Presentation on theme: "Easy steps to writing THE ESSAY. Writing an essay means: Creating ideas from information Creating arguments from ideas Creating academic discourse to."— Presentation transcript:
Writing an essay means: Creating ideas from information Creating arguments from ideas Creating academic discourse to present your arguments
A well written essay should: Display objectivity Contain hard evidence Bring something new Be excitingly creative
What is an essay? What’s the subject? What’s the question? What’s the topic? What kind of argument am I using?
An essay does three things: It addresses a topic: What’s my position? It answers a question: The essay question even if it doesn’t ask a question. It usually takes the form of an argument
An academic argument is made up of three elements: A claim that you are arguing for A reason to support that claim Reasoning and evidence to link the reason to the claim
There are three types of argument Truth (scientific) Deliberative (polemical) Evaluative (humanities)
Think of an essay… as a thought experiment An essay takes a reader on a journey from introduction to conclusion
Finding your topic: Where do you stand? An essay’s topic expresses your view on the subject. To ask your topic ask: Where’s my perspective on this task? What’s my position?
What question are you answering? Sometimes, the question doesn’t look like a question at all. Many questions are in the form of instructions These instructions are contained in directive words, for example outline, compare and contrast, or discuss.
What do you mean “argument”? Argument = disagreement Arguments of this kind revolve around feelings or moral issues Argue = making a case (a lawyer arguing her case in court; or a politician arguing for reduced taxes)
There are three elements of an academic argument. A claim that you are arguing for. A reason to support that claim. Reasoning and evidence to link the reason to the claim. In its simples form, an argument is: CLAIM because REASON
Academic arguments A thesis statement (= the argument’s claim) A well constructed essay contains: REASONING – presents ideas in a logical structure EVIDENCE, information suggesting or demonstrating that the ideas are credible or true.
There are 3 types of academic arguments An argument claiming that STHG IS TRUE Arguments using truth claims are most common in the sciences. Papers involving claims of this kind are not usually called “essay”; it is advisable to call them “reports” or simply “papers”
An argument claiming that STHG SHOULD HAPPEN (Polemical arguments) These are based on DELIBERATIVE CLAIMS (seeking to persuade its audience to pursue a course of action) Such arguments are not base on experimental evidence alone; they will also involve appeals to values, beliefs and morals.
An argument making an EVALUATIVE CLAIM Evaluative claims, like truth claims, propose that sthg is true. They cannot be decided by experiment or measurement. They demand that we evaluate evidence, that we judge and discriminate it according to other bodies of knowledge, values or priorities. Evaluative claims create debate.
EVALUATIVE arguments are most common in: the humanities literary criticism history art history but also, in psychology, economics, geography.
BALANCED ARGUMENTS How can an argument be both balanced and persuasive? How can it look at both sides of an issue, and then pursue one point of view, rigorously towards a conclusion?
Warning! There are two traps: 1. WRITING A POLEMIC, suggesting that anyone who thinks differently is an idiot; 2. SITTING ON THE FENCE and producing an essay that says nothing convincing at all: e.g. On the one hand, World War II was a terrible disaster, on the other hand, much good came out of it.
An ACADEMIC ARGUMENT both BALANCED and STRONG SUGGESTION: Consider VIEWPOINTS OTHER THAN YOUR OWN Acknowledge their PLAUSIBILITY Show HOW, in your opinion, they are INADEQUATE OR FLAWED.
Directive words: ARGUMENT (i) Account for = give reasons for Argue = make a claim and support it Asses = summarize your opinion and measure it against something Balance = asses two or more viewpoints and evaluate them against different criteria (perhaps with weightings given to each criterion), to decide which viewpoint is most convincing. Critique = identify an argument or position and refute it; create a counterargument Demonstrate = give proof or evidence to show that a proposition is true Estimate = argue by calculating or determining the likelihood of something Evaluate = appraise the worth of something in the light of its truth or usefulness; asses an argument and determine its validity (similar to “critique”)
Directive words: ARGUMENT (ii) Justify = create an argument to support a position or claim and answer any objections or counterarguments Prove = argue that a claim is true or certain; provide a strong evidence (and examples) Respond = counter a position or argument Review = evaluate and give your judgment Support = find reasons for a claim