the topic. The final part of a paragraph is the concluding sentence that provides a summary of the ideas discussed in the paragraph. All these components should be connected in a coherent manner and use appropriate transitions between paragraphs.


The conclusion is the last part of a geology essay and offers a summary of the main points and how they can be perceived in the larger sense. For example, it can show the implications of the entire idea or issues that are yet to be addressed. Besides, the conclusion can suggest the next steps after the thesis statement is discussed and proved. The information offered in the concluding sentence should enable the reader to reach a logical conclusion about the issue. Generally, the conclusion needs to repackage the thesis and assist the reader to recall the journey through the essay. The last sentence of the essay should be captivating to make the audience want to read the essay again. Moreover, this part of the assignment is to make the reader remember the main concepts of the essay and relate them to the bigger picture. Overall, this section should restate the thesis and close with a broad general statement related to the topic.

Finalizing the Essay: Help Your Essay Stand out from the Crowd


The first draft of the essay can contain errors that might not be apparent during the writing process. It is an important process that can lead to the elimination of errors and ensure that everything is properly written and organized. It is not advisable to start proofreading immediately; it might not be possible to have the right amount of concentration to notice all the mistakes. A student should put the work aside for at least a day. In this case, proofreading would be more effective. Do not turn in the first draft – make sure you have determined the grammar, stylistic, punctuation, and spelling errors. Besides, it is also important to remove unnecessary or repetitive words that make your paper difficult to read. Check the flow of ideas and ensure that they are connected in a smooth and logical manner.


Referencing is vital for any information that is borrowed from external sources. As indicated previously, academic papers need credible and reliable sources of information. Students should avoid copying information directly from the sources. Instead, they should paraphrase it and apply the concepts. They should not just restate the information but integrate the ideas into the overall flow of the essay. It is important to avoid plagiarism as it can lead to a disciplinary action. The use of direct quotes should be limited; ask your instructor concerning the extent to which these quotes can be applied. In general, academic essays should have less than 20 percent of the cited information. Mind that all the citations in the text should have corresponding references at the end of the paper.


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  2. Pritchard, L., & Roberts, L. (2006). The mature student’s guide to higher education. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.
  3. Ravelli, L., & Ellis, R. (2005). Analysing academic writing. London: Routledge.
  4. Soles, D. (2003). Writing an academic essay. Taunton: Studymates.
  5. Warburton, N. (2007). The basics of essay writing. London: Routledge.
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