General Advice on Essay-Writing __________________________________ 3
Understanding EssayTopics ______________________________________ 4
Organizing an Essay _____________________________________________ 5
Techniques for note-taking and planning ____________________________ 6
UsingThesis Statements _________________________________________ 7
Introductions ___________________________________________________ 8
How to write an interesting, effective introduction _____________________ 9
Conclusions ___________________________________________________ 10
How to write an interesting, effective conclusion _____________________ 11
Paragraphs ____________________________________________________ 12
How to develop ideas in a paragraph _______________________________ 13,14
How to make ideas flow in a paragraph _____________________________ 15
Critical ReadingTowards Critical Writing __________________________16
Some PracticalTips ___________________________________________17
Revising and Editing __________________________________________ 18
Start Large, End Small ________________________________________ 19,20
Bibliography __________________________________________________ 21
3. GENERAL ADVICE ON ESSAY-
An essay should
have an argument.
It should try to
will seek to
1. Note which concepts or methods the
topic asks you to use.
2. Note the key terms in the assignment
sheet that define the kind of reasoning you
should be using:
Analyse (see the relationship of parts to whole)
Compare (find differences as well as similarities)
Evaluate (apply your judgement to the results of
Argue (or agree or disagree)
3. To generate ideas, ask yourself questions
about the topic. Look for controversies.
4. For an essay or argument, formulate a
tentative thesis statement.
Invest some time in thinking
through the specific assignment
you are dealing with
5. ORGANIZING AN ESSAY
The best time to think about how to organize your paper is during the pre-writing
What type of essay I am going to write?
Does it belong to a specific genre?
The structure of an essay should not be determined by the structure of its source
The earlier you begin planning, the better.
Search for evidence for the points in your tentative plan while you are reading and
6. Techniques for note-taking and
Method 1: index
• While researching,
write down every
paraphrase on a
Method 2: the
• Collect your
points, just as you
would on paper;
but use the
Method 3: the
• Designed to get
your ideas onto a
single page, where
you can see them
all at once.
7. UsingThesis Statements
It is expectable a clear
statement of your position.
Typically, this summary
statement comes in the first
paragraph of the essay.
• It makes a definite and limited assertion that needs to be explained and
supported by further discussion.
• It shows the emphasis and indicates the methodology of your argument.
• It show awareness of difficulties and disagreements.
Characteristics of good
• identify your topic
• provide essential context
• indicate your particular focus in
• engage your readers’ interest.
9. How to write an interesting, effective
Find a startling statistic that illustrates the seriousness of the problem you will address.
Quote an expert.
Mention a common misperception that your thesis will argue against.
Give some background information necessary for understanding the essay.
Use a brief narrative or anecdote that exemplifies your reason for choosing the topic.
In a science paper,explain key scientific concepts and refer to relevant literature.
In a more technical paper, define a term that is possibly unfamiliar to your audience but is central to
understanding the essay.
A strong conclusion will:
• provide a sense of closure to the essay
• place your concepts in a somewhat wider context
• add a stimulus to further thought
• involve critical thinking
11. How to write an interesting, effective
If your essay deals with a contemporary problem, warn readers of the possible consequences of not
attending to the problem.
Recommend a specific course of action.
Use an appropriate quotation or expert opinion to lend authority to the conclusion you have
Give a startling statistic, fact or visual image to drive home the ultimate point.
Illustrate your concluding point with a relevant narrative drawn from your own life experiences.
Return to an anecdote, example or quotation that you introduced in your introduction, but add
further insight that derives from the body of your essay.
■ What is a paragraph?
It is a series of related sentences developing a central idea, called the topic.
■ How do I unify my ideas in a paragraph?
Express the central idea of the paragraph in a topic sentence it is similar to a mini
thesis statement. It has a specific main point.
An essay is unified if all the paragraphs relate to the thesis, whereas a paragraph is unified
if all sentences relate to the topic sentence.
13. How to develop ideas in a paragraph.
The body paragraph demonstrates and develops your topic sentence
through an ordered, logical progression of ideas.
Useful techniques for expanding on topic sentences and developing your
ideas in a paragraph:
Illustration supports a general statement by means of examples,
details, or relevant quotations
The definition paragraph defines a term, often by drawing distinctions
between the term and other related ones.
The analysis or classification paragraph develops a topic sentence by
distinguishing its component parts and discussing each of these parts
14. A comparison or a contrast paragraph zeroes in on a key similarity or
differences between, for instance, two sources, positions, or ideas.
A qualification paragraph acknowledges that what you previously
asserted is not absolute true or always applicable.
The process paragraph involves straightforward step-by-step
Very often, a single paragraph will develop by a combination of methods.
15. How to make ideas flow in a paragraph.
Deliberate repetition of key
Strategic use of pronouns
such as it, they and this keeps
the focus on the main ideas
announced at the beginning of
Specialized linking words can
also be powerful tools for
pulling ideas together.
16. CRITICAL READINGTOWARDS
Critical writing depends
on critical reading.
Most of the papers you
write will involve
reflection on written
In order to write your
own analysis of this
subject, you will need
to do careful critical
reading of sources and
to use them critically to
make your own
The judgments and
make of the texts you
read are the first steps
your own approach.
17. Some PracticalTips.
• Begin by skimming research materials, especially
introductions and conclusions, in order to strategically
choose where to focus your critical efforts.
• When highlighting a text or taking notes from it, teach
yourself to highlight argument.
• When you quote directly from a source, use the quotation
• Critical reading skills are also critical listening skills.
• Try to remain aware of how the portion of a text you might
use fits into the whole argument from which it is taken.
18. REVISING AND EDITING
It gives you the chance to:
• Preview your work on behalf of the eventual reader.
• Check details.
• Transform a mediocre first draft into an excellent
19. Start Large, End Small
1. First check whether you have fulfilled the intention of the assignment.
o Have you performed the kind of thinking asked? (e.g., analyse, argue, compare)
o Have you written the genre of document called? (e.g., book review, personal response,
o Have you used concepts and methods of reasoning discussed in the course?
o Have you given adequate evidence for your argument or interpretation?
2. Then look at overall organization.
o Does your introduction make clear where the rest of the paper is headed?
20. o Is each section in the right place to fulfil your purpose?
o Have you drawn connections between the sections?
o Would a person reading your conclusion know what question you had asked and how you
had arrived at your answer?
3. Now polish and edit your style by moving to smaller matters such as word choice,
sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
o Read passages aloud to see if you have achieved the emphasis you want.
o Be sure to use spell check.
o Don’t depend on a thesaurus.
o Don’t depend on a grammar checker.
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