What is a good essay?
- Organize your essay well.
The contents of a good essay correspond to the heading and dicsusses the essential issues of the subject.
- State arguments, show points of view.
A good essay shows that the author knows the subject. It is also objective and analytical, that is, the author approaches the topic from different points of view and states arguments for different standpoints.
- Is clearly thought also clearly written?
A good essay is clear and easy to read. The reader is not expected to guess the thoughts of the author. In a good essay reader is able to follow author’s train of thought and see how the author came to a certain conclusion.
- Do not copy.
A copy of some other authors texts is not a good essay. A text constructed of copied pieces is chaotic, disconnected and unnatural. The author of the original text has carefully considered the position and meaning of the sentences in certain context. The same sentence might give totally different impression in a different context. The facts presented in the essay are naturally based on the literature in the list of references, but they should be presented in the current context, not directly copied.
- Be critical when using sources.
When using uncertain and contradictory results, look for several parallel sources. Be critical about the sources – in what context are they “true”? What is the “agenda” of the author? All articles are written for some reason in some context.
Instructions of Avoin Yliopisto have been used as a source for these instructions.
About the layout and the structure
The essay has to be submitted using the given essay template, so that the essays will have congruent and professional appearance. The following list concerns the structure of the essay:
Essays, reports and publication usually have an abstract. The abstract acquaints the reader with the contents of the essay. It is an independent unit which can be understood without the presence of the actual essay. The meaning of the abstract is also to make the reader become interested in the essay.
The abstract is often in a different style, e.g. italics or indention, to be distinguishable from the essay itself.
- Table of contents
This part is not necessary in essays. For long reports it might be usefull.
The introduction gives a reader the background information and introduces the reader to the topic of the essay.
- Main text
The body text …
- List of references
There is separate document on how to refer to external sources.
- Further information Links that are related to the subject but are not actual sources, can be collected under the heading Further Information. Links are listed in alphabetical order and each link has short description.