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.
Thank you for your post – I do appreciate it. It makes me think about when I read the book “Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Parents Knew”, a book written by someone who has a lot of pain and anger relating to her adoption. I read this book while I was waiting to go bring home the little boy who is now my older son. I was so shaken by the book that I thought about canceling the adoption; her pain was so palpable and overbearing that I began to think that perhaps I shouldn’t go through with the adoption. (I think this is why a lot of adoptive parents hate this book – it makes us question our actions so thoroughly, and that can be painful.) You may not agree with my reasoning, but I did decide to go forward – my son was already an orphan, I did not make him one, that loss occurred long before I began to think about adopting. I could not prevent any pain from what he’d already experienced, but I was determined to give him as much as I could so that he would have the wherewithal to deal with that pain. But I appreciated the fact that the book put into words some of what I think I need to know as my sons grow up and face the issues you are facing. Your essay does the same.