Basic Essay Writing Guide Part Two

 by Waller Jamison

Let's get into the next steps in your basic essay writing guide. Before developing your essay plan any further, you should do any background reading, interviews or other research necessary.

You may find that new information will cause you to change your argument or structure your essay differently. Once you have completed your reading and research, you can expand your plan, based on the new information you now have.

Decide on a logical order in which to put the topics to be discussed (you may be allowed to use headings and if you aren't you can put them in as guidelines and then remove them before handing in your work.)

 Now start writing your first draft, filling in the blanks beneath each heading. Make sure the order of topics makes sense and takes you towards a logical conclusion.

Essay Writing - Essential Tips

After the first draft, leave your essay for a couple of days and then re-read it and ask yourself the following questions.

  • Have I introduced the topic well?
  • Are the points raised presented in a logical sequence?
  • Have I included a clear argument?
  • Have I developed the argument throughout the essay?
  • Have I backed up my argument with relevant theory/research/experience?
  • Have I written a strong conclusion?
  • Is my referencing correct?

Edit your essay according to the answers to these questions and when you are satisfied with what you have written, proofread several times, checking your spelling and grammar.

If you aren't sure of any grammatical points or spellings, look them up or ask someone. Don't rely on the spellcheck, which won't show up common typos like "form" instead of "from", and which has a very strange take on grammar.

Essay Writing - Final Points

After proofreading at least twice, make sure your layout is correct - look at your college guidelines. Should the essay be in double-line spacing on one side of the paper?

Then look at what has to be included - a coversheet, an abstract or a rationale, a bibliography? Do you have any appendices? And what about a list of contents? If you are in any doubt, ask your tutor.

Don't forget to check your college's own basic essay writing guide to ensure that you have covered all of the aspects of essay writing that they are looking for.

Effective essay writing is one of the most important skills needed during your time at university. If you are a student or about to become one, there is a very high probability that you will have to write a considerable number of essays and so it is essential that you learn how to avoid some of the common pitfalls experienced by students.

This can all feel a little overwhelming when you are writing college essays for the first time. However, it is just a question of learning the rules, as they are set out by your own college or tutor, learning the techniques you need to apply those rules to your own assignments and correcting any errors as you go.

With a little practice, you will find that essay writing is a skill which can be learned.

If you missed part one, read it here  Basic Essay Writing Guide