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Writing Essays and the Like ☼

A clever person turns great troubles into little ones and little ones into none at all. - Chinese proverb

Sparing you the details: Applying the quoted knowledge somehow, a clever writer turns troubles into minor things or nothing and answers without great trouble also. In this lies plenty of what sound education leads to.

1. Keep to accurate, explanatory and instructive writing with main examples to serve you

Clear and expository writing adheres to various "cookbook" guidelines. The guidelines deal with how to build up texts and arrive at a whole.

It should pay to get an over-all grasp of the main content, although style guides and "recipes" (how-to's) differ among disciplines. All the same, scholarly works are organised. An introduction is followed by digging in through a series of sections or chapters as the case may be, with an end part to sum up main findings and point ahead, possibly.

Authors seek to align their work to high-standing reference literature.

Also, if the work you inspect contains original research, study the conclusions or the abstract, if there is any.


Not surprisingly, chapters have a beginning, a middling part and an end. In the beginning a topic is introduced. In the middling part it is dealth with, perhaps with citations and renderings of significant works in the discipline, some original thought, perhaps, and various minor summaries in many cases.

Further, chapters may be divided into sections and sub-sections. Ideally, it helps us to follow the writer's line of thought, development of his or her coverage.


Paragraphs too have a beginning, a middling part and an end. It is a bit rigorous - each paragraph is supposed to state in short the content of the paragraph, and the last line of the paragraph sums it up somehow. There are many exceptions to this, though. Between the start and end of a paragraph there are elaborations and some pertinent examples, supposedly.

Thus, when you read textbooks, pay heed to the cues you get - by how the content, the chapters, and paragraphs are structured. Expect to find central meanings in this way, often helped by the arrangement of the scholarly work. [Van Wagenen 1991, 2-4].


It is quite an ideal to state one's basic ideas clearly and without ambiguity. The guidelines of Plain English may suit it.


After learning how to look, look up in textbooks and see how different they are. At any rate, you may profit from some sound and expository ways of writing yourself. It is at times not as easy as it sounds.

It is fit and often needed to learn the major words of your "trade" and profession and use them well.

Let a major research problem be presented first, before its basis or rationale, for that may help readers to comprehend it more easily [cf. Van Wagenen 1991, 4, 6]. Maybe the "stricture of the structure" helps against being carried away too often and widely.

When you decide to show or publish something, tackle the matters of presentation well, not forgetting that your discoveries count - as sound research may lead to many discoveries. Try to make full use of what you discover: There are more ways than exposing it; handy, practical applications may be worth striving for. But expositions normally come first. The type of exposition that is generally favoured is "complete and accurate information with the least expense" [Van Wagenen 1991, 5].

If you get rigorous in observing and finding out of things, you can present your findings with assertiveness. There are instructive manuals for doing these feats, and if you form the necessary habits, you may get your presentations published in well-renowned publications. That could be worth striving for (Van Wagenen 1991, 4).

2. Adhere to "valid, relevant, interesting and possibly fruitful"

Sound, expository writing is clear and crisp, assersts Robert Barrass. It should be clear (Barrass 2002).

You wish to investigate a problem. Concentrate primarily on clarifying your thoughts about the purpose, and limit the coverage. For many students this takes an awful lot of time. Learn to do what you need to in order to be able to produce your discourse (text) in a scientific way. For many students this takes much time too. Next clarify what conclusions that you can justifiably draw on top of what you have done, and delve into what your foremost conclusions signify.

Life lessons are had by similar processes. There are some values that explicitly help in this ongoing process. Findings are usually judged according to how valid, reliable and substantial they seem. Your thought had better appear relevant, interesting and fruitful too.

Adhere to the basic principles in your field of study and/or investigation, and most things could go your way. Get into the principal or established components of methods, and do not ignore the principles or reasons that something is based on or rooted in. Those principles may be called controlling principles, and they may be of practice, of opinion and much else. The rationale or "depth philosophy" of a study or investigation is something that cognition and methods are established on, Thomas Kuhn and others demonstrate [Kuhn 1970; Van Wagenen 1991, 3, 4].

3. A carefully structured ways of doing things are half the craft, it seems

It may serve you to to keep the problem a little secret while you toy with it and work with it preliminarily, as you grope and hopefully find out what is neat or to be understood. Bear in mind that the purpose of a report paper is higher than just conforming to standard ways of doing things. That is, it is better than just offering structure. Within the structure there is to be some content, hopefully not too alarming, and it should be easy to get to it for a reader. In the light of this, remember to adjust your better examples to what may be applicable or attainable further too [Van Wagenen 1991, 2, 4, 6].

