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Published byMelissa Freeman Modified over 7 years ago
Essay Writing Tips Presented by: Calumet College Student Peer Advisors Date: Thursday, January 27, 2011
Timing IS Everything Time management is the key to success!! Plan ahead Don’t Procrastinate Why? Because it means that you are well organized and you will not feel guilty or anxious about not getting your work done on time; it will also give you more time for other social activities
Planning and Balance How? Agendas/planners, timetables Essay Planning – Divide the essay into smaller, more manageable chunks or portions, such as topic of focus, research, evidence and support from relevant readings or literature, essay structure, writing essay, references/bibliography, editing, and more editing… Divide your time based on different portions or segments of the essay you want to focus on, and devise a working plan for how you will get your essay done to the best of your ability (what will you do first, how and when?) Do your work. It’s as simple as that. Don’t put off what you can do today until tomorrow. It has to be done sooner or later, so do it now!
Where to Start? Determine what type of essay your professor is looking for? (opinion paper, research paper, analysis paper, etc.) Loosely decide on a thesis or main topic that you would like to focus on in your paper decide whether you need to do any [additional] research to support and develop your arguments – this is usually necessary for most papers and the research could come from your course readings or outside literature, etc.
Introduction The introduction conveys a lot to the reader and grader. As a general rule, a student who has a well crafted and detailed introduction will have a well crafted and detailed paper because they have thought out and presented in the introduction the outline of the paper to follow -- the thesis statement or research statement (what the essay is all about), the major topics that will be addressed in the paper, and a general sense of the source materials that will be used in the paper.
The thesis A thesis is an argument about your topic. It must be a solid statement that sums up your opinion or understanding of the topic – basically what it is that you are arguing A THESIS STATEMENT IS NOT AN OPINION OR A SUMMARY. IT IS A DECLARATION OF AN ARGUMENT OR HYPOTHESIS. A good thesis statement can be proven through logical argument and collected evidence and it also addresses the important larger theoretical issues relevant to the findings.
Essay structure - Introduction Depending on the nature of your essay, the introduction may include: 1. Your objective or goal in writing the paper 2. The thesis or the issue you are discussing 3. The significance of the issue under definition 4. Any necessary definitions or descriptions the reader needs 5. Any organizational clues or description that will help the reader progress through the paper Overall your introduction should cover the following: A) Did you state what the essay was all about? B) Did you state what you will be drawing upon? C) Did you introduce your thesis?
Essay structure - body The number of paragraphs you have in your body can roughly be decided based on three very important things in your essay: 1. Your major arguments or themes (which can be derived from your thesis) 2. Your main ideas (significance and importance of the major arguments or themes – a breakdown of the major arguments) 3. The concepts and evidence that you need to develop a strong argument (evidence for your ideas and arguments) Logical sequence of your argument Clear development of main arguments Distinguish the main ideas in each argument
Things to remember! CRITICAL READING – reading comprehensively, analytically, and comparatively YOUR EVIDENCE DICTATES YOUR ARGUMENT
Conclusion Usually a summary of your paper Should NOT include any new information To make it a stronger conclusion, provide a strong connection between all of the main arguments discussed and their relevance to your thesis! – this not only adds a strong twist to your conclusion without adding absolutely new information but at the same time is not being repetitive of what you already discussed
QUESTIONS TO ASK A READER FOLLOWING EACH DRAFT 1. Could you follow my argument? What was my argument? 2. Did I give you enough evidence for you to agree with my point of view or this particular perspective? 3. Did I draw appropriate conclusions from my argument and collected evidence? 4. Are there any places where you were confused or misled? 5. Did the argument progress logically and clearly? 6. Were there places in the paper where you asked questions about the material that I did not answer?
Final Checklist #1 Did you use a spell checker? Did you use a grammar checker? Did you check for sentence structure? Did you check for logical and coherent argument style – flow of argument? Did you proofread your paper and/or have someone else proofread it? Did you edit and edit some more? Did you meet the format requirements?
Final Checklist #2 1. Essay cover page – Essay Title, Your Name, Your Student Number, Course Code, Course Director and/or TA, Date Submitted 2. Did you properly reference all material and include a complete list of references or bibliography? 3. Did you number the pages? 4. Did you use an appropriate font and font size? 5. Double-spaced? 6. Are the margins an appropriate size? 7. Required word limit or page limit?
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