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The Essentials of Essay Writing: A Comprehensive Guide
If you’re new to writing essays, you need to make sure that you take help from a reliable source to guide you along the process. Essay writing can be tough, and it can be tougher still if you have to write one to make yourself stand out from a group.
To help you understand the essentials of essay writing, we’ve come up with this comprehensive guide. Here, we will describe the main steps that you have to follow when writing an essay.
Once you have the essentials down, you will be able to write essays easily and also work on making them impactful and effective.
Essentials of Essay Writing:
Research and Data Collection:
Research is the first and most important step of essay writing. By conducting research, you can find out useful facts and figures on which to structure your write-up. Basing an essay on conjecture and opinions is never a good idea, and doing this can result in it looking weak and unauthoritative.
When conducting your research, there are some things that you have to keep in mind.
It has to be remembered that if research is conducted wrongly on the sparse side of things, it can make the essay look weak since the researched material won’t be enough to become a strong basis.
On the other hand, if the research is conducted wrongly on the excessive side of things, then this can bring about issues with plagiarism and duplication.
You have to strike the right balance and conduct the research in such a way that it becomes a means of lending credibility to your essay without becoming a means of accidental plagiarism.
Keeping the above in mind, here are some tips that you can stick to when doing your research:
- Be sure to pick reliable sources. If you take information from every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the internet, you’re going to get nowhere. You need to take information only from reliable sources such as educational websites and academic platforms. You also have to look at the sources that have been assigned by your institution.
- When garnering facts from a source, be sure to save the citation details so that you can easily create the citations/references later on.
- Don’t copy any content from a source verbatim other than quotes, and then elaborate on them in your own words. This will eliminate the chances of accidental plagiarism.
Writing and Composition:
After the research has been done, the next thing that follows is the actual writing and composition phase. Since this is the part where you have to write the actual essay itself, you have to pay special attention here.
The best approach to understanding the essentials of this phase is to list the main things that you have to be careful of. And in that vein, here are some of them:
(1) Grammar and Spelling Perfection: When writing your essay, you have to pay attention to the grammar and spelling of your essay. You should, firstly, be careful that you don’t make any errors and that none of them slip by while you’re writing. And once the content itself is written, you should proofread the content a couple of times to find out any that you may have initially missed. Of course, we will talk about this later on as well, but we’re mentioning it here since we’re on the topic.
(2) Readability: You also have to maintain readability in your essay during the writing phase. And when we talk about readability, we refer to three main things, among others:
- The organization of the essay, i.e., the way it is structured.
- The choice of words in the essay, i.e., the type and level of words used in the essay.
- The elaboration of each argument/point, i.e., the manner in which each of the points is explained and elaborated.
(3) Organization and Structuring: We just mentioned structuring in the section above, but there is another context to it than just the readability aspect. Structuring the essay properly is something you have to keep in mind throughout the writing process because of the role it plays in the overall quality of the write-up. A properly structured essay can, apart from being readable, can also come across as authoritative.
(4) What exactly do you have to do to properly organize and structure your essay? Here are some of the main steps:
- Using headings and sub-headings.
- Frequently using paragraph breaks to separate arguments.
- Using bullet points, charts, and tables.
(5) Keeping the Essay Specific: It is very easy to divert from the topic and veer off on a tangent when writing an essay. Writing irrelevant stuff can hurt the quality of the essay and make it look unprofessional. When you’re writing the main body, you should keep your discussion strictly relevant to the topic at hand. Even if you feel as if a particular point would be helpful for the essay, you shouldn’t include it if it is not in sync with the general theme of the same.
Checking, Editing, and Perfecting:
This step is also one of the essential steps of essay writing. Once the essay is all done and finished, you have to carefully read and check it to find any errors or imperfections.
There are different elements that you have to check during the checking and editing phase.
For the most part, you have to look for basic errors such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Since these types of mistakes can be made by just about everyone, you shouldn’t skip out on hunting them despite your proficiency.
Other than basic errors, you should also look for any other discrepancies and irregularities in the layout of the essay. For example, you should confirm that all the headings/sub-headings on the same hierarchical level are formatted accordingly. You should also check if there are any inconsistencies in the writing tone/style.
While we’re on the topic of finding and removing imperfections, we can’t omit to talk about plagiarism.
Plagiarism is essentially the act of taking existing content and utilizing it as such without giving the due credit to the other. In the usual context, the word “plagiarism” is used to denote the intentional unethical act perpetrated by someone for the sake of taking benefit from someone else’s content.
However, although it is generally referred to as an unintentional act, it can also occur without the intention (and regrettably, knowledge) of the perpetrator.
For example, someone could accidentally write the same sentences as an existing source, which would be recognized as plagiarism. And despite the fact that it would be unintentional, the consequences would be the same.
So, during the editing and correcting phase, you have to use a plagiarism checker to find out if your essay has any plagiarism in it. If there is, you should take the necessary measures to remove it before finalizing the write-up for submission.
If we want to talk about the specifics of essay writing, there is a lot more that we could have gone on about. The purpose of the guide above was to acquaint you with the very basics of the whole process. Call it a bare-bones guide, if you will.
These three steps, i.e., researching, writing, and editing, are pretty much ubiquitous not only in essays but in every type of academic write-up. For the time being, however, you can follow them along for writing essays.