How to write a good essay
1. Collecting plenty of material
from primary sources and secondary literature, before writing any
part of the essay, would supply you with plenty of ideas, sound arguments,
adequate documentation, and support for your views. Research before you
Research and Preparation
2. A well presented composition
with good appearance, orderly structure, good English, and carefully arranged
arguments will probably be rewarded with a considerably higher grade. Remember
that examiners sometimes unconsciously reward something which looks nice.
Read carefully. If you are working on a literary text, it is essential
to know and understand it very well, before doing anything else.
Search your bibliography list, the UF library catalogue and other resources
for relevant secondary literature.
Ideas or arguments from modern studies should be meticulously attributed
to their author. It is not fair to take over other people's ideas without
Citations from primary and secondary sources, where appropriate, are welcome
and may add to the demonstrative force of your arguments.
When collecting your material take notes of everything, so that you do
not need to go back and try to find out where you read this or that.
Use your mind. Absorbing information from others is useful and necessary,
but it is not creative. Surely you have something to say on the subject.
Think about it and do not hesitate to put on paper your own views and thoughts.
Originality is appreciated.
Use your judgement. Even highly respected scholars make mistakes, exaggerate,
and take the wrong turn. Your own judgement can protect you from some of
these traps. Do not hesitate to disagree with printed studies, if you have
a good reason.
Use a word processor with spell check, so that you can go back and correct
Make a clear plan, including the points you wish to make and the order
in which they should come. Arguments presented in an orderly and coherent
manner are much more persuasive and effective.
Start with an introductory section outlining the issue under discussion
and your objectives.
Continue with self-contained paragraphs (around 10-15 lines), each
one dealing with one argument or point you wish to make.
Ideally the next paragraph should be connected; let's say, it could be
an extension, addition, or contrast to the argument mentioned in the previous
Finish smoothly with a concluding section, where you make clear that you
have reached your objectives.
Make sure that your sentences are grammatically correct and articulate.
Unfinished sentences and nonsensical clauses give a bad impression, especially
at your level.