How to write a humanities paper

On June 8th, 2015, Posted by admin

All academic courses require essays and papers to be submitted as part of their curriculum requirements. However, essays from different specialities need to be written in different ways. How, for example, would you write an essay for a humanities subject?


Writing a humanities essay requires understanding of many subjects!

Writing an essay from a humanities subject can be challenging. Humanities are the subject of study which deals with the different aspects of human thought and culture. This subject embraces a wide variety of subjects under its umbrella including the arts, politics, history, geography, civics, languages, music, speech, drama, psychology.

Unlike professional courses of study, the study of humanities deal extensively with intellectual in-depth analysis of subjects including abstract themes; it requires that the control over the language be very good.

In essence, a humanities essay needs to display extensive intellectual skills and analysis, very good language expression skills; attention to structure, format and documentation and writing skills of high quality.  So, what can be done to write and craft a good quality humanities essay? Read on to find out more!

Determine the focus of your essay

As a humanities writer, your main aim is to introduce a new aspect on an existing theme to your reader. The subject of your essay may be a familiar poem or text, drama or speech or a painting but the reader must develop a new understanding or insights into the topic raised. It could be a different perspective to the issue and it need not be something which is acceptable to the reader.

Your aim would be to engage and challenge the reader into discovering a new aspect of the subject. This can be done through different ways of handling the issue. Critical analysis of the issue through unique presentations could help the viewer gain different perspective.

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As for example, an understanding of the consequences of terrorism, both on terrorists, their victims and the families of the terrorists or How did Antony’s relationship with Cleopatra affect their respective functions as leaders of their individual states?

Choose a topic which is simple yet narrow

Choosing a topic which is broad-based and covers many things may sound pretty tempting but it can lead you astray with respect to the quality of the essay you want to submit and the effort you need to put into it. A better way to come up with an engaging and insightful humanities essay, would be to go for a narrow topic- focus on one chief idea or theme, then build on that.

Use simple but elegant English

The key to good communication is to use lucid, simple and clear language. Do not use multiple sentences when you can convey the same in a few words.   Use a few key ideas in a paragraph. Do not burden your sentences with a multitude of ideas, jarring with each other and thus confusing the reader. Use simple words and avoid jargon. Most importantly, your thoughts should flow smoothly while retaining grammatical structure and order to make sense.

Use the standard layout of an essay

The essay should have a thesis statement within its introduction, which directly or indirectly points out the issue. The introduction will also present your view on it.  The body will contain the arguments that support or contradict the thesis statement; the evidence is usually in the form of textual evidence.

Use a theoretical framework

Explicate on the issue using any of several possible theoretical frameworks so that the reader is lead to an understanding of these issues from new angles. Such frameworks could include legal, ethical, moral, gender-based, psychological, political and  economic frameworks amongst others.

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