Essay Writing

How to write an essay

  1. Choose your topic for your essay
    1. Ask important questions
    2. Pick something you like/are interested in
    3. Stay original
  2. Research
    1. Find Sources
      1. Find at least 10 sources (yes, 10!)
        1. If you cannot find 10 sources, your topic is too broad or too specific. Change topic of essay.
        2. Do NOT use Wikipedia,, Google, etc. as sources. These are NOT legitimate sources.  But, you can use these to find legitimate sources!
      2. Add each of the 10 sources to your bibliography.

For each source, print (if reasonable) your source.

  1. Turn off color and attempt to only print important information (i.e. skip advertisements, extra pictures, etc.), but leave headers and footers to remind you where the source came from.
  2. Use selection to only print data and text
  3. For each source, you can now highlight important information.

Find useful/interesting information

  1. For each source, make sure you find specific useful information
  2. Highlight information, but be sure you are not duplicating information between sources (do not highlight birthday in 2 different sources)

Identify the goal of the essay

  1. Why are you writing it? Argumentative?  Analytic?  Are you just sharing information?
  2.  Audience
  3. Who are you writing your essay for? A teacher?  A colleague/peer?

Organize information

  1. You can write information in index cards or separate pieces of paper.
  2. Use a graphic organizer or something similar to organize your information into sections (early life, career, politics, demographics, habitat, death, interesting information, etc.)
  3. Find quotes as necessary from sources.

Create your outline

  1. Write this section as an essay outline. You do not need full sentences or paragraphs.  Just write points.
  2. Create your thesis – your main point
  3. Create your sub-points.
    1. Roughly 1 paragraph – 1 page per sub point
    2. Be sure you have enough data to fill in your sub point
  • Include data points within each sub-point.
  1. Be sure each data point is cited, to remind you where the data was found. You may need this when writing your essay, to add additional information.

Write your Essay

Begin by writing the body paragraphs. Using your outline, create a paragraph/page for each sub point

  • Be sure to cite any sources as you write

Write your conclusion

  • Summarize your paragraphs into a conclusion

Write your introduction

  • Repeat your conclusion by telling the reader what you are about to say

Attach your bibliography

  • Be sure to un-check any sources that you are NOT actively using

Edit /Revise

  • Edit your essay, and revise as necessary
  • Find additional sources as necessary (be sure to include in your bibliography)