If you have been inspired and wonder how to write an essay, you should know that it is a type of text with a very rigid structure that you must respect. Therefore, before you start writing, read this article .
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What is an essay
Today the essay is considered as a literary genre, in which the exposition of a question that the author considers of interest is pursued and with which he intends to stimulate debate, expose new perspectives or express his own opinion from your personal experiences or your research.
There are several types of essay , but broadly speaking we differentiate the academic essay, which serves to expose a scientific investigation, from the general essay, in which thoughts of a political, social, economic, cultural nature are exposed, or on a topic that arouses interest. .
That is why the essay may contain scientific topics such as the influence of the French Revolution on the wars of independence in Latin America, and controversial topics such as abortion or gay marriage.
Therefore, what defines the objective of an essay is persuasion. Unlike other genres such as the novel, poetry or drama, the essay aims to convince . That is why it is very important to know how to do an essay and know its parts, and that is what we are going to teach you next.
How to do an essay
5 basic tips
Before starting to write you will have already assumed that inspiration is not enough to write an essay. We are facing a document with an academic methodology and, therefore, respecting the structure is part of the process.
1. Focus on the object of study
Probably the most important part, the foundation of the investigation and what gives it direction. A powerful, interesting and agile investigation will depend on the choice of a good topic and the delimitation of its field of study. There are two important things.
One is the originality of the topic and its interest.. Avoid addressing a question that has already been studied due to the risk of being repetitive, unless you have a novel thesis to offer. But it is clear that an original theme offers us a horizon with more possibilities. In addition, the subject must stimulate the receiver and, therefore, you have to look for something that interests you.
The second important condition is the delimitation of the topic. Unless you are a genius, writing an essay is something very complicated and laborious, which requires time. Centering the object of study allows you to gain time and agility . Avoid addressing very broad issues.
2. Select the bibliography
That brings us to the second point. In the academic world there are millions and millions of books, publications and articles that threaten toturn your study into an endless read that adds more confusion to the essay.
Hence the importance of focusing on the object of study, because it allows us to also reduce the necessary bibliography. Once you have achieved this, you should know that the bibliography is an essential part of the essay. A good bibliographical support reinforces the credibility of your reflections.
However, creating a very long bibliographic list is a danger.
If you make an endless list of books to ratify your thesis, you run the risk of losing the thread of the essentials and getting distracted by accessory elements. A recommendation: use only important authors that give weight of authority to your ideas.
3. Use a direct and synthetic style
You are not writing a novel, so focus on the topic you are addressing and try to summarize the ideas clearly and directly.
Precision is a fundamental value to give solidity to ideas, and therefore you must avoid being erratic in your presentations. On the contrary, rambling too much in very long paragraphs will detract from the credibility and power of your ideas and put the whole at risk. The worst thing in an essay is to show doubts and hesitations.
Therefore, one of the best ways to achieve a solid and powerful text is to write short sentences. Synthesis is a way of avoiding long digressions that are lost in vagueness. Condense ideas into short, powerful paragraphs .
4. Respect the structure
As for the style, the structure is another fundamental part to give the ideas more value. You have already seen that the essay requires a particular rigidity , and that the key to success is to respect its structure.
In the next point we will explain what parts an essay consists of. Follow them point by point to support the explanations.
On the one hand, respecting the structure of the essay helps us to follow a methodology that guarantees success when addressing an issue. By submitting to the discipline of a structure, we also assume the methodological demands that it imposes on us.
But not only that, but also gives more credibility to our ideas. If you don’t follow the given structure in an essay, your textruns the risk of getting lost in vagueness and chaos, and there is nothing less believable than a text without structure and messy.
5. Contribute reflections
In the bibliography section you have learned that a good essay must always have a part of consulted works and that, the most intelligent thing to do, is to rely on a short bibliography and with famous authors.
But an essay lacks value and originality if you do not contribute your point of view. The essays that are reduced to the bibliographical analysis of a topic are not very original and end up becoming mere reference works. To write an essay that has value for the reader, you must bring something new, interesting and stimulating perspectives .
