TO ARGUE AND STRUCTURE AN ESSAY, IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES AND THE ARTS
The ‘raw’ information below highlights how an essay should be planned and then implemented. The basic argument
should be divided into 2 views.
It has been taken into account that the writer is a beginner. Written assistance has been provided on that basis.
Essay writing requires a substantial investment of time and effort. Time to research each structured stage, and effort to develop each of these stages.
Knowledge of academic essay writing should be passed on through a philosophical understanding. ‘Induction’
is recognised as such. Induction will be used to plan and write the essay. Induction will be used since it allows
an argument to be formed.
For further assistance, to make an essay easy to read it should follow a written structure. A written structure provides
a universally understandable ‘back-bone’ to the essay. A structure provides a written template
and looks at various perspectives. The main point should be each of these structures below, add
to the written perspective sought by lecturers.
Examples of an Essay Structure.
A definition of an Introduction should be a means of presenting what will be discussed.
"Say what you are going to do, and how you are going to discuss it."
To define the essay’s findings, these beginning ‘facts and opinions’ should form a grounding for
the forthcoming discussion. Recognising that the introduction will have already explained what will be discussed. In other
words do not go over old points, but provide a ‘dichotomy’ to allow a discussion to develop.
An example of a dichotomy would be the 'theory' and the 'experiences' of the essay. A discussion could be developed on that
1. "Theory – here
give the advantages and disadvantages of the subject. Finally when writing a conclusion, the conclusion could take
the form of a hypothesis as it confirms the written reality of the subject so far.
2. "Then, to add to this in the opposing structure write about your Experiences
in the present tense. This part will form your Field-research. Yet another term for this would be 'empirical findings'.
Remember, when writing at degree level do not provide a bias by giving a prejudiced judgement, be impartial and unprejudiced.”
A discussion is where the theory and field-research form further comparisons, through analysis. “Can you now
see the discussion building. Here explain the 'depth' of what you found.”
“Recognise that the more steps there are the deeper the discussion. These steps need to directly relate. For
instance, provide arguments on what’s new and old, a variety of angles which show how it is forward looking, talk about
the divisions caused, the preferences, your preferences. Give reason and justify everything. The cost on your word
count will vastly increase, even when such a small amount of propositions are questioned.”
A summary could be defined as a brief description of each piece of structured information in the document.
”Here bring out the main points within each paragraph and or structure. Present
these in a concise form. Even form a short restatement of what all these main points sum up to. When going one stage
further, possibly add new definitions from the combination of your findings.”
"Here you will be re-explaining what you have just written about and how you went about it."
“These written calculations will then re-explain how you reached your answer. This short calculation will justify
the decision made to be correct; your decision will be validated.”
“There is a chance that a summary may not need to be included in your written work. Recognise it may be
omitted, but check and ask a tutor first. Essentially, understand that writing a summary can help form
a conclusion. It makes writing a conclusion much more easier.”
A conclusion is a proposition arrived at by logical reasoning, when taking the evidence of the summary into account.
"Bear in mind the point of the conclusion is to simply answer the question."
”Write the conclusion with the use of the summary. Use the summaries' written calculations to justify
how you reached your answer. Remember to be precise in the Social Sciences you only need to give the essay’s theme(s).
“Then to make the final comparison, question how the validation of the hypothesis ‘measures-up’ to
your concluding answer.”
”At this stage you will then be able to precisely write the Introduction. You see, at this stage of writing you
will have used precise knowledge and meaningful terms. Consequently with the use of such information a much more impressive
and knowledgeable introduction can be written.”
List of References
Such a structure should be defined as a chronological list of referenced material.
"Give the references used from literature, such as from books, periodicals, and the Internet. Perhaps even the sources
of your personal experiences, which led to information being used. To complete this follow the guidelines set out by the 'Harvard
A definition of the essay’s appendix would be:- material that would be too big
to include in the writing as it would stop the written flow of the essay.
“In an Appendix include ‘graphical’ and/ or ‘written text’ that would be too big. However,
some lecturers like such an interpretation left in and placed directly after the explanation has been made. But bear in mind,
others like such information placed in an Appendix. To solve the problem ask and find-out your tutors preference.”
