The first thing to do before you start anything is having a plan. If you want to build a house you must have a plan in place otherwise you will not end up with a good house. When it comes to essay writing or research paper writing, essay planning is important if you want to have a great essay. You should plan your essay by writing an essay outline that will guide you during the writing process. Find below a step-by-step guide on how to plan your essay and enhance the effectiveness of your paper by passing on your ideas in an organized manner.
First step: Understand your essay question for better essay planning
Whenever you are given an essay to write, the first thing to do is planning your essay by taking time to understand the question. Most complaints from professors is that most of the students don’t answer the question being asked. Don’t go direct to researching and writing, instead, you should take time to understand what the question is and what is needed.
In case of an open-ended question, make sure you narrow it down and explain why you decided to narrow it down so that the readers know you appreciate the wider perspective of the question and also know that you are selective. If it’s a closed question, be sure to stay within the limits of the question.
Second step: Underline the keywords in your question to help in the essay planning
Note down all words in your essay question that tell you what to do, for example, limiting keywords, task words and content essay keywords. Limiting keywords will tell you the scope and extent you can go in answering your question. Task words are verbs that will tell you what to do in order to answer the essay question. Content keywords are words that will help you focus on your research by telling you what topic area you should focus on. Make sure you underline all these keywords to effectively answer your essay.
Third Step: Re-read the Essay question to ascertain that you understand it
The thirst step is to re-read your question to ensure that you understand it. Make sure you ask yourself the question and explain it to yourself to make sure that you have understood it. If you can answer it, go back to step 1.
Fourth step: Before researching, note down your initial thought of the question
Before going to the library to get information for your essay be sure to note down what you think the answer to the question is. The quick things to note before you can start the actual research are things like:
- Your thought on the question based on the lectures in class, seminars, or general knowledge.
- The things you don’t understand or don’t know and are required to answer the essay question.
- Initial answers to the question, and what you think the conclusion will be.
This will help you know what you will need. You will have an easier time since you know what you will be looking for in a book or magazine or any other resource. This will be helpful to pinpoint the chapters you need and the articles you will need to find out to answer the essay question.
Fifth step: Actual reading and collection of information
In this step, you will be carrying out research and looking for the relevant materials to answer your question by providing arguments and giving evidence and examples to it. Write down the key point from the reading that you come across. You can also include the names of the authors and the page numbers and where the content is from for reference purposes. This will help to defend and give evidence to your points later in the essay.
This will shed light on your first answers to the question and see how your initial response has changed or how detailed it has become and will help you in the essay planning process.
Sixth step: Create an outline for your essay -Actual Essay planning
Planning your essay makes it much more likely that you will end up with a coherent argument.
- It enables you to work out a logical structure and an endpoint for your argument before you start writing.
- Also means you don’t have to do this type of complex thinking at the same time as trying to find the right words to express your ideas.
- Lastly helps you to commit yourself to stick to the point!
You need to work out what to include, and what can be left out. It is impossible to cover everything in an essay. Our markers will be looking for evidence of your ability to choose material and put it in order. Brainstorm all your ideas, then arrange them in three or four groups. Not everything will fit so be prepared to discard some points (you can mention them briefly in your introduction).
Make an outline of everything that you need to include in your paper.
How to write an essay Introduction:
Address the question, show why it’s interesting and how you will answer it. You also need to include a thesis statement in your first paragraph of your essay. If you don’t know what a thesis statement is or how to come up with a good thesis for your essay be sure to check this Guide.
How to write the Main body:
Build your argument by starting with the point you feel is strong. Put your ideas into groups in a sequence to make a persuasive argument. For each point given, give two pieces of evidence and at least one example. One main point in each paragraph. Also, use transition words from one paragraph to another. An example of transition words is, however, moreover, but, on the other hand, etc.
How to Conclude an essay:
Summarise your arguments and evidence, and show how they answer the original question. Finish your essay by reinstating your thesis statement in other words to act as the concluding statement.