Therefore, in addition to the description of the facts, you must introduce reflections that contribute something new to the subject. Then you will decide if you want to contribute a more serious and academic point of view, or controversial reflections that stimulate the debate.
The parts of an essay
Once you are clear about what an essay is and the steps to follow to tackle it successfully, it is time to start writing. And to do it, it will be much more agile if you are clear about what parts an essay consists of , and you follow them with discipline.
You have already seen that following the structure of an essay is essential for your ideas to gain clarity and effectiveness. Now pay attention to its parts.
Before writing an essay, it is important to select the topic and the bibliography. | Image by: Nicole Honeywill / Unsplash.
It seems obvious that every essay should have a title. However, since persuasion is the key element of an essay, in this literary genre the title is especially important. Many things can be said in the title .
First, it is the first stimulus that the reader receives, and therefore it should be as provocative or stimulating as possible. Second, it must contain the thesis that we want to convey .
For this reason, many times, the title of an essay consists of two parts: a first shocking or provocative part , followed by a more explanatory text.
For example, Anonymous Heroines: The Fight for Women’s Rights in the 20th Century.
Another very useful technique to attract the reader’s attention is to pose a question , which the essay is supposed to answer.
For example, ¿The end of the world?
The challenges of climate change on our planet.
When we already have a title that attracts attention, we must offer the reader an invitation to read , and that is done through the introduction.
In the first place, in an introduction you must present the topic that you are going to address, defining it briefly (because the great explanation will be made in the development) and arousing the interest of the reader.raising the main polemics of the debate . Many authors take advantage of the introduction to open questions.
Second, the author explains how he is going to address these issues and hints at the general thesis. The key to the introduction is balance : it should not be too schematic, since the lack of content detracts from the work, nor too busy, since exposing all the ideas in the introduction makes the rest of the essay meaningless.
Finally, the introduction is a good pretext to explain the structure of the book (which often already has an implicit intention), introduce acknowledgments and explain the bibliography (why these authors have been chosen and not others).
Once you have managed to attract the reader with an effective title and a measured introduction, it is time to put all the meat on the grill. In the development is where the author plays the credibility and success of the essay .
It is considered that the development should contain 80% of the essay , but its success is not in the extension, but in the capacity for synthesis, the power of the ideas and the follow-up of the structure.
In an exposition of an essay, there are two variants: the inductive and the deductive.
Through the inductive exposition of an argument, the author exposes a general thesis based on several previous premises: that is, it goes from the particular to the general. It is the most used way of facing a scientific investigation.
Through the deductive exposition of an argument , the author considers that the conclusion is implicit in the premises, and that therefore, starting from the general, it goes to the particular. It is based, therefore, on general laws that presuppose a truth.
Whichever method you choose to develop your essay, keep in mind the clarity of the exposition, the capacity for synthesis, respect for the structure and the combination of data and realities with personal opinions and reflection.
The conclusions are a mere reinforcement of the thesisthat you have developed in the central body of the essay. Some authors leave the presentation of the thesis for the conclusions, but it is not the most common or the most recommended.
The conclusions usually serve to synthesize and give more strength to the thesis. For this reason, one of the keys to this part of the essay is its specificity and its limited extension. The conclusions should be short and precise, reinforcing what we have already said in a clear way .
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Many essays lack this part, which is not only optional but also dispensable unless a document reliably supports our opinion. It is not necessary that you endorse each opinion with the physical presentation of a document, it is enough to quote it.
However, when it comes to a very controversial argument or when we need to show an image or a graph , annexes are added at the end of the book, after the exposition.
To support the consistency of your study you must also add a bibliography where the books, publications and articles consulted are cited, in alphabetical order and following the pre-established methods of bibliographic citations.
When it comes to a scientific exhibition, the footnote is a resource increasingly in disuse. References are usually cited at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book , and sometimes a bibliographic list in the last few pages is sufficient.
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