Heuristic has come to refers to all the elements of strategy and logic that investigators use to make scientific discoveries and make clear to others that they have discovered something. You should get a guide before doing your research. Identify the problem or topic to investigate or expose. Show what makes it problematic or interesting. To identify and explain the research problems or the central topic of a discourse is a rather difficult task in the craft of writing a clear presentation, be it a research paper or a maturing thesis [cf. Van Wagenen 1991, 3-5]. ✪ 

What is believed about many phenomena in advance of a study may or may not be correct, or perhaps only somewhat correct. A fit rationale helps you to cope with beliefs and strong emotions they may trigger off: Study evidence, for example. Do not confuse arrogance with knowledge and skill. If assertions are not backed up by evidence, they are at best only plausible, and may be treated as speculation too. Just be careful, weigh and consider as part of the training [Van Wagenen 1991, 3, 5].


  1. Keep to accurate, explanatory and instructive writing altogether.
  2. Much depth in school essays is hardly for anyone. It can be misjudged.
  3. To know and adhere to the main schematised or structured ways of doing things that are asked for in academic essays, often works out well.

There is a lot more to a good life than what appears "valid, relevant, interesting and possibly fruitful." Have much and sound fun too and learn to discern.


Towards Further Shores

Sound understanding

What is considered relevant in a field, is based on rather common agreements. Consider how relevant and meaningful the core vocabulary and underlying assumptions in a field is. Charles Tart has taken a good look at such assumptions. (Tart 1975)

Relevant learning often means getting to keywords, key terms and key phrases, and applying them. Key terms are useful, and plain English is a boon to others - but conforming to the genre and its rigmarole is vital. Some on top of their pyramids say, however:

If you cannot - in the long run - tell everyone what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless. - Erwin Schroedinger, in Zukav 1979, 27

Even for the physicist the description on plain language will be a criterion of th degree of understanding that has been reached. - Werner Heisenberg, in Zukav 1979, 27

Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in language comprehensible to everyone. - Albert Einstein, Ib.

Don't say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few. - Pythagorean

Writing a paper is in part a craft production, and you have to trust yourself in order to deviate from the common. This is to say there are more than one way to be skilful. Being formal and well trained is not all there is to academic work or to life. It works well for many to to bulwark well.


Writing essays and more, from the art of writing,  Literature  

Axelrod, Rise B., and Charles R. Cooper. 2010. The St. Martin's Guide to Writing. 9th ed. New York: Bedford / St. Martin's.

Barrass, Robert. Scientists Must Write: A Guide to Better Writing for Scientists, Engineers and Students. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2002.

Chesla, Elizabeth, and Learning Express. 2006. Write Better Essays in Just 20 Minutes a Day. 2nd ed. New York: LearningExpress.

Creme, Phyllis, and Mary R. Lea. 2008. Writing at University: A Guide for Students. Maidenhead Berkshire: Open University Press.

Davis, Jason, and Rhonda Liss. 2006. Effective Academic Writing 3: The Essay. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Greetham, Bryan. 2001. How to Write Better Essays. Basingstoke, Hampshire. Palgrave.

Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 2nd enlarged ed. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1970.

Pirie, David B. 2002. How to Write Critical Essays: A Guide for Students of Literature. London: Taylor and Francis.

Robitaille, Julie, and Robert Connelly. 2009. Writers Resources From Paragraph to Essay. Boston MA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Schiah, Don. 2009. How to Write Essays. Oxford: How To Content.

Starkey, Lauren. 2004. How to Write Great Essays. New York: LearningExpress.

Tart, Charles, ed. 1975. Transpersonal Psychologies. New York: Harper Colophon.

Taylor, Gordon. 2009. A Studentís Writing Guide: How to Plan and Write Successful Essays. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Troyka, Lynn Quitman, and Douglas Hesse. 2009. Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers. 9th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Turley, Richard Marggraf. 2001. Writing Essays: A Guide for Students in English and the Humanities. London: Taylor and Francis.

Van Wagenen, R. Keith. Writing a Thesis: Substance and Style. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1991. Zemach, Dorothy E. and Lisa A, Rumicek. 2005. Academic Writing from Paragraph to Essay. New ed. Oxford: Macmillan.

Zukav, Gary. The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics. London: Rider, 1979.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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