To write an essay is

To write an essay is

To write an essay is, as I said, a big project. This means that you probably have to work with it in a different way than when you write less comprehensive texts. It also means that you will probably go through the stages of uncertainty during the work. Sometimes you as a writer do not know where you are going or how to get there. These are natural parts of the process. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

Read essays on the subject

By reading other, good essays, you get a grip on language, disposition, formalities and much more. A really good role model can serve as a template for your own work. So read and think about how the text is structured and how it works.

Plan the work

It is easy to think that you have plenty of time if the submission should not take place until several months. But you will thank yourself if you start directly and plan your time carefully. Just as in your studies in general, you should first make an overall timetable for the entire period. Enter all deadlines in your calendar. Then break down the work into smaller parts and give yourself your own deadlines. What you enter into the calendar can then be:

  • Search for scientific articles.
  • Read and summarize articles.
  • Write preliminary problem and purpose.
  • Choose materials to investigate.
  • Write about the material.
  • Write preliminary introduction.
  • Choose method.
  • Write about the method.

Create a document and start typing directly

Create the document that will be your essay the very first day. Then you can enter things as and when you want in the document. If your institution has a thesis template, insert the headings from it. Otherwise you can use the headings we have below, under the parts of the essay. Then start writing right away. So far, everything is draft and does not have to be “good” or “finished”, but by writing you develop your ideas and it is easier to change text that already exists than to write new.

Also write where you want in the document. An essay is not written chronologically. So you do not have to start with the introduction and end the discussion, but can write a line here and a paragraph there, as you come up with ideas or do your study.

Note your sources

Keeping track of their sources is very important when writing an essay. Always keep accurate notes on what you read. If you want, you can also use reference management software to keep track of your sources. You can read more about this on the library’s website.

Read more about refrain management programs on the library’s website
Content before language

If you are not an extremely popular writer, it may be good to think about the content first. The important thing is therefore to find out what you want to say. Correcting the language can wait until later. If you are to submit a draft to your supervisor, it is good to point out that you are working in that way.

The parts of the essay (the red thread)

An essay consists of many different sections. Despite this, the text should be a whole, with a clear red thread. The red thread is created by your research question and how each section relates to it. Note The different sections can have different headings and the order sometimes differs between the institutions. This description is therefore very common.

See the Study and Language Workshop film (2 minutes) about the parts of the thesis.

Introduction

Here you tell us why the research issue is important.

In the introduction you should therefore tell why your particular subject is important and provide information that helps the reader understand your topic and your investigation. Sometimes the introduction is described as a funnel, because it starts in something quite large (for example a social problem) and then narrows down to deal with this particular investigation, as in this example:

  • Pupils’ writing ability is a recurring topic in upper secondary schools in Sweden. Pupils who come to high school with a lack of writing skills find it difficult to cope with their studies. This becomes a problem for both students, teachers and the school in general.

Sometimes it is timeliness that makes a topic interesting. Then the essay can begin, for example, as follows:

  • During the autumn of 2017, a lively debate took place in the media about the Swedish upper secondary school students’ writing ability.
  • Note The choice of subject should not be motivated by the fact that you are interested, think it is fun or something else private. So this is not a good introduction:
  • I learned to read and write as a five-year-old. For that reason, I have always been particularly interested in reading and writing skills.

Another danger is that the introduction begins far too far from the subject itself, as in this example:

  • The written language was invented sometime between 3,400 and 3,200 before our timing.
  • The introduction risks becoming very long and rather irrelevant if you start so far from your real topic.