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Steps to Writing an Essay

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TJ WillSoul

on 28 March 2017

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Transcript of Steps to Writing an Essay

Created from a Creative Commons License WikiHow page
Image Links & Credits:
License: Creative Commons Uploaded by: Wikivisual
How to Write an Analytical Research Essay
Three stages:
(1) Pre-writing
(2) Writing
(3) Finalizing

Writing any essay can seem daunting, but research and analysis essays are incredibly difficult. Especially if you've never done it before.
Don't worry!
Take a deep breath, buy yourself a caffeinated beverage, and follow these steps to create a well-crafted analytical essay.
Prewriting for Your Essay
1. Understand the objective of an analytical Research essay.
2. Deciding what to write about
Sometimes you will have a free reign assignment, sometimes specific subjects and other times specific prompts.
Read the prompt carefully.
What is the prompt asking you to do?
What is the point or main idea of the prompt?
You have a topic - but you have free reign within the topic.

You will do research on a
poem or song
as well as the writers/performers of the piece.

You may choose from any genre, time-period etc.

A word of
Example: I want to learn more about why Tennyson wrote
"The Eagle."
3. Brainstorm.
You may not immediately know what your thesis statement should be, even once you've chosen your topic. That's okay! Doing some brainstorming can help you discover what you think about your topic. Consider it from as many angles as you can.[2]

Research can also assist in this endeavour.
Look for repeated imagery, metaphors, phrases, or ideas.

Things that repeat are often important.
See if you can decipher why these things are so crucial.
Do they repeat in the same way each time, or differently?
How does the text work?
You're analyzing a creative work so you MUST consider things like figurative language & poetic devices to assist you in this endeavour.
ALSO - use your Archetypes - it helps
You will also be analyzing research on your poem/song, you need to fact check everything!
Look up biographical, historical, and then recheck any analysis you find on your piece for authenticity.
A mind map can be helpful to some people. Start with your central topic, and arrange smaller ideas around it in bubbles. Connect the bubbles to identify patterns and how things are related.
Good brainstorming can be all over the place. In fact, that can be a good way to start off!
Don't discount any ideas just yet.
Write down any element or fact that you think of as you examine your topic.
4. Come up with a thesis statement.
The thesis statement is a sentence or two that summarizes the claim you will make in your paper.
It tells the reader what your essay will be about.
write a vague or obvious thesis such as "Tennyson wrote a poem about an eagle because he likes eagles."
make a specific argument such as "Tennyson used the personification of an eagle as his symbol for the monarchy and how it governs tyrannically over the people."
Unless instructed to write one, avoid the "three-prong" thesis that presents three points to be discussed later. These thesis statements usually limit your analysis too much and give your argument a formulaic feel. It's okay to state generally what your argument will be.
5. Find supporting evidence.
You will work with primary and secondary sources, such as other books or journal articles.
Sources required: your text, 2-3 scholarly journals or articles, 2-3 contemporary research items.
Good evidence supports your claim and makes your argument more convincing. List out the supporting evidence, noting where you found it, and how it supports your claim.
6. Make an outline.
Outlines are essential to planning the STRUCTURE of your essay.
An outline will help structure your essay and make writing it easier.
Be sure that you understand how long your essay needs to be.
If you're not quite sure how all your evidence fits together, don't worry! Making an outline can help you figure out how your argument should progress.
You can also make a more informal outline that groups your ideas together in large groups. From there, you can decide what to talk about where.
Your essay will be as long as it needs to be to adequately discuss your topic.

A common mistake students make is to choose a large topic and then allow only 3 body paragraphs to discuss it.

This makes essays feel shallow or rushed. Don't be afraid to spend enough time discussing each detail!
Writing your Essay
1. Write your Introduction
Your introduction should give your reader background information about your topic.
Try to make your introduction engaging but not too overzealous.
Avoid summarizing the prompt--it’s best to simply state your argument.
Also avoid dramatic introductions (beginning an essay with a question or exclamation is generally best to avoid).
In general, do not use the first (I) or second (you) person in your essay.
State your thesis, generally as the last sentence in the first paragraph.
2. Writing body paragraphs
Each body paragraph should have:
1) A topic sentence
2) An analysis of some part of the text
3) Evidence from the text that supports your analysis and your thesis statement.
A topic sentence tells the reader what the body paragraph will be about.
The analysis of the text is where you make your argument.
The evidence you provide supports your argument. Remember that each claim you make should support your thesis
Example topic sentence
: The key to differentiating between the two attacks is the notion of excessive retribution.

Example analysis:
Grendel's mother does not simply want vengeance, as per the Medieval concept of ‘an eye for an eye.’ Instead, she wants to take a life for a life while also throwing Hrothgar’s kingdom into chaos.

Example evidence:
Instead of simply killing Aeschere, and thus enacting just revenge, she “quickly [snatches] up” that nobleman and, with him “tight in her clutches,” she leaves for the fen (1294). She does this to lure Beowulf away from Heorot so she can kill him as well.

The formula "CEE" may help you remember:


Whenever you present a claim, make sure you present evidence to support that claim and explain how the evidence relates to your claim.
3. Know when to quote or paraphrase
means that you take the exact text and, placing it in quotation marks, insert it into your essay.
Quoting is good when you use the precise wording of something to support your claim.
Make sure that you use the correct form of quotation, depending on if you are using MLA, APA or Chicago style.

on the other hand, is when you summarize the text.
Paraphrasing can be used to give background or compress a lot of details into a short space.
It can be good if you have a lot of information or would need to quote a huge portion of text to convey something.
Example of a quote:

Instead of simply killing Aeschere, and thus enacting just revenge, she “quickly [snatches] up” that nobleman and, with him “tight in her clutches,” she leaves for the fen (1294).

