How to Write an Essay: Part 3


Hi, it’s Lisa here from Capstone Editing. I’m happy to share with you the third video in our series on essay writing. If you haven’t already watched the first two videos, you might like to do that now. This video will focus on finalising your essay plan, which is the step that comes after organising your research, and before writing your first draft.

It is important that, before you start writing your essay, you have a clear idea of what position you will be taking in your essay, what topics you will cover, what information you need to include, and in what order that information should be presented.

Only in this way can you be sure of producing a high-quality academic essay. The key to this is a detailed essay plan, carefully refined during the research stage and then finalised before writing.

At the first stage (outlined in the ‘How to Begin’ video), you will have drafted your rough essay plan.

The example provided in that video looked like this.

Remember, though, this is simply an example of an essay plan, for comparison with the one I will present later in this video, to show how essay plans might develop over time through research. The topics are meant as general examples only. The information shouldn’t be used by students writing on the same or similar topics.

This plan will have informed your research phase, as described in the second video, ‘How to Organise Your Research’.

In that video, I noted that during the research phase, you may have found that your rough essay plan needed to be adapted to fit your findings from the literature. You will have made decisions around what information to include in your essay and how your topics should be ordered to best support your argument.

Having started this process while preparing your research document (also explained in the previous video), you can now write your final essay plan, which will be more detailed than your original plan and reflect all of the firm decisions you made about how your essay should be written. This must be done by the time you come to writing.

Your final essay plan may look like the one on this slide.

In this example, you will see that through the process of conducting the research, the student has realised that ‘disease and demographic impact’ is the most important topic and so should be allocated more words and be broken up under subheadings. ‘Family’ was also identified as an important topic, replacing ‘art and craft’. The least important topic was ‘language’, so this is now positioned last.

Note that your final essay plan may be even more detailed than this one, including subheadings under each topic. This will depend on the length and nature of your essay.

If you haven’t finished reading this example and seeing how it compares with the previous one, please pause the video here and take your time to make the comparison.

You are now ready to begin writing the first draft of your essay. You might like to print your essay plan for quick reference. In addition, you should have your research document open (or printed if you prefer). These two documents will together guide you easily through the writing stage of your essay.

And I’ll be providing you with detailed advice on writing your essay in the next video, ‘How to Write the First Draft’.

I look forward to sharing it with you. And in the meantime, please do like this video and share it with your friends.

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