How to write an economics essay
What makes an economics essay stand out?
Essays and reports are commonly used forms of assessment of students studying for economics. Economics is the study of the theory and processes associated with the production, transfer and management of wealth. It is a subject of great complexity, with branches such as micro and macroeconomics and various kinds of theories associated with understanding the economic condition of a country.
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Students need to really be prepared to tackle these complex issues in the space of a few paragraphs. In addition, unlike other subjects, economics is a real world subject. Students need to apply their thinking to real world situations involving the application of economics principles. To write good economics essays, they need to get their basics in good shape.
Before you start on your essay and before you choose the essay topic, it would be best to go through the readings, which has been recommended by your lecturers. They are the best places to start researching on a topic. In addition, they would be in line with your academic requirements as well as related to what you are learning.
The importance of organisation
First and foremost, every essay needs to display proper organisation and structure. This is also true for economic essays which may be about topics like effects of economic policies on the country’s financial well being or the changing trend in wealth management. So you need to select a topic which is relevant and topical and about which you can find plenty of evidence to support it.
The essay is your way of stating a position on an issue and explaining why you support it. All through the essay body, this format has to be retained as it will help give the essay a logical continuity. Hence, the main idea or the core idea of the essay has to be presented in the form of a thesis statement; this thesis statement would be elaborated in the form of different lines of supporting statements. These statements would then be supported by evidence. The LSE supports the following style of essay writing- the introduction of your essay should convey what you want to say, the body is where you get into great detail about your thesis and the ending is the conclusion- which summarises what you had mentioned in the whole of the essay.
Common mistakes made by students
If an essay question has been given to you, make sure that your answer is focussed 100% on the question. One common mistake many students do is to write a lot but write a lot on an issue which was not raised in the question. Hence, it is important that students read the question properly; re-read and analyse the question. Understand the question first. Many students forget this and just jump directly into writing the essay. Make sense of the question before attempting an essay on that. If the essay question sounds rather complicated ( and the chances of that can be high as economics is full of difficult and complicated terms), it is better to simplify the question into simpler language. This would make it easier for you to tackle the essay question.
Students should also remember that use of good and grammatically correct language is a necessity for all academic assignments. It does not mean that you need to use flashy language. Simple, straightforward, and clean language is good. Use simple languages. Avoid the use of overly complex language structure. Simple sentences help the reader to focus on what is being said. Longer sentences can be distracting. The intention of an essay is to communicate to the lecturer that you, the writer, comprehends the subject and is able to critically think about it and express opinions about it.
The introduction of the essay should give contextual support to the question or topic discussed in the essay. Following a brief thesis statement, you have to explain why you consider the question important enough to be discussed in the essay. This is followed by a brief example of the evidence in support of your reasoning. The body of the essay should follow a logical order. If the essay is about trends in development of economic theory for instance, you should describe the trends chronologically so that the reader is aware as to how the theory developed in stages and how changes were incorporated into it, in time. Each paragraph should have a specific line related to the thesis statement and should be followed by arguments in support. The conclusion should be about restating the argument and summarising the various reasons given to justify the thesis statement.
If you are incorporating diagrams anywhere in your essay, ensure you that that diagram is referred to in the appropriate places. You need to justify the citation of the diagram by relating it to the text. For e.g. if you are talking about price rise, then you need to explain how the chart you have included corroborates your point about price rise.
How you can improve the quality of your essays!
Good essays are not crafted at the last minute. You need to give sufficient amount of time to do your research, reading, planning and organisation and writing. You need to give some more time for editing and re-drafting the essay. Time management is very important. You have to start early so that you can deliver a well-written and researched, polished and formatted essay on time. Try to start working on the essay at least a few days before deadline. Leave the last two days before the deadline for editing and revisiting the essay.
More importantly, many economics lecturers say that students refuse to write in their own language and do not put in enough effort into their essays. If you want to get good grades, there is no substitute for hard work. In addition, students should not feel uncomfortable with expressing themselves in their own language. Every sentence should be written down from your own understanding. Copying and plagiarism is strictly forbidden and there are penalties for it.
Image Source: By Dipsey (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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