How to start an essay
At one point or the other, students are going to be required to write an essay, complex or otherwise. These are important for the student as they are tools used to gauge the skills on research, interpretation and even presentation of the material one has learnt. At the heart of essay writing is the ability of the student to express themselves at the professional and personal level. As such teachers and lecturers will require their students to present essays. For the student, this is a great platform to shore up abilities in research, interpretation and presentation. These are not simply skills to be used for academic purposes but also professionally. From the essay the student will be required to write reports in their profession of choice. When writing an essay, the first stage involves getting the right topic to handle. It is advisable to get a topic one is conversant with to assist with navigating through the content and presentation of the ideas. Research comes in handy, where the topic is chosen by the teachers. The other part is the organization of the ideas. This simply involves brainstorming along with research content collected on the topic. To be in a position to bring out an argument to the readers in the most expressive manner, there is need for a thesis statement. This is a statement in the form of an augment, which comes at the end of the introduction.
The thesis statement, is crucial during the planning stage, as it is the one which gives the writer the direction in the essay. It is with the thesis statement, the writer then establishes what will go into the essay and what will not, from the information they have collected. After refining the content of the essay and establishing the direction of the argument, the writer can now begin work on the paper.
Example of introduction:
“There is an innate desire in every person and even in most of the animals to be part of a large form than themselves. This is a desire to belong and feel as part of group. There a shared sense of companionship, interests, beliefs and even the basic principles of living. When one identifies with a certain culture, this means they are ready to carry on the heritage of the group which has been passed down for ages. They also link with the basic belief systems of the group which is the unifying element of any culture. This is to mean, a person will identify with aspect on the outside that are associated with culture in question and at the same time internal elements of the same. In an example, the beliefs held by the culture such as with reference to religion and the clothing the culture is associated with are part of the package among others.”
Example of thesis:
“Cultural identity defines every other aspect of a person inwards and outwards.”
How to write the body
When writing the essay, the body paragraphs form the bulk of the paper. This is relative to the fact that, it is in this section the writer is able to deliver their message. Ever other paragraph will have its own message. As such, the writer should note all the points they need to deliver in their essay and organize them into the paragraphs to bring out the argument. There may be paragraphs which will be bigger than the others, however, there should be some element of uniformity which bring balance to the paragraphs. This call on the writer to be very precise, so they do not have paragraphs which are too large compared to the rest. As such, the planning phase as mentioned earlier is crucial to avoid such incidences. Having different ideas per paragraph, does not mean the writer should present work with disjointed paragraphs. Between the paragraphs, the writer should ensure they use transition words and sentences to connect the ideas into one, forming a cohesive argument. Every other paragraph should also have a topic sentence to help the readers understand what to expect.
Example of body paragraphs for essay:
Example: (1st )
“From the start of the journey in life as a child, the sense of belonging plays a crucial role in their well being and even their mental health. Having the sense of the cultural attachment and more importantly history, brings in some aspect of positivity in their lives. It is this sense of belonging which gives a child the confidence they need as they face world on a daily basis. They are able to feel they belong to strong support team, which is greater than themselves and which they can draw some of the power to do anything they want in life. The child is able to develop a sense of self-esteem and even resilience along with reduced sense of anxiety.”
“While there is a sense of belonging for the child, this can also be used against them. For the longest time in history, most of the children who come from races considered the minority or even religious groups considered a minority, have suffered the backlash from the society. Being an African American for example or a Muslim for the longest time has been considered an uphill task. As such, the confidence of the children from different races will differ.”
“Although the races and religious groups where one belongs may be used against them, this is also a platform for them to draw the courage they need. Being an African American for example among other African Americans, gives the person the pride they need to rise above the discrimination leveled against them. It is this sense of belonging which gives the people the strength to fight as one against such prejudices. Cultural identity creates unity in times of need and otherwise, giving the people in the various groups the courage and the power they need to level the field for the children they have and for the future. Without the sense of cultural identity, it is easy for one person to be overwhelmed by the pressure in the community.”
How to conclude
When writing the conclusion to an essay, the first aspect the writer has to note is, this is a summary. They are only required to capture the main points in the essay or basically the argument. When a reader comes through the conclusion they are supposed to tell what was discussed in the essay with some element of finality. Any issues which need further redress in the future are also mentioned here.
Example of conclusion:
“Ever one wants to be part of something bigger than themselves. This is the main reason why people want to gain cultural identity. From a young age cultural identity is a factor that impacts the way they come up relative to confidence, wellbeing and their mental health. Even the element of dressing and mannerism in the society is affected by cultural identity. However it also means it can be used against them. It is from the element of belonging that they can then draw their inner power to rise above their situation in society. As such, cultural identity impacts a person both internally and externally.”
Thesis statements establish for your readers both the relationship between the ideas and the order in which the material will be presented. As the writer, you can use the thesis statement as a guide in developing a coherent argument. In the thesis statement you are not simply describing or recapitulating the material; you are taking a specific position that you need to defend. A well-written thesis is a tool for both the writer and reader, reminding the writer of the direction of the text and acting as a "road sign" that lets the reader know what to expect.
Narrowing the Topic
Once you have the general topic, the following questions will help you narrow to a thesis statement:
- How do I state the assigned topic clearly and succinctly?
- What are the most interesting and relevant aspects of the topic?
- In what order do I want to present the various aspects, and how do my ideas relate to each other?
- What is my point of view regarding the topic?
Writing a Thesis Statement
Using the topic information, develop this formulaic sentence:
I am writing about_______________, and I am going to argue, show, or prove___________.
What you wrote in the first blank is the topic of your paper; what you wrote in the second blank is what focuses your paper (suggested by Patrick Hartwell in Open to Language). For example, a sentence might be:
I am going to write about senior citizens who volunteer at literacy projects, and I am going to show that they are physically and mentally invigorated by the responsibility of volunteering.
Next, refine the sentence so that it is consistent with your style. For example:
Senior citizens who volunteer at literacy projects are invigorated physically and mentally by the responsibility of volunteering.
Here is a second example illustrating the formulation of another thesis statement. First, read this sentence that includes both topic and focusing comment:
I am going to write about how Plato and Sophocles understand the proper role of women in Greek society, and I am going to argue that though they remain close to traditional ideas about women, the authors also introduce some revolutionary views which increase women's place in society.
Now read the refined sentence, consistent with your style:
When examining the role of women in society, Plato and Sophocles remain close to traditional ideas about women's duties and capabilities in society; however, the authors also introduce some revolutionary views which increase women's place in society.