The Basics of Effective Essay Writingby Becton Loveless
As you progress through school, you'll be required to write essays. And the farther along in school you get, the more complex and demanding the essays will become. It's important that you learn early on how to write effective essays that communicate clearly and accomplish specific objectives.
An essay is a written composition where you express a specific idea and then support it with facts, statements, analysis and explanations. The basic format for an essay is known as the five paragraph essay – but an essay may have as many paragraphs as needed. A five paragraph essay contains five paragraphs. However, the essay itself consists of three sections: an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
Below we'll explore the basics of writing an essay.
Select a TopicWhen you first start writing essays in school, it's not uncommon to have a topic assigned to you. However, as you progress in grade level, you'll increasingly be given the opportunity to choose the topic of your essays. When selecting a topic for your essay, you'll want to make sure your topic supports the type of paper you're expected to write. If you're expected to produce a paper that is a general overview, then a general topic will suffice. However, if you're expected to write a specific analysis, then you're topic should be fairly specific.
For example, lets assume the objective of your essay is to write an overview. Then the topic "RUSSIA" would be suitable. However, if the objective or your essay is to write a specific analysis, then "RUSSIA" would be far too general a topic. You'll need to narrow down your topic to something like "Russian Politics: Past, Present and Future" or "Racial Diversity in the Former USSR".
If you're expected to choose your own topic, then the first step is to define the purpose of your essay. Is your purpose to persuade? To explain how to accomplish something? Or to education about a person, place, thing or idea? The topic you choose needs to support the purpose of your essay.
The purpose of your essay is defined by the type of paper you're writing. There are three basic types of essay papers:
- Analytical - An analytical essay paper breaks down an idea or issue into its its key components. It evaluates the issue or idea by presenting analysis of the breakdown and/or components to the the reader.
- Expository - Also known as explanatory essays, expositories provide explanations of something.
- Argumentative - These type of essays, also known as persuasive essays, make a specific claim about a topic and then provide evidence and arguments to support the claim. The claim set forth in argumentative (persuasive) essays may be an opinion, an evaluation, an interpretation, cause-effect statement or a policy proposal. The purpose of argumentative essays is to convince or persuade the reader that a claim is valid.
Once you have defined the purpose of your essay, it's time to brainstorm. Don't choose just one topic right of the bat. Take some time to consider, contrast and weight your options. Get out a piece of paper and make a list of all the different topics that fit the purpose of your essay. Once they're all down on paper, start by eliminating those topics that are difficult or not as relevant as others topics. Also, get rid of those topics that are too challenging or that you're just not that interested in. Pretty soon you will have whittled your list down to just a few topics and then you can make a final choice.
Organize Your Ideas Using a Diagram or OutlineSome students get scared to start writing. They want to make sure they have all their thoughts organized in their head before they put anything down on paper. Creating a diagram or outline allows you to put pen to paper and start organizing your ideas. Don't worry or agonize over organization at this point, just create a moderately organized format for your information.
Whether you use a diagram or outline doesn't really matter. Some people prefer and work better with the flowing structure of a diagram. Others like the rigid and logical structure of an outline. Don't fret, once you get started, you can always change formats if the format you chose isn't working out for you.
The following are useful steps for developing a diagram to organize ideas for your essay.
- Get started by drawing a circle in the middle of a paper just big enough to write in.
- Inside your circle, write your essay topic.
- Now draw three or four lines out from your circle.
- At the end of each of lines, draw another circle just slightly smaller than the circle in the middle of the page.
- In each smaller circle, write a main idea about your topic, or point you want to make. If this is persuasive (argumentative) essay, then write down your arguments. If the object of the essay is to explain a process (expository), then write down a step in each circle. If your essay is intended to be informative or explain (analytical), write the major categories into which information can be divided.
- Now draw three more lines out from each circle containing a main idea.
- At the end of each of these lines, draw another circle.
- Finally, in each of these circles write down facts or information that help support the main idea.
