How To Write An Essay – A Guide
Welcome to the new installment of our guide dedicated to specifics of essay writing.
In this article, we’ll be listing a few preferred tips and structural suggestions. They will surely help elevate your academic piece above the rest.
An essay is a composition dedicated to a specific subject or idea; there are short essays and those with a much larger scope and page count.
There is no set way to write an essay. Most educational institutions have specific guidelines that apply to written content that they expect out of their students.
Professors and teachers are likely to give you more information regarding specific assignments, but some general helping guidelines can still be applied to the writing process.
Some of those we’ll discuss today.
How to write an essay
Step 1 – Planning your work
Brushing up on essential details for a fresh perspective is never a bad philosophy.
Any topic, no matter how intricate, demands closer inspection from the student. Regardless of how many essays are under your belt, the first step remains the hardest.
Shorter essays are much easier to handle, but we’ll take a look at the creation process of a longer essay type. The same template can be used for either kind, be it an intricate research piece or a simple 500 word one.
The entire hierarchy is as follows:
- Title and thesis generation. Your title acts as the anchor point of your essay.
- General outlining process; generate a list of literature you plan on examining; it is an essential part of any writing process.
- Read and research your list of literature. Keep track of your notes and sources, it’ll help you in the long run. You’re very likely to do a lot of reading for your courses, so it’s vital to identify which materials (journals, magazines, books, etc.) to examine.
- Write drafts of main body paragraphs; there’s usually 3 of them. Write drafts for introduction and conclusion paragraphs as well.
- Rewrite all bodies of the essay and pay close attention to the logical consistency and flow; every detail needs to fit the title and thesis.
- Proofread and edit, give your essay a final quality pass before turning it in.
That’s the basic gist of it, as for time management – it is up to you. The main thing to remember is not to postpone the writing process. As a rule of thumb, it’s most advisable to get started as soon as possible. Postponing it until the very last minute will most likely bring a bunch of complications – and you will get penalized.
As for other essential steps like drafting and proofreading, you should never omit them. Giving a quality pass to your piece is vital; that only stands to help you and your writing in the long run.
Step 2 – Essay Structure
Five paragraphs is a standardized pattern for most essays. Some deviations can occur in the world of academic writing, however.
This essay structure will help you tackle most assignments.
- Paragraph 1 – Introduction
- Paragraph 2 – First Body Paragraph
- Paragraph 3 – Second Body Paragraph
- Paragraph 4 – Third Body Paragraph
- Paragraph 5 – Conclusion
The introduction is arguably the most important part here. At this stage, it’s important to display your position, which sometimes is referred to as “thesis” or “argument.”
You can’t get started on your essay if you don’t know what’s it about.
Let’s brush up on the meaning of a paragraph, shall we?
A paragraph is a sequence of sentences dealing with a singular topic. Sentences guide the audience through arguments, findings or opinions in a fashion that’s both academic in nature and easy to follow. There is no consensus regarding length for paragraphs, but the bare minimum should be at least 5.
Since there will be more than one paragraph, it’s imperative to link them logically. The three paragraphs in the middle are simply known as the body paragraphs, and this is where your essay begins to take shape.
Conclusion acts as a summary; it needs to restate the thesis and approach the topic from a developmental standpoint. You need to offer a solution or a prediction, and conclude with a statement.
Step 3 – The Most Challenging Aspect Of Essay Writing
Arguably, choosing the correct thing to discuss and forming a logical thread that supports it. It is necessary to figure out the purpose. Do you need to inform, persuade, or present arguments?
Regarding writing, simple sentences are much easier to write and follow, but compound and complex ones are also a prerequisite for academic writing.
No matter how you opt in to approach this, coherence is the main principle you should be following; it really helps to gel your entire piece together.
Avoid making lengthy, complex sentences until you’re confident in your writing ability.
If there are two (or more) clauses, make sure to connect them in a logical way.
Step 4 – The Importance Of Essay Introduction
Introduction acts as a road map of sorts and guides your audience through the entire essay. Approach the introductory part from both standpoints – as a writer, and as a reader.
Your title directly influences the way your introduction and your entire essay are going to pan out.
Picking the right topic is paramount since it lays the groundwork for everything you’re going to report about in your piece. In most cases, you have free reign to pick whichever title you like. Unless your professor already assigned you an essay with a ready-made title, that is.
Since an essay’s job is to interest the audience, it’s important to work on a “hook,” an associated detail, something that your audience can latch on to. It can be a phrase or a statistic, and it is usually included in the introduction.
Design it in such a way that is equally interesting and engaging, but remember about context and how it applies to your thesis.
For example, you can use a narrative delay; begin telling about a particular a story or an incident in your life without spoiling the main subject.
Step 5 – We Know How To Start An Essay, But How Do We Manage It?
Outside of the preset essay structure, there are words to remember: scope and focus.
Once the introductory part of your essay is done and is coherent enough, it’s time to get started on the essay itself. Essay structure is known to us, so that shouldn’t be hard.
Making a strong introduction is crucial; it also needs to adhere to the title. But so is generating ideas, moving them forward and applying finishing touches for cohesion.
It’s also fairly common to think that the first draft of your essay is good enough and can stand on its own terms. Experience and practice, however, would suggest that there’s much to be desired. There is always something to improve upon.
During exams you will never get an opportunity to rewrite and proofread, that’s why it’s vitally important to edit and amend all problems that can come about during the writing process.
Make sure that the essay answered or discussed points that were raised in the introduction.
Check for consistency issues. Keep the font size, spacing, margins and size in check.
Step 6 – Essay Examples and How They Can Help
Another great way to study what works and what doesn’t is to investigate samples.
This may be a good way to estimate it’s main features from the perspective of a reader.
It’s a lot harder to detect issues with personal writing as they come along in the process, but you’ll become more mindful of these problems by analyzing other people’s work.
When you’re reading through samples, answering these questions will help you.
- How is the title phrased?
- Does it have an introduction and is there a thesis?
- What’s the structure like and was the main idea properly developed?
- Does each paragraph have a clear topic sentence and were the supporting details and facts clear?
- Was the question answered in full and are there any spelling and grammar mistakes?
Step 7 – Few Words On Stylistic Differences Between Analytical Essay and Argumentative Essay
There are two main approaches to writing research papers – analytical and argumentative.
Each has its own set of differences.
Analytical is more factual; you are approaching the subject critically and with no bias.
Argumentative intends to convince the audience by presenting findings from credible sources.
No matter which research approach you take on, the structure remains relatively the same, what changes is the focus. How it changes is most visible with sample reading.
Building on the previous step, by analyzing examples you’re enforcing proper habits and critical approach to writing.
Step 8 – Is Plagiarism A Concern In A Five Paragraph Essay?
Yes. It’s vital to avoid plagiarism and promote sound study habits in everything you do. If you’re unaware, plagiarism is an act of borrowing someone’s work without proper attribution.
The main problem of plagiarism stems from the specific nature of most assignment types.
Students are expected to conduct research, and convey meaning in their own words.
It’s obvious that sometimes it’s possible to lose track of information, given the volume of these tasks.
Pay close attention to attributions; plagiarism is something that can tank your academic reputation. Every instance is easily detectable by professors with the help of computer software.