For one thing, it would probably have come as a surprise to George Orwellto hear that his essays were to be read as though the topics he discussedwere less important than the way he discussed them.
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If you and I were discussing whether or not there should be a death penalty in the US, there would be a beginning, middle and end to our conversation. As with a conversation, your essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to your intent or argument. However - again, think of this as a conversation - your essay shouldn't be formal. Remember, you're talking aboutyour ideas and thought processes ... don't try to do that in third person!
The most important part of the introduction is the response to the question: the thesis statement. Thesis statements are discussed in detail here: .
Essays are usually written for an intelligent but uninformed audience, so begin with some context: the background of the topic, the topic scope, and any essential definitions.
An introduction often ends on the thesis statement. It begins with a broad statement and gradually narrows down until it directly addresses the question:
This is followed by your thesis statement, which is your concise response to the essay question, then an outline of the argument presented in the essay.
Developing the ability to think critically can be difficult because it is easier to make hasty judgments based on opinions and biases than it is to evaluate facts and arguments. For example, your friends might think that the death penalty is just, and you might also think so just because your friends do. Without hearing any arguments to the contrary, your viewpoint, based solely on the opinions of others, would be weak.
Most introductions begin with an orientation in the form of a brief general statement that leads the reader into the topic showing how the specific topic relates to bigger issues or to the discipline field.
Many college assignments require you to support a thesis. The concept of a critical thinking essay is that you start without an end in mind. You don't necessarily know how you feel about a subject or what you want to say about the subject … you allow the research and your own thinking to determine the outcome. This is writing to learn rather than writing to prove what you know.
For this project, we are also guided by the original This I Believe series and the to those who wrote essays in the 1950s. Their advice holds up well. Please consider it carefully in writing your piece.
Be personal: Make your essay about you; speak in the first person. Avoid speaking in the editorial “we.” Tell a story from your own life; this is not an opinion piece about social ideals. Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you to speak. We recommend you read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief and the way you speak.
The critical thinking essay has you look at and contribute to a range of arguments rather than just one at a time. Critical thinking essays consider the strengths and weaknesses of various solutions to a problem or various answers to a question. It requires thinking ... not information reporting.
Name your belief: If you can’t name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief. Also, rather than writing a list, consider focusing on one core belief.
Although we are no longer accepting new essays on our website, we thought we would share these essay writing suggestions in case you wished to write an essay for your own benefit. Writing your own statement of personal belief can be a powerful tool for self-reflection. It can also be a wonderful thing to share with family, friends, and colleagues. To guide you through this process, we offer these suggestions: