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Writing Your Issue Essay

Now that you are familiar with the different methods you can employ to write your essay, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of organizing your thoughts by using these patterns of development.

Remember, you are aiming for a 6 essay, one that presents clear, concise evidence to support your view. Writing a 6 essay doesn’t have to be a difficult task. All you have to do is follow seven simple steps, some of which will ask you to plug information into formulas. Note that some steps may include specific formulas for each pattern of development. Also note that you need not enter complete, descriptive sentences into the formulas; simple notes and phrases will suffice.

Step 1: Understanding the Issue

 

In order to properly present your perspective on an issue, you must first understand the issue you are being asked to discuss. Understanding the issue allows you to fully develop your position, presenting your evidence in a way that is most effective and appropriate for the topic. There are two steps that will help you understand the issue.

 

First, take a couple of minutes to read the given question carefully. Second, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does the statement mean?
  • What is the issue at hand?
  • What is implied by the statement?
  • What is the writer’s stand on the issue?
  • What, if any, evidence does the writer use to support his position?

 

 

Step 2: Choosing Your Pattern of Development

Keeping in mind our discussion of the three patterns of development, look for the necessary criteria in your question. If you think the question requires more than one method, choose the one you think works the best. On a timed writing assignment, your essay will be fairly short and therefore you cannot adequately utilize two methods.

 

 

Step 3: Developing Your Thesis

The next, and perhaps the most important, step is to develop your thesis. Your thesis states the purpose of your essay. Without a thesis statement, your reader does not know what you are setting out to prove. And without a thesis statement, it would be very difficult to organize your essay with clarity and coherence. Don’t be intimidated by the task of formulating what is to be the crux of your essay. It can be quite simple. Just use the formulas below:

 

THESIS FOR COMPARISON – CONTRAST ESSAY (formula 1-1):

I believe that Item A, __________, is better than Item B, __________, because

1) __________, 2) __________, 3) __________.

 

 

THESIS FOR CAUSE – EFFECT ESSAY (formula 1-2):

If _____________, then _____________, because

1) __________, 2) __________, 3) __________.

 

 

THESIS FOR DEFINITION ESSAY (formula 1-3):

By definition, __________ possess(es) these qualities: 1) __________,

2) __________, 3) __________ which have a positive effect because A) __________, B) __________, C) __________.

 

 

Step 4: Understanding Counter Arguments

Have you ever been in an argument and find that you’re just not getting very far very fast? This could be because you are failing to see things from the other person’s point of view. Being able to see the “flip side of the coin” can go a long way in proving your point and disarming your opponent’s objections. By showing that you are aware, though perhaps not understanding, of the opposing side you are adding credibility to your argument because it is clear that you have viewed the issue from all angles. To write an effective position essay, you must present your knowledge of a counter argument. In other words, you must show that you have considered the other side of the argument. Organize your counter argument this way:

 

 

COMPARISON – CONTRAST COUNTER CLAIM (formula 2-1):

Others may think Item B is better than Item A because 1) __________,

2) __________, 3) __________.

(Note that these three points should contrast directly with the three points of your thesis. ( see formula 1-1))

 

CAUSE – EFFECT COUNTER CLAIM (formula 2-2):

Some may feel that __________ would cause __________ based on __________.

(Note that this point should contrast directly with point #1 of your thesis. (see formula 1-2)) 

 

DEFINITION (formula 2-3):

By definition some may feel that __________ exhibits or is defined by __________ which could be positive / negative.

(Note that this point should contrast directly with point #1 of your thesis. (see formula 1-3))

 

 

Step 5: Organizing Your Thoughts

Now let’s organize all of our information so that writing the essay will be quick and simple. Following are formulas specific to each pattern of development. These formulas will prompt you to plug in your thesis and counter argument points. (Note that the following formulas require you to plug in the three numbered items from your thesis in succession. Although it is not necessary that you discuss them in this order, we will label it that way for simplicity.) In addition, there are spaces in the formula for you to insert 1 or 2 pieces of supporting evidence.