The following are useful steps for developing an outline to organize ideas for your essay.
- Take a page of paper and write your topic at the top.
- Now, down the left side of the page, under the topic, write Roman numerals I, II, and III, sequentially.
- Next to each Roman numeral, write the main points, or ideas, about your essay topic. If this is persuasive essay, write your arguments. If this an essay to inform, write the major categories into which information will be divided. If the purpose of your essay is to explain a process, write down each step of the process.
- Next, under each Roman numeral, write A, B, and C down the left hand side of the page.
- Finally, next to each letter, under each Roman numeral, write the information and/or facts that support the main point or idea.
Develop a Thesis StatementOnce you have an idea for the basic structure of your essay, and what information you're going to present in your essay, it's time to develop your thesis statement. A thesis statement states or outlines what you intend to prove in your essay. A good thesis statement should be clear, concise, specific, and takes a position.
The word "thesis" just sounds intimidating to most students, but a thesis is actually quite simple. A thesis statement (1) tells the reader what the essay is about and (2) what points you'll be making. If you've already selected an essay topic, and developed an outline or diagram, you now can decide what points you want to communicate through your essay.
A thesis statement has two key components. The first component is the topic, and the second is the point(s) of the essay. The following is an example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:
The life of a child raised in Pena Blanca is characterized by little playing, a lot of hard work and extreme poverty.
An example of an analytical thesis statement:
An analysis of the loan application process for citizens of third world countries reveals one major obstacle: applicants must already have money in order to qualify for a loan.
An example of an argumentative (persuasive) thesis statement:
Instead of sending tax money overseas to buoy struggling governments and economies, U.S. residents should be offered tax incentives for donating to companies that provide micro loans directly to the citizens of third world countries.
Once you're done developing a thesis statement that supports the type of essay your writing and the purpose of the essay, you're ready to get started on your introduction.
IntroductionThe introduction is the first paragraph of the essay. It introduces the reader to the idea that the essay will address. It is also intended to capture the reader's attention and interest. The first sentence of the introduction paragraph should be as captivating and interesting as possible. The sentences that follow should clarify your opening statement. Conclude the introduction paragraph with your thesis statement.
BodyThe body of your essay is where you explain, describe or argue the topic you've chosen. Each of the main ideas you included in your outline or diagram will become of the body paragraphs. If you wrote down four main ideas in your outline or diagram, then you'll have four body paragraphs.
Each paragraph will address one main idea that supports the thesis statement. The first paragraph of the body should put forth your strongest argument to support your thesis. Start the paragraph out by stating the supporting idea. Then follow up with additional sentences that contain supporting information, facts, evidence or examples – as shown in your diagram or outline. The concluding sentence should sum up what you've discussed in the paragraph.
The second body paragraph will follow the same format as the first body paragraph. This paragraph should put forth your second strongest argument supporting your thesis statement. Likewise, the third and fourth body paragraphs, like the first and second, will contain your third and fourth strongest arguments supporting your thesis statement. Again, the last sentence of both the third and fourth paragraphs should sum up what you've discussed in each paragraph and indicate to the reader that the paragraph contains the final supporting argument.
ConclusionThe final paragraph of the essay provides the conclusion. This paragraph should should restate your thesis statement using slightly different wording than employed in your introduction. The paragraph should summarize the arguments presented in the body of the essay. The last sentence in the conclusion paragraph should communicate that your essay has come to and end. Your concluding paragraph should communicate to the reader that you're confident that you've proven the idea as set forth in your thesis statement.
Having the ability to write effective essays will become increasingly important as you progress through high school and into college. If you'll internalize the format presented above, you'll develop the ability to write clear and compelling essays.
You may wonder how to write an editorial worth of reader's appreciation. We have collected the stages involved in the process of developing a newspaper article to help you with your first trial.
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What Is Editorial Essay?
Many young authors ask, "What is an editorial essay?" One must understand what editorial stands for: it is a newspaper article that tends to contain and explain author's ideas. This piece of writing can be on any topic. It usually deals with social issues. Just like in your research paper, you have to provide enough credible evidence to support your opinion.
Detailed research has to be conducted ahead to discover a particular point of view an author wishes to argue. An editorial must contain both problems description and possible solutions to it. When writing about the issue associated with obese population, the writer should end up giving specific recommendations on how to deal with this problem. He can develop a message for both those who suffer from this disorder and healthcare professionals who should handle it.
The authors speak to the local governments hoping to motivate them to act. As you can see, writing an editorial has a lot in common with writing an essay or research paper. So, in case you were good at writing in your school, college, or university papers, it would make no problem for you to come up with any writing piece, including an interesting editorial.
How to Write an Editorial Essay of Different Types?
Editorials have uncommon classification; instead of being classified by their nature, they are classified by their purposes. There is no way to obtain an answer to the question "What is editorial writing?" without learning the basics of each type. When you work on your piece, mind that you can either:
- Explain/describe/interpret the topic
Explain how the chosen newspaper article covers the specific topic. An argument should be sensitive, debatable, and controversial to attract the readers. Example: You're a high school newspaper editor who decides to interpret the recently established writing standards to your peers.
Critical thinking is what every good writer needs to create a meaningful writing piece which covers a significant problem. A good editorial criticizes specific actions or cases while providing solutions to the existing issue. The main goal is to allow the audience see the problem instead of the solution.
- Persuade the readers of the truth of the editorial's main argument
In contrast to the pieces which criticize, persuasive pieces focus on the suggested solutions without going into the problem's details. From the opening paragraph (introduction), the author should motivate his readers to take a specific action to implement the solution. Political endorsements are great examples of persuasive editorials.
Editorials of this type appreciate people or organizations that have done something special and beneficial.
Read the tips from experts below to better understand what is an editorial essay.
Tips on Writing Persuasive Editorial Essay
In the age of advanced social media and harsh competition in the writing industry, people wonder how to write a editorial for a newspaper. Hopefully, these tips and advice from the industry's expert will help young authors to master the art.
- Choose a credible newspaper which edition is no less than 100,000 copies. Try to pick newspapers read by millions of people. They tend to discuss the most relevant topics as well as provide the most recent facts and possible solutions to current problems.
- Work with controversial topics. Controversial topics are debatable, and it is a time-tested way to get readers engaged in the discussion by continuing with their own research or asking additional questions.
- Writing an editorial is about making decisions. A writer cannot take both sides of the controversial topic; pick one which you believe is correct according to your experience and knowledge.
- There are many ways to explain how to write an editorial piece. Young authors should do the same; they must offer many different solutions to keep in mind to provide people with choices. It is important to test the effectiveness of every solution before offering it.
Read the expert advice which will help to understand how to write an editorial and what makes this type of paper so special.
"To make your argument sound stronger, come up with several analogies. The author has a right to decide between cultural, social, and political analogies because people tend to trust these fields. Example: Your research problem is the effectiveness of mobile spying applications. Research similar cases in other technologically advanced countries where the majority of the population uses such tools to guarantee family's safety. Writing an editorial always includes finding solutions. Discover how other countries solved the problem."
Minyvonne Burke, Daily News, US
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How to Write an Editorial for a Newspaper?
No matter what type of editorial you choose, the newspaper article has specific features every editor should keep in mind.
- Introduction paragraph, several body paragraphs, and impressive conclusion. The structure is the same most academic essays have.
- An objective interpretation of the problem or question with the help of facts, statistics, figures, etc. Complex issues deserve more attention than simple topics.
- A timely news angle.
- Arguments provided by the opposing side aimed to prove the information is 100% objective, unbiased, and complete.
- Author's points of view written in a formal language (excellent editorials do not focus on personalities when trying to persuade the reader).
- Other possible solutions to the discussed cases obtained with the help of constructive criticism and professionalism.
- A summary which encloses with the powerful Call to Action (CTA).
