A good thesis statement fits only the paper in which it appears. Avoid the purely mechanical act of writing statements like "The first topic covered in this paper is x. The second topic covered is y. The third topic is.
Here are two carefully focused and thoughtfully worded thesis statements, both of which appeared at the ends of introductory paragraphs:. As this paper will show, the fundamental problem behind the Arab-Israeli conflict is the lack of a workable solution to the third stage of partition, which greatly hinders the current negotiations for peace.
Never simply label the middle bulk of the paper as "Body" and then lump a bunch of information into one big section. Instead, organize the body of your paper into sections by using an overarching principle that supports your thesis, even if that simply means presenting four different methods for solving some problem one method at a time.
Normally you are allowed and encouraged to use section headings to help both yourself and the reader follow the flow of the paper. Always word your section headings clearly, and do not stray from the subject that you have identified within a section. As examples, I offer two sets of section headings taken from essays.
The first is from Dr. Just by considering the section headings in the above examples, we can begin to see the fundamental structures and directions of the essays, because both sets of headings break the paper topic into its natural parts and suggest some sort of a movement forward through a topic. Note how these headings—as all section headings should—tell us the story of the paper and are worded just as carefully as any title should be.
Most importantly, then, you must use your section headings in the same way that you use topic sentences or thesis statements: When you are stuck for a conclusion, look back at your introduction; see if you can freshly reemphasize your objectives by outlining how they were met, or even revisit an opening scenario from the introduction in a new light to illustrate how the paper has brought about change.
Beware of the temptation to open your final paragraph with "In conclusion," or "In summary," and then summarize the paper. Instead, let your entire conclusion stand as a graceful termination of an argument.
What follows is an excerpt from a conclusion to a paper entitled "Exercise in the Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis in Women. The majority of evidence presented in this paper supports the hypothesis that exercise positively affects bone mineral density in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
Significantly, exercise has been shown to increase bone mineral density in premenopausal women even after the teenage years, and it helps preserve the bone mass achieved in the following decades. The focus of a description is the scene.
Description uses tools such as denotative language, connotative language, figurative language , metaphor , and simile to arrive at a dominant impression. In the dialectic form of the essay, which is commonly used in philosophy , the writer makes a thesis and argument, then objects to their own argument with a counterargument , but then counters the counterargument with a final and novel argument.
This form benefits from presenting a broader perspective while countering a possible flaw that some may present. This type is sometimes called an ethics paper. An exemplification essay is characterized by a generalization and relevant, representative, and believable examples including anecdotes. Writers need to consider their subject, determine their purpose, consider their audience, decide on specific examples, and arrange all the parts together when writing an exemplification essay.
An essayist writes a familiar essay if speaking to a single reader, writing about both themselves, and about particular subjects. Anne Fadiman notes that "the genre's heyday was the early nineteenth century," and that its greatest exponent was Charles Lamb. A history essay sometimes referred to as a thesis essay describes an argument or claim about one or more historical events and supports that claim with evidence, arguments, and references. The text makes it clear to the reader why the argument or claim is as such.
A narrative uses tools such as flashbacks , flash-forwards , and transitions that often build to a climax. The focus of a narrative is the plot. When creating a narrative, authors must determine their purpose, consider their audience, establish their point of view, use dialogue, and organize the narrative.
A narrative is usually arranged chronologically. An argumentative essay is a critical piece of writing, aimed at presenting objective analysis of the subject matter, narrowed down to a single topic. The main idea of all the criticism is to provide an opinion either of positive or negative implication. As such, a critical essay requires research and analysis, strong internal logic and sharp structure. Its structure normally builds around introduction with a topic's relevance and a thesis statement , body paragraphs with arguments linking back to the main thesis, and conclusion.
In addition, an argumentative essay may include a refutation section where conflicting ideas are acknowledged, described, and criticized. Each argument of argumentative essay should be supported with sufficient evidence, relevant to the point. An economic essay can start with a thesis, or it can start with a theme.
It can take a narrative course and a descriptive course. It can even become an argumentative essay if the author feels the need. If the essay takes more of a narrative form then the author has to expose each aspect of the economic puzzle in a way that makes it clear and understandable for the reader. A reflective essay is an analytical piece of writing in which the writer describes a real or imaginary scene, event, interaction, passing thought, memory, or form — adding a personal reflection on the meaning of the topic in the author's life.
Thus, the focus is not merely descriptive. The logical progression and organizational structure of an essay can take many forms. Understanding how the movement of thought is managed through an essay has a profound impact on its overall cogency and ability to impress.
A number of alternative logical structures for essays have been visualized as diagrams, making them easy to implement or adapt in the construction of an argument. In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom , essays have become a major part of a formal education in the form of free response questions.
Secondary students in these countries are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills, and essays are often used by universities in these countries in selecting applicants see admissions essay. In both secondary and tertiary education, essays are used to judge the mastery and comprehension of the material.
Students are asked to explain, comment on, or assess a topic of study in the form of an essay. In some courses, university students must complete one or more essays over several weeks or months. In addition, in fields such as the humanities and social sciences, [ citation needed ] mid-term and end of term examinations often require students to write a short essay in two or three hours.
In these countries, so-called academic essays also called papers , are usually more formal than literary ones. Longer academic essays often with a word limit of between 2, and 5, words [ citation needed ] are often more discursive. They sometimes begin with a short summary analysis of what has previously been written on a topic, which is often called a literature review.
Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other supporting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text.
This scholarly convention helps others whether teachers or fellow scholars to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities. One of the challenges facing universities is that in some cases, students may submit essays purchased from an essay mill or "paper mill" as their own work.
An "essay mill" is a ghostwriting service that sells pre-written essays to university and college students. Since plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty or academic fraud , universities and colleges may investigate papers they suspect are from an essay mill by using plagiarism detection software, which compares essays against a database of known mill essays and by orally testing students on the contents of their papers.
Essays often appear in magazines, especially magazines with an intellectual bent, such as The Atlantic and Harpers. Magazine and newspaper essays use many of the essay types described in the section on forms and styles e. Some newspapers also print essays in the op-ed section. Employment essays detailing experience in a certain occupational field are required when applying for some jobs, especially government jobs in the United States.
Essays known as Knowledge Skills and Executive Core Qualifications are required when applying to certain US federal government positions. A KSA, or "Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities," is a series of narrative statements that are required when applying to Federal government job openings in the United States.
KSAs are used along with resumes to determine who the best applicants are when several candidates qualify for a job. The knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for the successful performance of a position are contained on each job vacancy announcement. KSAs are brief and focused essays about one's career and educational background that presumably qualify one to perform the duties of the position being applied for.
Like the KSAs, ECQs are used along with resumes to determine who the best applicants are when several candidates qualify for a job. The Office of Personnel Management has established five executive core qualifications that all applicants seeking to enter the Senior Executive Service must demonstrate.
A film essay or "cinematic essay" consists of the evolution of a theme or an idea rather than a plot per se, or the film literally being a cinematic accompaniment to a narrator reading an essay. The cinematic essay often blends documentary , fiction , and experimental film making using tones and editing styles. Jean-Luc Godard describes his recent work as "film-essays". Brecht was a playwright who experimented with film and incorporated film projections into some of his plays.
These are often published online on video hosting services. David Winks Gray's article "The essay film in action" states that the "essay film became an identifiable form of filmmaking in the s and '60s".
He states that since that time, essay films have tended to be "on the margins" of the filmmaking the world. Essay films have a "peculiar searching, questioning tone Gray notes that just like written essays, essay films "tend to marry the personal voice of a guiding narrator often the director with a wide swath of other voices".
In the realm of music , composer Samuel Barber wrote a set of "Essays for Orchestra," relying on the form and content of the music to guide the listener's ear, rather than any extra-musical plot or story. A photographic essay strives to cover a topic with a linked series of photographs. Photo essays range from purely photographic works to photographs with captions or small notes to full-text essays with a few or many accompanying photographs.
Photo essays can be sequential in nature, intended to be viewed in a particular order — or they may consist of non-ordered photographs viewed all at once or in an order that the viewer chooses. All photo essays are collections of photographs, but not all collections of photographs are photo essays. Photo essays often address a certain issue or attempt to capture the character of places and events. In the visual arts , an essay is a preliminary drawing or sketch that forms a basis for a final painting or sculpture, made as a test of the work's composition this meaning of the term, like several of those following, comes from the word essayJA's meaning of "attempt" or "trial".
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