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Essays originally come from English-speaking countries. At universities in England and the United States, this type of explanation has been part of the student career for many centuries. Nowadays, essays are also regularly written at many universities in Germany. But what makes a good essay? What is to be considered? Get some tips so that you too can soon write the perfect essay.
What is an essay?
Essays are basically about getting a personal opinion on a question. In the course of the essay, this question should be answered in your own words and the point of view should be justified. An essay is about the critical examination of a topic. Often the topic can be freely chosen by the students - in some courses, however, it is already specified by the lecturer. If you are not sure which topic to choose, ask your lecturer. He or she can certainly help you, and together you will find a suitable topic for you.
An essay is not a source study
Although you have to work with secondary literature of course, you should see that you hardly use quotations or footnotes. However, it is still important that you include a literature reference in your essay. Your thoughts on the topic under discussion also come from somewhere. So please indicate which literature inspired your point of view.
- The content of the essay must be phrased as clearly as possible.
- There is no outline like there is in a term paper - the essay is not broken down into chapters. Rather, certain thoughts are brought together in sections.
- The length of an essay depends on the information provided by the lecturer. It can be two or three pages, or even more. Some essays are no more than 500 words, barely a page. So it depends on the information given to you before writing the essay. Most of the time you can expect that you are still within the limits with 10% more or fewer words.
Different forms of essays
A general distinction is made between different types of essays.
- The comparative essay covers two different topics, but they are related in some ways. These two topics are contrasted and compared. A comparative essay deals with the differences and similarities between these two topics, e.g. the difference between ordinary and extraordinary termination or the difference between gross, commercial and living space.
- In the argumentative essay, the reader should be convinced of their own point of view on a topic. The arguments must be brought across in the essay in a clear and precise manner.
- The explanatory essay is based on a situation or a process. In the course of the essay, the most important aspects of the respective topic are listed.
- Another type of essay is the analytical essay. This form is often used in university literature courses. A particular work is read in this type of essay and then motifs, meanings or characters are analyzed.
How is an essay structured?
The structure of an essay is usually always the same. You should stick to this structure under all circumstances: It is one of the most important things that make up such a form of explanation.
An essay is basically divided into three sections: Introduction, main part and conclusion.
- The introduction of an essay should also give a detailed introduction to the topic to be treated. State your own point of view in the introduction. Be subjective - after all, this is your essay, and your point of view. Name the main arguments that you will explain later in the main part. It is also good to start with a quote from research and state in the introduction whether you agree or disagree with this point of view. Use short and precise sentences, especially in the introduction.
- In the main part, the point of view from the introduction is argued. Give conclusive arguments that bring the reader closer to your point of view and explain your point of view. The main part is divided into short sections. Don't use chapters like you would in a term paper, however. Start each new section with a short sentence that explains what the section refers to below and what topic or question it deals with. At the beginning of each section it should be made clear what this section refers to and what you want to achieve with it.
- In conclusion, it is important that you do not introduce new arguments: everything you argue on the topic should be done in the main part. The conclusion should be kept brief. You have to logically prove from what is written in the introduction and in the main part. Summarize your arguments again and explain your point of view. Based on your conclusion, the reader should clearly understand your point of view and how you came up with your arguments.
What language do I use when writing an essay?
In an essay, short and concise sentences are always used. Don't use abbreviations, just write out the words. Only use quotes if you really have to. Otherwise it is better to summarize the secondary literature in your own words in an essay. Write in the active. Keep the academic spelling. You should only use the pronoun "I" if it is absolutely necessary. If possible, rephrase your sentences so that you don't even have to use "I".
Writing an essay is not a masterpiece
Working on an essay is even fun! If you keep a few points in mind while writing such an explanation, you will be very good at writing the academic essay. Do not let yourself be unsettled by many different points - then you will definitely succeed in writing. If you are still unsure about some points, or if you find too little secondary literature on the topic you have come up with, your lecturer can certainly help you. Or you ask your fellow students. They are sure to have more tips for you.
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