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Strategies for Essay Writing - Harvard Writing Center Strategies for Essay Writing - Harvard Writing Center
The links below provide concise advice on some fundamental elements of academic writing.

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Because essays are essentially linearthey offer one idea at a timethey must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Why does your interpretation of a phenomenon matter to anyone beside you? This question addresses the larger implications of your thesis. Your beginning should introduce the essay, focus it, and orient readers.

Such an account will give you a preliminary record of your ideas, and will allow you to remind yourself at every turn of the readers needs in understanding your idea. Or you can do both you can ask a question and immediately suggest the answer that your essay will argue. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay.

They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. In other words, the order in which you accomplish the business of the beginning is flexible and should be determined by your purpose. It is not a contract, thoughthe order in which the ideas appear is not a rigid one.

Then say why thats the first thing a reader needs to know, and name one or two items of evidence you think will make the case. The length should be proportionate to the length and complexity of the whole essay. The funnel opening (a variation on the same theme), which starts with something broad and general and funnels its way down to a specific topic.

Background material (historical context or biographical information, a summary of relevant theory or criticism, the definition of a key term) often appears at the beginning of the essay, between the introduction and the first analytical section, but might also appear near the beginning of the specific section to which its relevant. Although you might gesture at this question in your introduction, the fullest answer to it properly belongs at your essays end. One typical critic, writing in the  , feared that the novel might fall into the hands of youth, leading them to dwell on things that only matured persons can understand, and promoting unholy imaginations and unclean desires (150).

Further analysis of memorial hall, and of the archival sources that describe the process of building it, suggests that the past may not be the central subject of the hall but only a medium. This section usually comes after the what, but keep in mind that an essay may complicate its argument several times depending on its length, and that counterargument alone may appear just about anywhere in an essay. What are we talking about here, political revolution or a new brand of soft drink? Get to it. But whatever sort of opening you choose, it should be directly related to your focus. Topic and context are often intertwined, but the context may be established before the particular topic is introduced.


Essay Structure - Harvard Writing Center - Harvard University


Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a ...

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Beginning the Academic Essay - Harvard Writing Center
The writer of the academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence. The beginning of the essay is a crucial first step in this process.
Help me write a paper Harvard If they dont, your thesis is most likely simply an observation of fact, not an arguable claim. The writer of the academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence. Indicate, in other words, Supplying the necessary information to orient your readers may be as simple as answering the journalists questions of who, what, where. The beginning of the essay is a crucial first step in this process. Thus your essays structure is necessarily unique to the main claim youre making. Structuring your essay according to a readers logic means examining your thesis and anticipating what a reader needs to know, and in what sequence, in order to grasp and be convinced by your argument as it unfolds. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay.
  • Writing Resources - Harvard Writing Center


    What are we talking about here, political revolution or a new brand of soft drink? Get to it. Your beginning should introduce the essay, focus it, and orient readers. Further analysis of memorial hall, and of the archival sources that describe the process of building it, suggests that the past may not be the central subject of the hall but only a medium. A reviewer in the   wrote that there is much that is very improper in it, not to say positively unseemly. There is still the further question of how to start.

    It dictates the information readers need to know and the order in which they need to receive it. What question or problem will you be thinking about? You can pose a question that will lead to your idea (in which case, your idea will be the answer to your question), or you can make a thesis statement. Begin each of the following sentences like this the next thing my reader needs to know is. The point here is that, in establishing the essays context, you are also limiting your topic. Try making your map like this state your thesis in a sentence or two, then write another sentence saying why its important to make that claim.

    Such essays generally have a descriptive thesis rather than an argumentative one. One typical critic, writing in the  , feared that the novel might fall into the hands of youth, leading them to dwell on things that only matured persons can understand, and promoting unholy imaginations and unclean desires (150). If it does, the essay will lack balance and may read as mere summary or description. Or you can do both you can ask a question and immediately suggest the answer that your essay will argue. But whatever sort of opening you choose, it should be directly related to your focus. If your essay is an argument about state-mandated prayer in public schools, dont start by generalizing about religion start with the specific topic at hand. Background material (historical context or biographical information, a summary of relevant theory or criticism, the definition of a key term) often appears at the beginning of the essay, between the introduction and the first analytical section, but might also appear near the beginning of the specific section to which its relevant. Here youre anticipating your answer to the why question that youll eventually flesh out in your conclusion. Thus, when you determine your context, you simultaneously narrow your topic and take a big step toward focusing your essay. What evidence shows that the phenomenon described by your thesis is true? To answer the question you must examine your evidence, thus demonstrating the truth of your claim.

    Harvard Writing Resources Strategies for Essay Writing: These concise explanations provide advice on some fundamental elements of academic writing.

    A Brief Guide to Writing the English Paper - Harvard University

    Writing begins with the act of reading. While this state- ment is true for most college papers, strong English papers tend to be the product of highly attentive ...