The essay is a commonly assigned form of writing that every student will encounter while in academia. Therefore, it is wise for the student to become capable and comfortable with this type of writing early on in her training.
Essays can be a rewarding and challenging type of writing and are often assigned both in class-which requires previous planning and practice (and a bit of creativity) on the part of the student-and as homework, which likewise demands a certain amount of preparation. Many poorly crafted essays have been produced on account of a lack of preparation and confidence. However, students can avoid the discomfort often associated with college essay help by understanding some common genres within essay writing.
However, before delving into its various genres, let’s begin with a basic definition of the essay.
What is an Essay?
Though the word ‘essay’ has come to be understood as a type of writing in Modern English, its origins provide us with some useful insights. The word comes into the English language through the French influence on Middle English; tracing it back further, we find that the French form of the word comes from the Latin verb exegete, which means ‘to examine, test, or (literally) to drive out’. Through the excavation of this ancient word, we are able to unearth the essence of the academic essay: to encourage students to test or examine their ideas concerning a particular topic.
Take care in selecting your thesis. This is really a type of persuasive essay, but you don’t want to be stuck either just repeating someone else’s opinion, or citing all the same sources. Try to come up with an original thesis or take an aspect of someone’s thesis and develop it. You can also take a thesis and “transplant” it into different circumstances. For example, use tools of modern economics to argue about the role of medieval guilds in the development of early European settlements. Or take a study done on children in France and try to show it is/isn’t applicable to elderly Florida residents. An original thesis is the best start you can make to get a high grade in a research essay.
Your thesis is the most critical aspect of your research essay. It not only organizes the material you are presenting; it also focuses your research efforts.
Again, it’s a marshalling of facts to support your argument. Make sure you have found out in any academics have made similar arguments and acknowledge them in your essay, even if you did not draw directly from them. If they said things, which don’t support your argument, say why these statements are either wrong or not applicable in the circumstances.
Typically, you summarize your arguments. You can also end with an example or a quote, which sums up your arguments.
What are markers looking for?
As usual, a clearly-written, well organized essay. Top marks would go to an original thesis, which showed thorough research and good writing. If you have a tired old thesis, no matter how well you write the essay, your grades will be limited.
The function of an argumentative essay is to show that your assertion (opinion, theory, hypothesis) about some phenomenon or phenomena is correct or more truthful than others’. The art of argumentation is not an easy skill to acquire. Many people might think that if one simply has an opinion, one can argue it successfully, and these folks are always surprised when others don’t agree with them because their logic seems so correct. Argumentative writing is the act of forming reasons, making inductions, drawing conclusions, and applying them to the case in discussion; the operation of inferring propositions, not known or admitted as true, from facts or principles known, admitted, or proved to be true. It clearly explains the process of your reasoning from the known or assumed to the unknown. Without doing this you do not have an argument, you have only an assertion, an essay that is just your unsubstantiated opinion.
Notice that you do not have to completely prove your point; you only have to convince reasonable readers that your argument or position has merit; i.e., that it is somehow more accurate and complete than competing arguments.
Argumentative essays are often organized in the following manner:
- They begin with a statement of your assertion, its timeliness, significance, and relevance in relation to some phenomenon.
- They review critically the literature about that phenomenon.
- They illustrate how your assertion is “better” (simpler or more explanatory) than others, including improved (i.e., more reliable or valid) methods that you used to accumulate the data (case) to be explained.
Finally revise and edit, and be sure to apply the critical process to your argument to be certain you have not committed any errors in reasoning or integrated any fallacies for which you would criticize some other writer.
Additionally, you will want to find out how your readers will object to your argument. Will they say that you have used imprecise concepts? Have you erred in collecting data? Your argument is only as strong as the objections to it. If you cannot refute or discount an objection, then you need to rethink and revise your position.