Writing a university level essay can be a challenging process, but it doesn’t have to be. With this paper I hope to bring insight and potentially enjoyment to this once feared task. Always remember, writing is supposed to be fun and easy. However, there needs to be some method to the madness and that is what you get from this article.
I have outlined 8 steps to follow from beginning to A+.
I. Research thoroughly – begin the process of writing by reading. This part is made much easier if you have the luxury of choosing a topic that you find interesting. However, even if you are given a topic that you at first find boring by researching it you may have a change of heart. As much as one should approach a topic with an open mind it is also OK to have a well thought out and researched reason why you dislike that which you are studying. Also, don’t be afraid to explore a new angle on a subject that seems beat to death.
II. Analyze compiled research – once you have a solid knowledge base of information at your disposal it is important to find the arguments within a paper. It is also important to distinguish between the facts presented and the conclusions that the author makes about those facts. Try to expose the weaknesses in logic used to form opinions, but also note strengths you find. Always remember that you will seldom find a good writer who is not also a vivacious reader.
III. Discuss and Brainstorm – your essay will require unique insight by you or your group. Try to answer questions that were surfaced during the analysis stage. During this stage it is important to give yourself time and space to let your ideas breathe. If this requires calling a friend not involved with the topic and explaining some of the ideas then do it. If it requires taking a walk because staring at another book will do nothing but stunt creative thought then so be it. The bottom line is, do whatever it is that you do to gain perspective and clarity.
IV. Thesis statement – during this part of the process the objective is to narrow down your ideas into a clear assertion that you can build the rest of your essay around. Remember the thesis of your paper is the “main idea” summed up in a sentence or two that gives the reader direction about where the paper is going. Often time’s readers are hooked or bored after the first paragraph so think of your thesis as your first opportunity to grab the reader while they have no preconceived ideas about the piece.
V. Outline a respected paper – more as a method of practice it is important to understand the flow of thought and discourse throughout a paper. It can help to find a paper of interest and note how the initial argument is presented along with the proceeding facts or ideas that backup the author’s point of view.
VI. Introduction paragraph – we are now at the point of writing your essay. Keep your thesis statement out on a separate piece of paper along with your outline so that you can refer back to this original statement or argument when need be. Keep in mind that your first paragraph in combination with the thesis and title are the most important elements of your paper.
VII. Supporting Paragraphs – when writing your supporting paragraphs focus on each individual paragraph working both independently and in conjunction with one another to support the overall theme of the paper. These paragraphs should introduce evidence to your claims and give you the appropriate amount of time to expound on your ideas. If you are struggling to write your supporting paragraphs perhaps you should go back to step 3, the discussion stage and try talking out your paragraphs.
VIII. Conclusion and Exit – try to gracefully exit your essay in a brief and precise manner. It is however good to leave the reader with a memorable thought, perhaps a good quotation, or an interesting twist in logic that will allow for good dialog about your paper. Or even better, a sequel!