Today as I promised we’re going to look at how to write a good essay and although this essay can be applied at almost any level for the purposes of this talk. We’re going to assume that it’s at a university level.
Now one of the most important things about essay writing is your preparation, your research. At a university level there are many tools at your disposal, many of them accessible through the internet, so use them but don’t pooh-pooh the value of books and you need to learn at the earliest possible stage how to skim through a book, how to read a book quickly. For example, if we take one of these things there’s a book about her former British prime minister. All the exciting information is going to be about two-thirds of the way through the book, so if you have to read this book and let’s say one hour, please, don’t start at the forward or the introduction, because that’s really just pandering to the brilliance of the writer. It’s hits all pompous rubbish the actual weight the information is going to be about two-thirds of the way through the book, this is the same with an academic book, with a novel, in fact with any form of literary writing.
The important bit of information and in your essay is going to be about two-thirds of the way through the actual piece. When you’re looking for research, you should think seriously about the resources that are available to you on the Internet. You’ve got things like JSTOR which is or PDF for the most parts of, therefore a little bit slow Lexis, Nexis, Eric, CQ researcher university databases, but also make sure that you’re looking at primary, as well as secondary sources. The primary sources are very valuable; the secondary sources are equally valuable useful to know what everybody is saying about your particular subject. But make sure you do this quickly.
The next thing you need to look at is analysis. Your analysis of why somebody says something because everybody has a bias, everybody has a particular axe to grind. Look carefully at the evidence that is presented for a particular viewpoint, look at the claims that are made by the author, identify his argument or her argument and the some shion’s, be careful of generalizations things which are out of date and non sequiturs. Check also whether or not the logic works as we look particularly for a thing called the logical fallacy.