So you’ve got 5 essays to write on topics ranging from the origin of the abacus to the pros and cons of getting a Masters in Zoology. How do you get all the information you need to eventually form an opinion (and write your essay)? The answer lies in one word: research. If you break the word research into it’s two syllables you get RE – SEARCH. “Re” is a prefix, right? Put “r-e” in front of a verb and it means “to do ________ again.” In this case, “search” again.
So, steps to take – here goes: first, read the assigned reading thoroughly. Don’t rush. Read it once, casually, then read it again, digging deeper. Once you’ve done that, go through it a third time, this time making questions out of the main points that will help you to write the essay. If the text says, “General Washington was an able military leader but a poor president” and the essay question asks you to give your views on Washington’s leadership abilities in (a) the military and (b) in politics, one of the questions you’d probably want to ask “what assumptions underlie the author’s statements? On what basis does he judge Washington’s ability?”
Aha! There are your research prompts. Now you can specifically search for information on Washington’s military and political careers, instead of randomly reading George Washington’s biography and getting fed up. The key to researching is simple: ask the right questions, then you’ll be able to find the right answers.
Hopefully that’ll help you with your next essay assignment, students!