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What to Write My Essay About? – The Age-Old Question

There are endless ways to approach the writing of an essay, depending on the field of study you are in, the lessons you are supposed to learn and the way you believe is best to achieve a good grade. Deciding how you should approach a paper is vitally important, as the old adage goes “fail to prepare and you’re preparing to fail”. So, once you receive any assignment, the first thing you should do is to make a mental checklist of the pros and cons of different approaches, relative to the task at hand.

The first step

When you get the instructions for any kind of assignment, or are coming up with a title for a thesis, the first thing to establish is “what am I being asked to deliver?” This will be derived from the wording you are given, such as “how”, “why”, “discuss”, “compare”, etc. (For a thesis, you have more freedom, though that isn’t always a good thing!) By understanding what’s expected of you, it should be possible to narrow down the options for how the paper should be written. For example, if the assignment asks you “why” something occurred, you will know that a broad examination of the causes of an act or event is being sought, with little need to look into the subsequent results of it. Thus, picking the right kind of essay to match the assignment in front of you is very important if you’re asking yourself the question “what to write my essay about”.

Types of essays you’ll come across in education:

  • 5-paragraph Essay
  • Compare and Contrast Essay
  • Descriptive Essay
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Critical Essay

Understanding your subject

Once you know what type of essay you’ll be doing, the next thing to move onto is the subject. Depending on your general field of study or the particular course you are taking, the methodologies for approaching your subject will vary. Generally, in Economics you would be expected to support your arguments through statistical analysis, in History with Primary or Secondary sources, and in Sociology with relevant research. It’s easy to see why it is vital to know your subject and what kind of methodologies you will be expected to use while writing the essay.

Measure the approach

Now you have the type of essay and the kind of support you will be using, you can start to consider some more metaphysical concepts, namely your approach to the work, including your style and tone of voice. This can vary, and most people generally just have one general style, in other words, their personality. However, a smart student will also take other factors into consideration when deciding on their style, such as their professor or tutor’s preferences, the tone of seminal works in the field or how the subject is generally approached. By adopting a more nuanced or even contrarian style to the prevailing discourse you will stand out positively in the eyes of whoever is correcting the paper and have a better chance at a good grade.