 

 

COMPARISON – CONTRAST ESSAY FORMULA (formula 3-1):

 

I. Introduction – Paragraph 1

A. Restate your topic

B. Thesis statement (formula 1-1)

 

II. Support – Paragraph 2

  1. Counter Claim point #1 (formula 2-1)
  2. Thesis point #1 (formula 1-1)
  3. Support for thesis point #1
  4. Support for thesis point #1 Analytical

III. Support – Paragraph 3

  1. Counter Claim point #2 (formula 2-1)
  2. Thesis point #2 (formula 1-1)
  3. Support for thesis point #2
  4. Support for thesis point #2

IV. Support – Paragraph 4

  1. Counter Claim point #3 (formula 2-1)
  2. Thesis point #3 (formula 1-1)
  3. Support for thesis point #3
  4. Support for thesis point #3

V. Conclusion – Paragraph 5

  1. Restate thesis
  2. Issue a warning or a call for action

 

CAUSE - EFFECT ESSAY FORMULA (formula 3-2):

 

I. Introduction – Paragraph 1

  1. Restate your topic
  2. Thesis statement (formula 1-2)

II. Support – Paragraph 2

  1. Counter Claim (formula 2-2)
  2. Thesis point #1 (formula 1-2)
  3. Support for thesis point #1
  4. Support for thesis point #1

III. Support – Paragraph 3 – Thesis point #2 (formula 1-2)

  1. Support for thesis point #2
  2. Support for thesis point #2

IV. Support – Paragraph 4 – Thesis point #3 (formula 1-2)

  1. Support for thesis point #3
  2. Support for thesis point #3

V. Conclusion – Paragraph 5

  1. Restate thesis
  2. Issue a warning or a call for action

 

DEFINITION ESSAY FORMULA (formula 3-3):

 

I. Introduction – Paragraph 1

  1. Restate your topic
  2. Thesis statement (formula 1-3)

II. Support – Paragraph 2

  1. Counter Claim (formula 2-3)
  2. Thesis point #1 (formula 1-3)
  3. Support by using thesis point A (formula 1-3)
  4. Support by using thesis point A (formula 1-3)

III. Support – Paragraph 3 – Thesis point #2 (formula 1-3)

  1. Support by using point B (formula 1-3)
  2. Support by using point B (formula 1-3)

IV. Support – Paragraph 4 – Thesis point #3 (formula 1-3)

  1. Support by using point C (formula 1-3)
  2. Support by using point C (formula 1-3)

V. Conclusion – Paragraph 5

  1. Restate thesis
  2. Issue a warning or a call for action

 

 

Step 6: Writing Your Essay

 

Now that you have organized your thoughts and support, it is time to write! The best strategy under the pressure of a time restraint is to just begin writing—as quickly as you can while still being careful. Organization should not be difficult with the help of your formulas. In following your formula, don’t forget to add transitional words, phrases and

sentences to help give your essay coherence. As you write, remember the mechanical rules you learned at the beginning of this chapter and keep in mind the techniques we discussed in the section General Tips on Writing Your Essays. The key to successful timed writings is to reserve a bit of time at the end so that you can go back and proofread and add finishing touches that will make your essay flow well and that will present your ideas clearly.

 

 

Step 7: Revising Your Essay

 

Because you have written quickly, you must spend some time, about 5-8 minutes, at the end of the section reviewing your essay, making necessary changes to enhance the clarity, coherence and grammatical accuracy of your writing. You must look for misspellings and mechanical errors while at the same time keeping in mind the following questions:

 

  • Is my introduction captivating?
  • Is my thesis statement concise?
  • Do my body paragraphs clearly support my thesis?
  • Have I used logical transitions that help the text flow smoothly between sentences and between paragraphs?
  • Have I maintained a formal tone and diction throughout my essay?
  • Have I maintained consistent use of person (i.e., first, second, third)?
  • Is there a word, or are there words, which I have employed too often throughout the essay?
  • Do my sentences vary in length and structure?

 

As you ask yourself these questions, make the necessary changes. If you still have time left after you have completed the initial revision, go back and read your essay again. A writer makes many, many revisions to his manuscript before it is ready to be published, so you can never proofread too many times!





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