How to Write a Good Essay
Writing is a creative process, and like any other creative process, it involves some experimentation, especially when you want to write a good essay. Naturally, sometimes you may make a mistake and need to redo things.
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We've listed below 5 steps to help you better understand the writing process.
For those who are to write a college essay here is the article:
5 Steps to Make Your Task Easier
If you feel it is necessary, after writing your paper you can go on to get help from an editor or proof-reader. Some second-language speakers do this to improve the quality of their grammar and spelling. Other students might use an editor to improve the general flow and structure of their paper or to make sure that they have covered all of the important points in terms of the subject they are writing about.
Remember that an essay is not complete once you have written the first draft. It is essential for you to read it through at least once or twice, making corrections and improvements.
Let’s look at the above steps in more detail.
Step 1. Assessing what the essay requires
This step often involves choosing between two or more topics and narrowing down the subject. Ask yourself what interests you about this topic, and what the assignment requires you to do. Also ask yourself how much you already know about the subject, and where you may need to do extra research.
If you are choosing a topic to write your essay on, here are some lists of the most popular topics:
Look out for words such as discuss, compare and contrast, evaluate, explain, analyze, or describe. These kinds of words tell you what you are expected to do in the essay. If you have to compare and contrast two things, you will need to keep both of them in mind. If you have to describe something, you can present a fairly factual picture of it. If you have to evaluate it, you will need to go further and give your own judgment or opinion of it.
Ask yourself who will be reading your paper. Even though most students are writing for their lecturers, who are likely to be more knowledgeable than the student, it is a good idea to write as if the paper will be read by someone who knows less than you. In other words, don’t make too many assumptions about what the other person knows. Write as if your reader is hearing about the subject for the first time. This will help you to remember to define all the important terms. One of the main problems which students have is that they tend to use specialized terms without first defining them. So get into the habit of saying what things mean, and don’t assume that your reader knows. However, you will also have to keep in mind your word or page limit. Keep the definitions brief so that you can save space for the main arguments and a more advanced discussion of the topic.
If you are writing a business presentation, ask yourself if you will be addressing your co-workers or management. The tone that you adopt will depend largely on your audience. Also, ask yourself what your audience or readership expects from your paper or presentation. If you were in their shoes, what would you expect?
Ask yourself what kind of research is required, and where you will find your information. In addition to books and journals in your college or university’s library, you can draw on government records, newspapers, surveys, the internet, and so on. Be selective in your use of the internet as a source of information. Most lecturers require you to use some printed books and journal articles, not just information from websites.
Make sure that your subject is neither too broad nor too narrow for an interesting essay. Aim to discuss several points in detail rather than to skip too lightly over many different aspects of a subject.
Step 2. What you want to say
Ask yourself why you are writing the paper. What do you want to communicate? Are you going to describe something, or do you need to present different sides of an argument and then show which view you support and why? Do you need to suspend judgment and write with a neutral tone, or do you need to state your own opinion clearly?
Most academic writing falls into the following three groups:
Expressive writing. Here you need to give your own opinions, feelings, and interpretations. Essays which must accompany an application to get into a college or a course fall into this category. You can freely use phrases such as ‘I think’ or ‘In my experience’. In expressive writing, you can mostly go with the flow, and don’t have to worry too much about structuring your essay.
Analytical writing. This includes facts, case studies, statistics, historical accounts, business documents and technical descriptions. You will need to structure this kind of essay more carefully than a piece of expressive writing. Organize your analysis under different headings, and make sure that the writing flows logically from one point to the next. Open with an introduction, then move into the main body of the text, which may include several sub-headings, and close with a summary or conclusion. When you read through your first draft, look out for unnecessary repetition as well as bad grammar. For analytical writing, you will need to use several different sources and combine the information into a coherent whole. Give yourself enough time to absorb the information and think about it before you start writing.
Persuasive writing. This is usually a combination of the other two types, in that you will need to present the facts and analysis, and also give your personal opinion. A persuasive essay should appeal to the reader’s logic as well as his or her emotions. Presentations and speeches are often a form of persuasive writing.
Step 3. Planning
You can begin to plan your essay structure, essay format and the ways to start an essay, as soon as you start doing your research. Make a note of any important points that you read about while doing the research. Think about whether you are supposed to be describing, analyzing, comparing and contrasting, and so on. Be sure to address this overall aim when you plan the sections of your essay.
Step 4. Writing the first draft
If you find it difficult to start at the beginning and write straight through, try writing section by section. Look at your headings and decide which part you feel confident to start writing. There may be sections which you have finished researching, and others which you still need to get more information for. Writing in sections makes it easy to put the paper together at a later stage, a bit like assembling the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Often it is easier to write the introduction to the paper right at the end, once you know exactly what the paper will say and what the important points are. The same applies when writing the summary or conclusion.
In your conclusion, do not introduce any new material. You should already have presented all the facts and analyses in the body of the paper, and now it’s just a case of summarizing the main points and thinking of a few concluding comments.
The length of your introduction and conclusion will depend on the overall length of the assignment. The same structure — introduction, main body, conclusion — is used for all academic projects, whether it is a high school essay or a 300-page doctoral thesis. If you are writing a two-page essay then your introduction only needs to be a few lines long. If you are writing a dissertation, the introduction is likely to take up a whole chapter.
Step 5. Reading and refining
By now you will have a good idea of what’s required. You will be more familiar with your topic by now, and when you read the paper through it will be easy to see if you have left anything out, repeated yourself, jumbled up too many ideas together, and so on. Sort out any problems that you come across, rather than waiting for your lecturer to criticize your paper on these points. Check that you have put in all the references, and remember to include a bibliography or reference list at the end of your paper. This is also the time to run a spell check on the whole paper.
Sometimes it helps to read the paper aloud to yourself and pretend that you have no knowledge or experience of the topic. This will help you to see if any sections are unclear or lacking in detail. This is also the time to check that your word count is correct. A rough guide for word limits is that you can usually go over or under the required word length by 10%. In other words, if you are supposed to write a 2000-word essay, you can usually submit one that is anything from 1800 to 2200 words long. However, different lecturers have different ideas on this point, so check with him or her first.
How Can EssayMasters.co.uk Help?
Here at EssayMasters.co.uk we can help you with any stage of your project, from the preliminary planning stage right through to polishing and refining the first draft and checking for grammatical and spelling errors.
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