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Strategies for Essay Writing

Strategies for Essay Writing

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Published by Holden Christopher
Harvard University provides several strategies for writing great essays, you know, a clear, concise, informative argument. I created this guide in order to put all of those strategies in one convenient place. Students, follow its rules/suggestions and watch your grades improve. Teachers/Professors, give it to your students and cut down on the number of bad/unintelligible essays you read in a semester/school year.
Harvard University provides several strategies for writing great essays, you know, a clear, concise, informative argument. I created this guide in order to put all of those strategies in one convenient place. Students, follow its rules/suggestions and watch your grades improve. Teachers/Professors, give it to your students and cut down on the number of bad/unintelligible essays you read in a semester/school year.

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Published by: Holden Christopher on Jan 12, 2013
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HARVARDCOLLEGEWRITINGRESOURCES 
[2011]
 
HARVARD UNIVERSITY 
[
The Writing Center 
]
 
The Harvard Writing Project sponsors a wide range of writing guides that encourage better writing bygiving students practical advice and useful examples. A valuable guide for all writers, this resourcehelps students think carefully about the challenges and methods of developing their own ideas frommaterial they read in print or on the Internet. Faculty Grants on Writing Pedagogy have underwrittenthe development of some guides
Strategies for Essay Writing 
 
Harvard College Writing Resources
2
[Table of Contents] 
SECTION 1: How to Read an Assignment ................................................................ 3SECTION 2: Moving from Assignment to Topic ....................................................... 5SECTION 3: How to Do a Close Reading ................................................................. 7SECTION 4: Overview of the Academic Essay ......................................................... 9SECTION 5: Essay Structure ....................................................................................11SECTION 6: Developing a Thesis ............................................................................13SECTION 7: Beginning the Academic Essay ...........................................................15SECTION 8: Outlining .............................................................................................17SECTION 9: Counterargument .................................................................................20SECTION 10: Summary ...........................................................................................22SECTION 11: Topic Sentences and Signposting ......................................................24SECTION 12: Transitioning .....................................................................................26SECTION 13: How to Write a Comparative Analysis ..............................................28SECTION 14: Conclusions .......................................................................................31SECTION 15: Revising the Draft .............................................................................33SECTION 16: Editing the Essay, Part 1 ....................................................................35SECTION 17: Editing the Essay, Part 2 ....................................................................37SECTION 18: Tips on Grammar, Punctuation, and Style .........................................39
 
Harvard College Writing Resources
3
[SECTION 1]
 
SECTION 1:How to Read an AssignmentAssignments usually ask you to demonstrate that you have immersed yourself in the course material and that youhave done some thinking on your own; questions not treated at length in class often serve as assignments.Fortunately, if you have put the time into getting to know the material, then you have almost certainly begunthinking independently. In responding to assignments, keep in mind the following advice.
Beware of straying.
Especially in the draft stage,
discussion
and
analysis
can lead you from oneintrinsically interesting problem to another, then another, and then ... You may wind up following a gardenof forking paths and lose your way. To prevent this, stop periodically while drafting your essay and rereadthe assignment. Its purposes are likely to become clearer.
Consider the assignment in relation to previous and upcoming assignments.
Ask yourself what is newabout the task you are setting out to do. Instructors often design assignments to build in complexity.Knowing where an assignment falls in this progression can help you concentrate on the specific, freshchallenges at hand.Understanding some key words commonly used in assignments also may simplify your task. Toward this end, letus take a look at two seemingly impenetrable instructions:
discuss
and
analyze.
1. Discuss the role of gender in bringing about the French Revolution.
Discuss
is easy to misunderstand because the word calls to mind the oral/spoken dimension of communication.
Discuss
suggests conversation, which often is casual and undirected. In the context of an assignment, however,discussion entails fulfilling a defined and organized task: to construct an argument that considers and responds to anample range of materials. To
discuss,
in assignment language, means to make a broad argument about a set of arguments you have studied. In the case above, you can do this by:pointing to consistencies and inconsistencies in the evidence of gendered causes of the Revolution;raising the implications of these consistencies and/or inconsistencies (perhaps they suggest a limited rolefor gender as catalyst);evaluating different claims about the role of gender; andasking what is gained and what is lost by focusing on gendered symbols, icons and events.A weak discussion essay in response to the question above might simply list a few aspects of the Revolution
 — 
theimage of Liberty, the executions of the King and Marie Antoinette, the cry
 Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite!
 — 
andmake separate comments about how each, being
gendered,
is therefore a powerful political force. Such an essaywould offer no original thesis, but instead restate the question asked in the assignment (i.e.,
The role of gender wasvery important in the French Revolution
or
Gender did not play a large role in the French Revolution
).

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