Example of a paraphrased sentence:
The female Grendel enters Heorot, snatches up one of the men sleeping inside it, and runs away to the fen (1294).
4. Write your conclusion
Your conclusion is where you remind your reader of how you supported your argument.
Some teachers also want you to make a broader connection in your conclusion.
This means that they want you to make a ‘bigger world connection’.
This could mean stating how your argument affects other claims about the text, or how your claim could change the view of someone reading the text you analyzed.
introduce a completely new argument in your conclusion.

expand beyond your thesis statement by discussing its implications or wider context.
Example conclusion

The concept of an ‘eye for an eye’ was very present in the early Medieval world. However, by comparing the attacks of both Grendel's mother and the dragon, the medieval world’s perception of righteous vengeance versus unjust revenge is made clear. While the dragon acts out in the only way he knows how, Grendel's mother attacks with evil intent.
Example conclusion with a ‘bigger world connection’:

The concept of an ‘eye for an eye’ was very present in the early Medieval world. However, by comparing the attacks of both Grendel's mother and the dragon, the medieval world’s perception of righteous vengeance versus unjust revenge is made clear. While the dragon acts out in the only way he knows how, Grendel's mother attacks with evil intent. As we saw from the study of other characters, these portrayals may tie into an early Medieval perception that women had greater potential for evil.
Finalizing the essay
1) Proofread your essay for spelling or grammar mistakes.
2) Read your paper out loud
3) Check for proper spelling, grammar, etc.
4) Check rubric with paper & grade yourself
5) Peer-edit workshop
Analytical research paper:

The analytical research paper often begins with the student asking a question (a.k.a. a research question) on which he/she has taken no stance.
Such a paper is often an exercise in exploration and evaluation.

You will be writing an analytical research paper. That means, I am going to give you a topic and you will do research analysis on that topic.

Our topic for this unit is poetry and that is exactly what you will be writing about - poetry.

NEW songs or poems will be harder to research and find valid, scholarly sources
You may want to go back at LEAST 10 years. If you are having a problem picking something - see me - I will assist.
7. Proper mla format, proper research, proper citations
Go to this website now:
1. Click on the tab that says "Research & Citation"
2. Click on "MLA Style"
3. Click on "MLA Overview and Workshop"

Welcome to the OWL Workshop on MLA Style.
This workshop will introduce you to the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style for writing and formatting research papers. To get the most out of this workshop, you should begin with the introductory material below, which covers what MLA Style is, why it is used, and who should apply this style to their work. Then you are invited to browse through the OWL's various handouts on different aspects of MLA Formatting and Citations standards, both as sources appear in-text and in final reference page.
Contributors:Kristen Seas, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2016-08-05 01:30:36
What is MLA Style?

MLA Style establishes standards of written communication concerning:
formatting and page layout
stylistic technicalities (e.g. abbreviations, footnotes, quotations)
citing sources
and preparing a manscript for publication in certain disciplines.
Why Use MLA?
Provide your readers with cues they can use to follow your ideas more efficiently and to locate information of interest to them
Allow readers to focus more on your ideas by not distracting them with unfamiliar or complicated formatting
Establish your credibility or ethos in the field by demonstrating an awareness of your audience and their needs as fellow researchers (particularly concerning the citing of references)
Seas, Kristen, and Allen Brizee. "Welcome to the Purdue OWL." Purdue OWL: MLA Overview and Workshop. The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University, 05 Aug. 2016. Web. Jan. 2017.
General Guidelines of Formatting an MLA Paper:
Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are recognizable one from another. The font size should be 12 pt.
Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).
Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.
Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)
Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.
If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page. Entitle the section Notes (centered, unformatted).
Use your Sample Template in Google Docs!!! The only thing you have to do is type in your information & essay - other than that, do not mess with the format AT ALL!!!
Formatting the First Page of Your Paper

Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.
In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play; Human Weariness in "After Apple Picking"
Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or other readers may ask that you omit last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow instructor guidelines.)
How to Cite your research using MLA Format:

Yes, you can use a generator, but you have to make sure it follows the MLA guidelines in Owl at Purdue - look at the toolbar menu to the left & click on "MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources"
Everything has a specific way of being cited now - even a "TWEET!!!" --- Yes... that's right... we can now do research and include someone's Twitter rampages...
(Not a real tweet - it is a joke about Shakespeare)
Proper Research & plagiarism
First and foremost...
Also used information from Owl at Purdue
Primary Sources:
More Complex
Indepth exploration
One-to-one talks with active industry players & observers
Focus on prospect companies
Secondary Sources:
Easier to conduct
Broad understanding
Obtained from public resources
Focus on marks
Preparation for primary research
Due Dates:
1) Outline and Works Cited pages are due on 4/3/2017
No works cited = a ZERO on this assignment
It makes absolute no sense to write a paper if you don't have the research done first.
No outline means 10 points off final grade.

2) Rough drafts are due 4/6/2017
All of the work on this paper is done outside of class so that you can use class for workshop purposes. If you don't have a rough draft, I take 10 points off your final grade.

Final drafts are due 4/20/2017
- this gives you all of Spring break and 3 days after Spring Break to finalize your essay and turn it in - I suggest turning it in early and not waiting until the last minute.
A paper copy & a copy to turnitin.com will be due on 4/20 - the Google Classroom assignment will be open the entire time, simply turn it in there.
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