Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other porting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.
Essays are structured around an introduction, body and conclusion, and the text itself is separated into paragraphs. See examples of the more formalised components of the essay, the introduction and the conclusion, in What does a good introduction look like? and What does a good conclusion look like?. The structure of an essay is not as formalised as that of a report. In some ways, you have more discretion about how you put your essay together, although you need to adhere to disciplinary expectations. Like reports, however, you must still provide an argument or position that is clearly sustained; that is, your reader must be able to follow what you have written. Refer to 'The reader – the writer' in How can I improve my argument? for more on this.
Connotation differs from denotation in that the former is related to the subjective and cultural experiences of individuals. For example, when a person uses the word, “father,” it will not be value free. A father may connote various other thoughts and feelings such as kindness, severity, love, or abuse. Therefore, in interpreting a passage, it will be important to ask what words connote in that particular context. Also it will be important to realize that words can connote very different notions with a change in time and place. For example, slavery has a very different connotation in Paul’s day than in North America. That Paul could boast of his slavery shows that the connotation behind the word was not entirely negative. In the ancient world, slavery could be a way up the social ladder as well as a way to gain great power. Moreover, unlike slavery in America, slavery in the Greco-Roman world was not motivated by race.