An essay is a piece of writing that is written to convince someone of something or to simply inform the reader about a particular topic. In order for the reader to be convinced or adequately informed, the essay must include several important components to make it flow in a logical way. The main parts (or sections) of an essay are the introduction, body, and conclusion. In a standard short essay, five paragraphs can provide the reader with enough information in a short amount of space. For a research paper or dissertation, however, it is essential that more than five paragraphs are present in order not to overwhelm the reader with too much information in one paragraph.
The introduction moves from general to specific. This is where you
- Begin with a summary (introduce the topic(s) with a broad, general opening sentence (or two);
- Answer the question with a thesis statement;
- Provide a summary or “road map” of your essay (keep it brief but mention all the main ideas).
The body of your essay consists of paragraphs. Each is a building block in the construction of your argument. The body is where you:
- Answer the question by developing a discussion.
- Show your knowledge and grasp of the material you have read.
- You may offer exposition and evidence to develop your argument.
- Use relevant examples and authoritative quotes.
If your question has more than one part, structure the body into sections that deal with each part of the question.
The conclusion moves from specific to general. It should:
- Rephrase your response to the question;
- Re-summarise the main points.
- Include a final, broad statement (about possible implications, future directions for research, to qualify the conclusion, etc.).
However, never introduce new information or ideas in the conclusion—its purpose is to round off your essay by summing up.
Let’s see the top points to explain how to research, plan, and write a great essay quickly.
Interpret the question and identify the key topics.
The first crucial step is to interpret the question; essay questions use specific terms and phrases that reveal how the question might be answered. Question analysis is a crucial part of the essay writing process; the most common reason students fail assignments is because they do not read or analyse the question correctly.
Organize your time.
You need to plan your time carefully, find out when the essay is due and work backwards, allowing sufficient time for proofreading and re-drafting.
Read (do your research, make notes)
There are numerous sources for you to make use of when collecting relevant information, much of it available in the university library as well as online. These sources include academic texts (books and journals); government statistics; newspapers and magazines; and research reports.
Think (and establish your position).
Think about what conclusions your reading has led you to draw. Then write a brief outline of what you would like the essay to say. Keep this outline to hand and refer to it on a regular basis.
Plan (to give your writing structure).
Arranging your notes into a logical order will help you develop a structure for your work. A well-structured essay comprises an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Each of these sections has a distinct purpose and is equally important.
You do not have to write the various sections of the essay in the order that they appear in the final draft. Some people write the introduction last, after the main body of work has been written. On the other hand, if you’ve done plenty of planning, then writing the introduction first can give you a clear idea.
It is important to identify the sources of material you use, whether quoting from (i.e. using their exact words) or paraphrasing (changing the wording of) the work of others. You must acknowledge the original author and include the reference both within the essay and in an organised list at the end in the “reference list”.
Plagiarism is the act of taking and using another person’s ideas and presenting them as if they were your own, and is taken very seriously by tutors. If even a small section of your work is found to have been plagiarised, you may be assigned a mark of “0” for that assignment.
The purpose of your first draft is to test the developing structure and framework of your essay and begin to construct and develop your argument. This draft is only rough; it is not supposed to be perfect and it will need revision. The aim of the second draft is to improve the overall presentation, comprehension, and coherency of the essay.
Refine (edit and proofread).
It is extremely important to proofread what you have written before submitting your work; you will invariably come across mistakes which can easily be corrected.
Review marker’s feedback
If your marker has given you comments about your writing, it is really valuable to think about how you might put their suggestions into practise next time.