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Lesson 3: Introduction to the Essay as a Process

In this lesson, we’ll be taking a look at the essay as a process.


  • To define the essay
  • To enumerate key points in writing an essay
  • To enhance one’s knowledge of English composition

One of the main reasons why writing English compositions for class or work can be so challenging is that it isn’t viewed as a process but as an immediate outcome. Contrary to popular belief, the essay is a progression of thought and action which takes more than just typing or immediately putting the work together. In this lesson, we’re going to be defining the different stages through which the essay goes before the final draft. This will also serve as an introduction to the English essay as a form. This lesson will help ease us into our coming lessons which will focus more on the basics of English composition.

1. Develop your topic.

This is the first and perhaps most crucial step. You need to know what it is you’re specifically writing about: what are the parameters of your topic? What is within the scope and limitations of your concerns? In this stage, you should be listing down different keywords that will help prepare you for the research aspect of English composition. Furthermore, you need to know what kind of composition you’re writing—what is the aim of this essay? Are you writing to persuade? To inform? To pose a question? Once you determine these things you’ll have clear-cut view of what you want your essay to achieve and thus, how you should go about writing it.

If you’re working with a team, this would be the best time to brainstorm—discuss the possibilities of your paper and decide how you want to go about writing it. This will help you come up with diverse ideas and will help sort out any possible flaws with the topic that some of you may have initially overlooked.

2. Do your research.

Your keywords will come into play during this part of the composition process: here you’ll have to gather resources and information about your topic. You should begin by gathering all the information you can get and then eventually shave it down to the information you need—keep checking to see if the information that you have coincides with your topic and the scope of your essay.

3. Analyze.

Here you’ll see how the data you’ve gathered relates both to the main topic and to the other data.

For instance, if you’re writing an essay about a certain book—it’s important to note the critical feedback and the audience reception but also how those two relate to each other: why was the feedback given by the critics so different from the way it was received by the audience?

At this point, it’ll be important to note not just the data per se but also what that data implies or says about your topic. Don’t just list down figures, explain what they might mean. As the essay writer, it’s your job to act as a mediator between the reader and the research you’ve gathered.

4. Outline your ideas.

Before you begin writing your actual essay, begin by outlining the entire paper first. List down what divisions are appropriate and which points you have to be sure to make. This will help make your paper cohesive and easy to read. It’ll also allow you to get your point across properly by supplying the reader with information in a certain order.

5. Connect the dots.

This is the meat of the writing. This is where you write the paragraphs and information in accordance with your outline (and all the other previous steps). Here, you begin as you did with the research—the first draft can contain more errors and can be less stringent with structure and information. However, you need to keep reading and editing until eventually the paper is neat, easy to read and has all the necessary information you need in the proper order.

In this lesson, we were able to introduce the process of writing an essay. We were able to take a general look at the different steps that factor into good, effective English composition. This serves as a jumping-off point for the rest of our lessons.

Next we’ll be moving into the second part of our class—we’ll be discussing the basics of English composition. The next lesson will be on the different phases of writing. Here we’ll be taking a more in-depth look into writing the essay and the different steps involved in English composition.




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