Understanding what essay writing is really all about
Many academic assignments often turn out to be essays. An essay is defined in many ways. It is most usually defined as a short piece of work, which is non-fiction in nature. It can range from critical analysis, review, editorial, reports, and excerpts from books.
How do you define an essay?
An essay is a reflection of the kind of reading you have done and your comprehension of the subject rather than the information. It should display methodical analysis and evaluation of a topic or an issue. An essay is all about conveying your opinion on a subject and the groundwork for it. Hence, it should be structured in such a way that the purpose is fulfilled.
Essays are, thus, presenting an academic opinion on an issue from the writer’s point of view. Some experts mention that essays are “rambling pieces of thought expressed in a n unstructured form and not necessarily ordered and structured. Many great essays are acknowledged for their “looseness”.
In spite of that, students writing and presenting essays have to demonstrate logical order and methodology in their thinking and expression, regardless of the kind of language or the writing style they use.
Understand the question
Before you start on your essay writing, the first and foremost thing you need to do is to determine whether you have understood the question perfectly. Read the question, understand the topic and determine what is being asked of you. Write it down and re-read it again, to be sure that you have understood the gist of it.
This will help you to get focus on the correct things to be presented in the essay and to present the opinions from an appropriate perspective. This reduces the occurrence of errors and you would be better able to measure up to the expectations of the supervisor.
This can be a little difficult. Essay questions can be presented in the form of a straightforward question or in the form of a statement, comment or quote with instructions to the students on what they need to answer on and how to do it. You need to distinguish the following elements of the essay question: the context, the instructions and how to present your opinion.
The context would provide the different kinds of views/facts/opinions prevailing currently on an issue. The instructions may define as to how you are supposed to express your opinion in the form of evaluations and greater implications. You may have to present the pros and cons of the particular topic or state outrightly which side you support and corroborate it with sufficient evidence.
Essays should be debatable and structured
A good essay is not about repeating or restating facts. It is about understanding the different opinions and viewpoints and using that as a determinant to determine the writer’s own stand and opinion. Thus, the essay is an outcome of the student’s scholarship and the quality of the essay is a measure of how much informed the student is.
With this in mind, students need to remember that, at the bare minimum, their essay must demonstrate the basic skeleton of an essay. What do I mean by this? The essay should have a start, should have a stop and should have paragraphs which fill out that space in between. So before you start out, take a breath and write down a possible outline for the essay you want to write. The outline should have the following: An introduction, the body and the conclusion. Your main point should be clear in the essay i.e. the thesis argument no matter what kind of a loose or tight writing style you may choose.
That is the gist of writing an essay: the thesis statement which focuses on the issue raised in the essay question and answers it in a way which is satisfactory to expectations.
Image source: “Bacon Essays 1696” by Francis Bacon – http://archive.org/details/essaysorcouncils01baco. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bacon_Essays_1696.jpg#/media/File:Bacon_Essays_1696.jpg
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