Essay writing isn’t easy. There are a lot of steps involved in crafting a solid essay. You as a student need to write a strongly researched paper. But how?
First, you need to identify what kind of essay you’re writing: an analytical or an argumentative essay. The difference is simple. An analytical essay explores all sides of a topic without favoring any of them. An argumentative essay chooses a side and tries to convince the reader to choose that side by presenting evidence that favors it.
What these essays have in common is that both require quality research and the ability to present the research clearly.
Here are some tips on how to research for an essay:
Define your topic
Before you do anything, you need to know what you’re looking for. Maybe you’re writing about the Civil War or Japanese Tea Ceremony or the origins of Geometry. In any case, you need to know what you’re writing about in order to be able to do your research.
Choose your sources
Good sources aren’t always easy to come across. Whatever your topic, you want to look for quality information from authorities in the field. Books, articles and blogs written by experts are the best sources. Try to avoid articles that are a non-expert’s personal opinion as they may contain false or misleading information which will weaken your essay’s credibility.
Write an outline
After you’ve done your research, you’re ready to write an outline for your essay. Your essay should include an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. This will help you organize your thoughts so you can write your essay more easily.
Write your introduction
The introduction is where you present your topic to the reader in a compelling way. You could use the following techniques to draw your reader in:
- Tell an anecdote. A story that illustrates your topic to get the reader interested.
- Use a quote. Sometimes a powerful quote can help express the essence of your topic.
- Present a shocking fact or statistic. This type of introduction can have a strong impact on the reader and make them want to know more.
Craft your thesis
Whether you’re writing an analytical or argumentative essay, you will need to present a thesis statement. For an analytical essay, a thesis statement should convince the reader why the topic is important. It can be quite broad and should not present an opinion: “The concept of global warming has driven governments, scientists, businesses, activists and concerned citizens to action.”
An argumentative essay, however, declares the opinion of the writer on a specific topic. “Global warming is caused by human activity and restraints on industry need to be implemented.”
The information in the body paragraphs will vary depending on whether it’s an analytical or argumentative essay. An analytical essay will use the body paragraphs to present the most relevant information about the topic. An argumentative essay will include evidence that supports a thesis statement presented in the introduction. Ideally, an argumentative essay will also present the arguments for the other side, but will make it clear that it does not support that idea or theory.
Finally, you’ll need to present a conclusion. A conclusion should go beyond simply restating your thesis statement or arguments. A better way to write a conclusion is to pose a question that has remained unanswered or to suggest the next steps to be taken on the topic. This shows that you’ve done solid research.
Whatever your topic, reliable research and well-structured arguments will draw your reader in and help you present your subject in a convincing way. Good luck and happy writing!