When this structure is used, the essay will be universally recognised. It will aim to prove a point and
will eventually form concepts. The Essay will represent the ‘Scientific Method’ and have a scientific meaning,
and not simply be a burst of literature.
When beginning to write
'Write politely and be direct' (Northedge.1990. pp.110-155). Do not bring up points that are not relevant.
The essay needs to be objective (do not distort the essay with your own personal bias, and give your own view).
The structure of your argument should lead "... the reader from the title at the beginning to the conclusion at
the end" (Northedge.1990. p.110).
'The argument should be persuasive and written clearly. Don't let sophisticated language dominate the essay if you
do not fully understand it' (Northedge.1990. pp.110-155).
Recognise the tutor will know precisely the meaning of each term. So make sure you know the meaning for each term just
as well. Do not put yourself in an embarrassing situation. Perhaps in the few instances where you have used sophisticated
words give a brief example to emphasise your knowledge. These meanings could always be omitted at the end, to save on the
To capitalise on the formation of an argument. 'An essay’s argument should consist of a sequence of points, which
have a logical link between each' (Northedge.1990).
For example, when writing the essays findings use ‘Induction’ to form an argument. Here you want to build
up your argument by giving a Theory of the subject and so talk about past
views. After which, you give an account of your Personal Experiences of the subject. However, on this occasion
you will be talking about your ‘present’ experiences. Write as such. Then, when the 2
basic points have been laid-down this will allow an argument to be formed, and later discussed.
At the beginning of the essay you might find it more impressive to begin with
the present situation, rather than the past; your Experiences first then the
subjects Theory. Alternatively, 'introduce the relevant and most striking point first. Indicate your reason
for doing just this' (Northedge.1990. pp.110-155).
'To form an argument: introduce the concept, talking about obvious instances first, such as size and style, talk about
what they tend to involve, and answer what this provides. Give the positive and negative aspects. Then assess the perfect
environment, and contrast this with a good or bad situation' (Northedge.1990. pp.110-155).
To then form a different, 'opposing argument give the opposite opinion to what has been discussed' (Northedge.1990.
‘Remind the reader where they started and where they have reached. Do this in a subtle way so as not to heighten
the readers emotion. Do this by making the link between the different levels discussed. Doing this the reader will be reminded
where they started and where they have reached, and why there has been an increase to the extent the subject has been discussed'
'Near the end, to show an argument has been made, remind the reader of the central question, and the title of the essay.
Finally explain how this was answered. Here, highlight how the discussion answered the question' (Northedge.1990. pp.110-155).
'In the theoretical structure, create a flow in your argument. Also, give different opinions on the same argument’
'Be direct when writing to get the point across', but again do this in a balanced way (Northedge.1990. pp.110-155).
Recognise when writing an essay the same point will be brought up time and time again, only to be discussed in a slightly
different fashion each time. Remember only one specific subject is to be discussed. Such a form of writing is quite normal.
Just before you conclude the essay you could answer whether the subject discussed has been good or bad (Northedge.1990.
pp.110-155). In doing this you will then be giving a bias opinion; your opinion.
There are two ways to form an argument. One way would be through a formal structure, as
directed by the first example and the other without such a strong structure. Adapt the structure to your preference. Recognise that the strength of the
argument could be changed by you. Please discuss such a question with your tutor and adapt the structure, as you feel fit.
ask your tutor for their view on the importance of structure, how to stucture, and how to form an argument. Then compare their
view with ours.
Understand that when a structure is followed the information should assist the reader, and be quite simple to follow.
However, if further assistance should be required the other section of essay
writing should be followed.
Write the essay in a manner best suited to you. Recognise, the best essay would be the one that is the easiest to
read and makes the most sense, whilst covering a variety of angles. In essence, if the essay did not have a structure
it would not have a ‘back-bone’. A ‘back-bone’ to hold the other written 'limbs' together. A 'back-bone'
would allow the structured 'organs' to ‘talk’ in a functioning order.
It has been found that an essay's strong structure resembles that of a report.
However, the structure titles differ. Remember, reports give facts, and in comparison essay's form opinions on facts. In
essay's, make the paragraphs flow in each structure.
Northedge, A (1990) The Good Study Guide. Milton Keynes: The Open University.
Personal Experience. 1988-2001"