Steps for an Effective Essay
Key aspects of the essay:
Clear organization: Introduction,
subheadings, conclusion. Well constructed paragraphs.
Thesis: The main point you want to
show in your paper.
Please make reference to theories,
discussions, activities, and problems analyzed in class.
Be critical rather than
Cite your sources. Avoid
of the essay:
introduction acquaints the reader with the topic. Its purpose is to get
the readers’ attention and make them want to read the essay. For this
reason, you should try to make your introduction interesting, engaging,
- Organization of the essay: The introduction also helps organize the essay. It
should tell the readers what you are going to say in your essay.
- The introduction should also contain your thesis. The
thesis should clearly and specifically convey your point. To find your
thesis, ask yourself these questions:
- What point am I attempting to make in this essay?
- Has this point been clearly indicated to my
audience in my essay?
- Context: the
introduction also needs to place your thesis or argument into some larger
- The purpose of a body paragraph is to develop and
prove the thesis. Each body paragraph should make just one point that
clearly develops and supports the thesis. In the same way that you have a
thesis to indicate the point of the essay, you should have a topic
sentence for each body paragraph.
- The topic sentence
states the point of the paragraph, and all of the other sentences should
support, develop, and explain that point. Because the topic sentence
plays an important role in your paragraph, it must be crafted with care.
When you’ve written a topic sentence, ask yourself the following
- Does the
topic sentence declare a single point of my argument?
- Does the
topic sentence further my argument?
- Is the topic
sentence relevant to my thesis?
- Is there
a clear relationship between this topic sentence and the paragraph that
- Does the
topic sentence control my paragraph?
- To develop body paragraphs, do the following:
- Provide details and explanation.
- Give examples.
- Cite statistics, cases, theories, where
- Include research as necessary.
- A paragraph
should: (i) be supportive, i.e., a supportive paragraph’s main idea clearly
develops the argument of the thesis, (ii) be strong, i.e., a strong
paragraph develops its main idea, using sufficient evidence, and (iii) be
considerate, i.e., a considerate paragraph is a coherent paragraph, which
makes sense within the text as a whole.
- Arrangement: You must also consider your
method of reasoning when you construct your paragraph. Are you using
inductive logic, working from clues towards your conclusion? If so, your
paragraph will reflect this way of thinking: your evidence will come
early on in the paragraph, and the topic sentence will appear at the end.
If, on the other hand, you are using deductive logic, your paragraph will
very likely be arranged like a syllogism.
- The other side/s: Because every thesis
presents an arguable point, you as a writer are obligated to acknowledge
in your paper the other side/s of an argument. Consider what your
opponents might say against your argument. Then determine where and how
you want to deal with the opposition. Do you want to dismiss the
opposition in the first paragraph? Do you want to list each opposing
argument and rebut them one by one? Your decisions will determine how you
structure your paper.
- The purpose of the conclusion is to bring the essay
to a satisfying close. You should avoid bringing up a new point in your
conclusion and you should avoid lengthy and excessive summary. The most
successful conclusions are thoughtful and reflective.
- Back to context.
After having presented your topic and proven
your thesis, you want to be able to make an overarching statement based
on that information. Just as the introduction sought to place the paper
in the larger context about the topic, so should the conclusion insist on
returning the reader to that ongoing conversation, but with the feeling
that they have learned something more.
- A summary of
what the reader has just read is important to the conclusion --
particularly if your argument has been complicated or has covered a lot
of ground. But this is not enough.
- If you struggle with concluding your work, reread
the essay and ask yourself the following questions:
- What have I learned from having written this
are the implications or consequences of my thesis?
is the last impression with which I want to leave my audience?
Adapted from Florida Gulf Coast University’s Writing Center and Dartmouth University’ Writing Program
Evaluation criteria (from the course outline)
the research paper adequately deal with the selected topic? Does the research
paper show an understanding of the topic dealt with?
the research paper show a clear, coherent, and comprehensive treatment of the
the research paper integrate knowledge acquired throughout the course? Does it
make specific reference to theories discussed in class?
the research paper make reference to class discussions and activities?
the research paper follow the style, language, citation method, and
organization analyzed in class?