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How to write an essay
An essay is a presentation of a thought or an idea on a specific subject. An essay is a piece of writing where the author presents, in a smoothly-written free-flowing form, a specific point of view, and attempts to substantiate it with valid analysis and research. The following paragraphs will give you some pointers on how to write essays.
Keep that grammar book handy!
Besides the content, the language determines the quality of your essay. An essay that is poorly written in terms of grammar is not a good essay even if it has the best of information and analysis. Make sure that your essay is free from grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
Idea and topic
The idea or the topic is the most important factor to be considered when writing an essay. Even before you begin the actual writing process, you should be clear about the central theme you seek to present through your essay.
Begin the process of writing an essay by understanding the topic and conducting a thorough research. You might want to use various sources such as books, internet, interviews, and so on. Note down all the information that you gather through this research. The research stage is a knowledge-building stage. It is also helpful if you can research on topics that are allied or related to your specific topic, or if you get information about the opinion of experts on such topics. Doing so broadens your perspective on the chosen topic. Take copious notes of your research because you will need them later for your reference citations.
At the analysis stage, organize all the information that you collected during your research and analyze the information. Look at your chosen topic from the perspectives of the experts and the authors that you have read, understand the pros and cons of all the arguments gathered, and do a comparative analysis of the views of experts on the subject. Analyzing your information enables you to understand the topic and helps you present it better.
After you have conducted a thorough research and conducted a detailed analysis of the material previously collected, start noting down your views about the topic. As you do this, thinking critically and logically, you may discover other aspects about your topic. Build a concept of your own without diverting from the main idea and make sure to build a strong foundation.
Arrangement of the information and designing the outline
Now that you have researched your topic, analyzed the data, and arrived at a concept that you wish to present, you must arrange your information in an order. It helps if you design an outline to organize your essay. You might want to include the following elements in your outline:
- IntroductionYou are writing an essay to present your view on a specific topic. So, begin your essay with your opinion on the subject and introduce your reasons for your thinking.
- DissertationPresent your opinion and show why your views are valid. Use one paragraph for each of your arguments; do not mix up several ideas in one paragraph and do not stretch one argument over several paragraphs. Try to limit a paragraph to half a page; do not go beyond one page - if you are doing so, you might want to reconsider your outline and break up your thoughts and ideas into smaller chunks that contribute to the overall idea. While presenting your idea, use examples, quote sources, and highlight the important points - doing so catches the attention of the reader and gets your message across.
- ConclusionEnd your essay with a summary that provides, in a nutshell, the opinion that you were seeking to convey through your essay. The concluding paragraph is the last piece of your essay. So, it is the place where you can make a lasting impression by giving a recap of your ideas and points and by stitching together all your arguments into one or two coherent, whole sentences. Make the concluding paragraph a reiteration of your central idea so that your reader accepts your viewpoint.
- Bibliography and referencesAlways cite the sources of the information that you used in your essay. Your sources might include books, newspapers, journals, magazines, websites, company reports, and so on.
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