Check the instructor's guidelines (word count limitations, content, and formatting) before start writing the introduction. The rest of the text provides a specific answer to the question, "How to write an editorial essay?"
Editorial Essay Topics
We would like to share top essay topics with the most interesting research problems and possible solutions to them.
- Charter Schools Are About Making Choices
Example:"Public charter schools belong to the public schooling system. It means that they follow the accepted teaching standards. These institutions must demonstrate the effectiveness of their established methods. Otherwise, public charter schools risk being closing for inability to present high achievements. It is the responsibility of local staff to educate the students in accordance with all standards of American school system."
- Reality Television Shows Develop and Alternate Reality
Example:"TV shows categorized as reality make people lose the sense of reality. Directors force the audience to believe that all challenges tackled by the players every day take place in real life, and the consequences are sometimes adverse. Studies by Dr. Gibson from Michigan University prove excessive viewing of TV shows belonging to this category result into a higher level of aggression among the general population of the United States. These shows should have different rankings to prevent adolescents from watching them."
- The Benefits of Higher Education in the U.S.
- Subprime Crisis: Causes and Consequences
- Opinion on Marijuana Legalization: Does Marijuana Help to Relax or It’s Another Harm to Human Brain?
- Problem with Banning Cigarettes
- NBA Season Summary: Preparation, Primary Goals, Expectations, Best Players, Forecasts, Results, and Discussions
- Facts That Prove Gambling Is Illegal
- Proper Treatment for Diabetes
- Why Should Government Allow Capital Punishment?
You can find more great essay examples along with powerful research papers on the professional academic writing services. Now, learn how to write a newspaper editorial step-by-step.
STEP 1. DECIDING ON YOUR TOPIC
The best idea is to select a debatable social opinion and discuss it from all possible aspects. Readers are always encouraged to read an editorial from cover to cover when it has a loud and provoking title; it's another thing to consider. Writing down all good ideas after the process of brainstorming is a must.
The topic must be up-to-date and relevant to the frequently discussed issues within one community. An interesting subject guarantees that a reader will read your newspaper editorial from cover to cover. Use only the most recent sources to grab necessary evidence from them.
The following link contains a long list of argumentative essay topics of all times which might be helpful when composing your piece.
STEP 2. STATING YOUR OPINION
Developing an editorial is pretty much developing an argumentative essay. You have to pick a debatable, recently discussed, or contradictive topic and highlight your position towards this issue using powerful evidence. A controversial subject should describe both sides of the coin. Don't lose your piece of mind and become subjective as it is unprofessional.
In the case of any difficulties, you may also count on professional writing and editing service, which will help to develop and continue the main idea of your article.
STEP 3. WRITING AN OUTLINE
Remember doing an outline for your term or research paper? Working on a newspaper article involves this stage which is done to stick to the point when new ideas appear in the text. Besides, your opinions will be organized and structured.
STEP 4. WRITING AN EDITORIAL ITSELF
Build an argument around your problem; then, select a headline that draws reader's attention automatically. You can include an exclamation mark to attract more attention. You can also put a question mark at the end. When you come to your main argument, make sure to support it with various examples or analogies. You might be interested in pointing to negative and positive aspects of the same issue.
- Apply statistics and facts taken from the primary sources you found online or in the library to assist in proving your argument.
- The most persuasive argument should be left for the end.
- Don't be passive in the rest of less powerful arguments; otherwise, your audience will lose interest to your editorial.
STEP 5. CONCLUSION, OR POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
The process of developing an editorial should end up with the conclusion. Make sure your editorial indulges in constructive criticism. When there is one point of view, there always should be another one: let's say you are talking about government's regulations aimed to reduce the number of tobacco usage. Discuss why these steps might be more effective than some others, and propose alternative regulations.
Writing an editorial is a huge and responsible step in your career. You may order an effective newspaper article from online experts to catch the eye of your readers. The offered website does not charge high fees on custom writing.
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