The Complete Guide on How to Write a Physics Essay

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Some students view writing an essay, especially one in physics, as a frightening and excruciatingly complicated process. However, it does not necessarily have to be such a negative experience. Creating an essay is a significant part of the learning process which can serve to develop the critical thinking abilities as well as broaden the understanding of the subject – Physics. To make this process more accessible, it is essential to fully comprehend the task. Thus, it is only logical to ask: “What is an essay in Physics and what basic rules does it have to follow?” Incidentally, it is necessary to review the fundamentals of the physics essay structure.

All the practical information is found in this physics essay writing guide. Find enough time to get the grasp of each point we state here. Don’t forget to make use of all the physics essay writing prompts you’ll read in this article.

A Physics Essay: What Is It?

This type of writing is usually shorter than a paper and should be readable to a less professional audience. However, it is also a scientific work and has to meet certain specifications. Similarly to an essay in humanities, this assignment typically requires the writer to show an understanding of the concept and give a personal viewpoint on the matter. Hence, it has to follow one of the basic types. The answer should also be supported with information and examples from reliable sources. In short, this assignment can be imagined as a precise and formal explanation of a physics matter to a peer. Despite being vague, this concept helps to form a better understanding of the writing task. This guide will elaborate on dealing with the challenges of writing a Physics essay.

Choosing a Topic for a Physics Essay

Quite frequently instead of a handout topic, the writer has the opportunity to decide on it. In this case, one of the most important steps towards a successful essay is picking the research theme. Selecting a subjectively interesting topic is necessary. Also, if the issue is inappropriately broad or narrow, research becomes overly complicated due to the lack of information available to support and formulate the arguments. Another helpful strategy is to phrase the topic as a question. Applying this method ensures that the writer can focus on answering it throughout the essay and not stray from the task. Moreover, the topics can usually be grouped according to the type of writing that is required. Considering this form before choosing the subject can help generate ideas in a faster and more efficient manner.

Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?

Types of Essays with Examples:

  • Descriptive (detailed explanation of how the subject works),
    • Explain how a combustion engine works.
    • A brief introduction to the electromagnetic induction effect.
  • Compare & Contrast (similarities and differences of concepts),
    • Alternating and direct current comparison.
    • Explain the difference between diode and triode.
  • Process (experiment and the analysis of its results),
    • Use a marine aquarium to calculate the salinity levels and the density of the water. What works best for the fish? What happens when these levels are changed?
  • Narrative (historical description),
    • History of cameras.
    • Creation of the first nuclear bomb.
  • Cause & Effect (sequence and effect of events),
    • What led to the tragedies of Chernobyl and Fukushima?
    • Which experiments proved the inconsistencies behind Newton’s laws of motion.
  • Argumentative (persuades the reader to accept the writer’s position on a debatable issue),
    • Can time travel to the future or the past ever be possible according to the laws of physics?

Furthermore, these types can be grouped according to the kind of information that is needed to have a strong essay.

  • History (Narrative). This type generally does not require a deep understanding of scientific principles and is based on analyzing history and modern day events.
  • Fundamental physics (Descriptive, Compare & Contrast, Process). This category requires knowing the laws and principles of physics under discussion. As a result, it is necessary to be well-informed on the matter to take such a subject.
  • Modern research (Cause & Effect, Argumentative). These essays are among the most complicated because the writer has to overview the current opinions of the scientific community on the topic, which typically requires already having the basic notions about it.

All in all, the selected type of the essay dictates the needed amount of knowledge in the particular field. Although it is acceptable to not be fluent in the technical side before starting the work, it should be taken into account that learning can be immensely time-consuming. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a familiar topic to allow more time for in-depth research.

Tips for Physics Essay Writing

The following tips should be considered prior to writing the physics essay:

  • The physics concepts require precision and may be complicated to grasp without proper explanation. Therefore, the essay should, by all means, have a clear structure and flow well. It is also necessary to avoid wordiness and long sentences. Similarly to other types of academic writing, the essay should also be written in a formal and impersonal style. Grammar and other language flaws must be omitted and can be found using Grammarly and other online resources or checked with a dictionary.
  • It is important to keep in mind the audience the essay is going to be presented to. The work should avoid detailed explanations of commonly known concepts if the target audience is at the required level. For instance, if it is written for an undergraduate class Newton’s Laws of Motions can be presented without further explanation. However, the essay should elaborate on all of the significant matters that are crucial to its understanding. Any supplementary information can be assisted in the further reading section.
  • Scientific essays repeatedly use mathematical equations, graphs, and diagrams, which can be helpful to present significant amounts of data. Incidentally, these tools require specific formatting to prevent hindering the readability of the work. Graphs and diagrams should be accompanied by a caption and a figure number and positioned in the text where they are referred to. Equations should be considered as part of the text, punctuated like any other sentence and numbered if they are referred to again.
  • The essay should avoid generalizations and colloquial tropes including “some scientists think…”, “it is believed that” etc. Consequently, citations and other unique notions should be included with references to the sources.
  • Copying the work or its parts from other sources is plagiarism, and it is considered a severe issue in the scientific community. Therefore, all of this external information should be referenced as direct quotations or paraphrases. It is also vital that these references match the AIP format, which is standard for scientific works in Physics. Common requirements for citations are outlined in the table below.

The Physics Essay Structure to Follow


Choosing the title is a crucial part of writing an essay because it allows the reader to understand the primary focus of the work. Moreover, a precise title will enable it to be found by a straightforward key-word search.

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a tool that helps the author to outline the main idea or topic and the author’s position on it. It typically consists of one or two sentences. An appropriate thesis serves as the backbone to the essay, helping the writer not to drift from the initial viewpoint. Therefore, it should avoid being a topic, an opinion or a fact. “Creation of the first nuclear bomb” can be a topic; “The nuclear bomb was created during WWII” is a commonly known fact. “Creation of the first nuclear bomb is the worst thing that happened to humanity” is a subjective opinion. Whereas, a successful thesis like

  • ‘Despite having horrifying consequences including Hiroshima and the Cold War, the creation of the nuclear bomb made the use of atomic energy possible, questioning the world’s dependence on fossil fuels’ should not only elaborate on the views but also explore the argumentation for having them.

Some helpful ideas to consider choosing the thesis of the essay include:

  • Despite not being obligatory, it is widely accepted to place the thesis statement at the end of the introduction;
  • Exploiting contrasting arguments by analyzing sources with an opposing view can create tension, which results in a stronger statement;
  • An efficient thesis should be a complete statement in itself and avoid generalization. Hence it cannot be formed into a question or list the arguments without context;
  • In case the essay is based on an experiment, its thesis should present the hypothesis the research was based on.

Introduction, Body Paragraphs & Conclusion

It is globally agreed that academic essays should have a fixed structure that consists of an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. An introduction allows the writer to establish the foundation for the whole essay. It usually starts with broader notions to introduce the topic or its context followed by an outline of the main points, which leads to the thesis statement. A brief action plan for writing an introduction:

  • Definition of the central issue/area that is going to be explored;
  • Background context of the research;
  • Introduction/outline of the established theoretical framework in this field;
  • Thesis statement.

The body paragraphs elaborate on the thesis statement serving the purpose of the particular essay type. There are typically three body passages in an essay. It is practical to consider a suggested universal layout to present information throughout the body of the essay:

  • The first paragraph should present an overview of the relevant data on the matter. The writer should explain various perspectives of the problem by critically examining multiple external sources and presenting own research (if applicable) in a neutral and factual manner.
  • Consequently, the second paragraph is based on the previously presented data and focuses on interpreting it through the theoretical framework mentioned in the introduction. The writer then needs to synthesize data and theory to illustrate how the evidence supports the selected position on the subject.
  • Finally, the third paragraph may concentrate on introducing and evaluating the major opposing views or identify where the data is incomplete or weak. This analysis should provide reasons for why this position it is less acceptable than the one promoted in the essay.

Furthermore, the so-called TEEL strategy helps to form individual paragraphs using a template structure. It is based on a sequence of topic sentence (contains the main idea) – explanation (of the concept in the topic sentence) – evidence and example (includes references) – link (sums up the whole paragraph).

The conclusion of the essay should summarize the points made in work and link it to the field as a whole. In other words, it elaborates on the importance of the essay as to where it fits within the broad scientific field. It may also mention the ways in which this work could be extended or improved. However, this self-criticism should not undermine the significance of its results.

Helpful Additional Sources of Information Our Writers Use & Advise

Proofreading a Physics Essay

As the final step, the writer is required to examine the finished work to correct major logic flaws. This process may be difficult, but it is necessary to make sure that the essay is clear and consistent with the task. An effective strategy is to go through a checklist of revision questions that cover most of the general issues. Finally, it is more complicated to find the problems in the writer’s own essay. Therefore, an efficient method is to ask for assistance from a peer or professor after finishing the work.

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